Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA/Superstock

Stripped of his clothes and crown, Saul “speaks in ecstasy” before Samuel (in red) and the prophets, in this 1812 painting by the American artist Benjamin West. According to 1 Samuel 19:23–24, God induced Saul’s prophetic frenzy, thereby stalling the jealous king as he chased his young rival, David, from the palace. At right, Saul’s men impatiently wait for Saul to regain his senses (and clothes) and renew his search for David.

Saul’s divinely dispensed fit, writes author Ora Horn Prouser, is a sign that God will not only strip Saul of his crown and robe, but of the position they represent.