The name Saul ranked 281st in popularity for males of all ages in a sample of 2000-2003 Social Security Administration statistics and 474th in popularity for males of all ages in a sample of the 1990 US Census.
Though this name has fluctuated in use, it has been quietly present throughout the last century.
According to the Jewish scriptures, Saul was the first king of the Jewish people. Reluctantly anointed by the prophet Samuel at the insistence of the people, Saul re-established Israel's military prestige by standing up to the encroaching Philistines.
In time, Samuel became disillusioned with Saul, who often stubbornly disregarded the will of God as transmitted by the prophet. He determined to anoint a new king, and chose the young shepherd-musician David, slayer of the Philistine champion Goliath.
Only God's favor, and the devoted friendship of Saul's son Jonathan, saved David from the king's deadly jealousy. Soon, however, Saul and his son were killed in battle with the Philistines, clearing the way for David's ascent to the throne.
Christians also associate this name with another scriptural figure--the apostle Paul, who was known as Saul of Tarsus before his conversion to Christianity.