The death of Saul.
- The design chiefly in view in these books of the Chronicles, appears to be to preserve the records of the house of David. Therefore the writer repeats not the history of Saul's reign, but only of his death, by which a way was made for David to the throne. And from the ruin of Saul, we may learn, 1. That the sin of sinners will certainly find them out, sooner or later; Saul died for his transgression. 2. That no man's greatness can exempt him from the judgments of God. 3. Disobedience is a killing thing. Saul died for not keeping the word of the Lord. May be delivered from unbelief, impatience, and despair. By waiting on the Lord we shall obtain a kingdom that cannot be moved.
1 Chronicles 10:1-7 . SAUL'S OVERTHROW AND DEATH.
1. Now the Philistines fought against Israel--The details of this chapter have no relation to the preceding genealogies and seem to be inserted solely to introduce the narrative of David's elevation to the throne of the whole kingdom. The parallel between the books of Samuel and Chronicles commences with this chapter, which relates the issue of the fatal battle of Gilboa almost in the very same words as 1 Samuel 31:1-13 .
3. the battle went sore against Saul; and the archers hit him, and he was wounded--The Hebrew words may be thus rendered: "The archers found (attacked) him, and he feared the archers." He was not wounded, at least not dangerously, when he resolved on committing suicide. The deed was the effect of sudden terror and overwhelming depression of spirits [CALMET].
4. his armour-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid--He was, of course, placed in the same perilous condition as Saul. But it is probable that the feelings that restrained him from complying with Saul's wish were a profound respect for royalty, mingled with apprehension of the shock which such a catastrophe would give to the national feelings and interests.
6. Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house--his sons and courtiers who were there engaged in the battle. But it appears that Ish-bosheth and Mephibosheth were kept at Gibeah on account of their youth.
1 Chronicles 10:8-14 . THE PHILISTINES TRIUMPH OVER HIM.
10. put his armour in the house of their gods--It was common among the heathen to vow to a national or favorite deity, that, in the event of a victory, the armor of the enemy's king, or of some eminent leader, should be dedicated to him as an offering of gratitude. Such trophies were usually suspended on the pillars of the temple.
fastened his head in the temple of Dagon--while the trunk or headless corpse was affixed to the wall of Beth-shan ( 1 Samuel 31:10 ).
13. Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord--in having spared the king of the Amalekites and taken the flocks of the people as spoils [ 1 Samuel 15:9 ], as well as in having consulted a pythoness [ 1 Samuel 28:7 ]. Both of these acts were great sins--the first as a violation of God's express and positive command [ 1 Samuel 15:3 ], and the second as contrary to a well-known statute of the kingdom ( Leviticus 19:31 ).
14. And inquired not of the Lord--He had done so in form ( 1 Samuel 28:6 ), but not in the spirit of a humble penitent, nor with the believing confidence of a sincere worshipper. His enquiry was, in fact, a mere mockery, and his total want of all right religious impressions was manifested by his rushing from God to a wretched impostor in the service of the devil [ 1 Samuel 28:7 ].