1 Chronicles 10
The design of Ezra, in these books of the Chronicles, was to preserve
the records of the house of David, which, though much sunk and lessened
in a common eye by the captivity, yet grew more and more illustrious in
the eyes of those that lived by faith by the nearer approach of the Son
of David. And therefore he repeats, not the history of Saul's reign,
but only of his death, by which way was made for David to the throne.
In this chapter we have,
I. The fatal rout which the Philistines gave to Saul's army, and the
fatal stroke which he gave himself,
1 Chronicles 10:1-7.
II. The Philistines' triumph therein,
1 Chronicles 10:8-10.
III. The respect which the men of Jabesh-Gilead showed the royal corpse,
1 Chronicles 10:11,12.
IV. The reason of Saul's rejection,
1 Chronicles 10:13,14.
|The Death of Saul.
||B. C. 1400.|
1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of
Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in
2 And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his
sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and
Malchishua, the sons of Saul.
3 And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit
him, and he was wounded of the archers.
4 Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and
thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and
abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid.
So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.
5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell
likewise on the sword, and died.
6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died
7 And when all the men of Israel that were in the valley saw
that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, then they
forsook their cities, and fled: and the Philistines came and
dwelt in them.
This account of Saul's death is the same with that which we had,
1 Samuel 31:1-13,
&c. We need not repeat the exposition of it. Only let us observe,
1. Princes sin and the people suffer for it. It was a bad time with
Israel when they fled before the Philistines and fell down
(1 Chronicles 10:1),
when they quitted their cities, and the Philistines came and dwelt
1 Chronicles 10:7.
We do not find that they were at this time guilty of idolatry, as they
had been before, in the days of the judges, and were afterwards, in the
days of the kings. Samuel had reformed them, and they were reformed:
and yet they are thus given to the spoil and to the robbers. No
doubt there was enough in them to deserve this judgment; but that which
divine Justice had chiefly an eye to was the sin of Saul. Note, Princes
and great men should in a special manner take heed of provoking God's
wrath; for, if they kindle that fire, they know not how many may be
consumed by it for their sakes.
2. Parents sin and the children suffer for it. When the measure of
Saul's iniquity was full, and his day came to fall (which David
1 Samuel 26:10),
he not only descended into battle and perished himself, but his sons
(all but Ishbosheth) perished with him, and Jonathan among the rest,
that gracious, generous man; for all things come alike to all.
Thus was the iniquity of the fathers visited upon the children, and
they fell as parts of the condemned father. Note, Those that love their
seed must leave their sins, lest they perish not alone in their
iniquity, but bring ruin on their families with themselves, or entail a
curse upon them when they are gone.
3. Sinners sin and at length suffer for it themselves, though they be
long reprieved; for, although sentence be not executed speedily, it
will be executed. It was so upon Saul; and the manner of his fall was
such as, in various particulars, answered to his sin.
(1.) He had thrown a javelin more than once at David, and missed him;
but the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers.
(2.) He had commanded Doeg to slay the priests of the Lord; and now, in
despair, he commands his armour-bearer to draw his sword and thrust
(3.) He had disobeyed the command of God in not destroying the
Amalekites, and his armour-bearer disobeys him in not destroying him.
(4.) He that was the murderer of the priests is justly left to himself
to be his own murderer; and his family is cut off who cut off the city
of the priests. See, and say, The Lord is righteous.
8 And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came
to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen in
9 And when they had stripped him, they took his head, and his
armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to
carry tidings unto their idols, and to the people.
10 And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and
fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.
11 And when all Jabesh-gilead heard all that the Philistines had
done to Saul,
12 They arose, all the valiant men, and took away the body of
Saul, and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh, and
buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh, and fasted seven
13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed
against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he
kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a
familiar spirit, to enquire of it;
14 And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and
turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.
I. From the triumph of the Philistines over the body of Saul we may
1. That the greater dignity men are advanced to the greater disgrace
they are in danger of falling into. Saul's dead body, because he was
king, was abused more than any other of the slain. Advancement makes
men a mark for malice.
2. That, if we give not to God the glory of our successes, even the
Philistines will rise up in judgment against us and condemn us; for,
when they had obtained a victory over Saul, they sent tidings to
their idols--poor idols, that knew not what was done a few miles
off till the tidings were brought to them, nor then either! They also
put Saul's armour in the house of their gods,
1 Chronicles 10:10.
Shall Dagon have so honourable a share in their triumphs and the true
and living God be forgotten in ours?
II. From the triumph of the men of Jabesh-Gilead in the rescue of the
bodies of Saul and his sons we learn that there is a respect due to the
remains of the deceased, especially of deceased princes. We are not to
enquire concerning the eternal state; that must be left to God: but we
must treat the dead body as those who remember it has been united to an
immortal soul and must be so again.
III. From the triumphs of divine Justice in the ruin of Saul we may
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, by which he was ordered to destroy the
4. Consulting with witches is a sin that fills the measure of iniquity
as soon as any thing. Saul enquired of one that had a familiar
spirit, and enquired not of the Lord, therefore he slew him,
1 Chronicles 10:13,14.
Saul slew himself, and yet it is said, God slew him. What is
done by wicked hands is yet done by the determinate counsel and
foreknowledge of God. Those that abandon themselves to the devil
shall be abandoned to him; so shall their doom be. It is said
(1 Samuel 28:6)
that Saul did enquire of the Lord and he answered him
not: but here it is said, Saul did not enquire of God; for
he did not till he was brought to the last extremity, and then it was