It all fits my thesis that the kings were the bad guys, and all their "look at how great I am" stories are propaganda.
As for whether the law of Moses was ever followed, that's up for grabs. He notes that the building that might be the temple (but critics argue is not) is not as expensive as temples of neighbouring states, suggesting that Israel was poor. But it could also argue that Israel was decentralised: if Saul was the first king they ever had then there was no tradition of taxing the people, so of course early palaces etc would be simple. Unless the people had plenty of gold to steal, but what good is gold if everyone has equal shares of land? Amassing gold only is only useful if (a) you need insurance against ever being poor, or (b) you want to amass significantly more wealth than your neighbours. But with equal shares of land neither option is realistic.
However, I return to my position on yesterday's blog: the intelligent position is to admit what we do not know, and to focus on virtue. In this case, could the law of Moses actually do good? That is the only Bible question that matters.