John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible
- Israel overthrown, and Saul, his three sons, his armour-bearer and all his men slain, verse 1-6.
- The Israelites forsake their cities, verse 7.
- The camp plundered and the dead bodies insulted, verse 8-10.
- But rescued by the men of Jabesh-Gilead, verse 11-13.
Jonathan - David's dear friend; God so ordering it for the farther exercise of David's faith and patience; and that David might depend upon God alone for his crown, and receive it solely from him, and not from Jonathan; who doubtless, had he lived, would have speedily settled the crown upon David's head. There was also a special providence of God, in taking away Jonathan, (who of all Saul's sons, seems to have been the fairest for the crown) for preventing divisions, which might have happened amongst the people concerning the successor: David's way to the crown being by this means made the more clear. Abinadab - Called also Ishui, chap. 14:49. Ishbosheth was not here, being possibly at home for the management of affairs there.
Saul and his three sons - "The scripture, as Mr. Henry well observes, makes no mention of the souls of Saul and his sons, what became of them after they were dead: secret things belong not to us."
Cut off his head - As the Israelites did by Goliath, and fastened it in the temple of Dagon, 1 Chronicles 10:10. Idols - To give them the glory of this victory. And by this respect shewn to their pretended deities, how do they shame those, who give not the honour of their achievements to the living God?
Took the body, &c. - This they did, not only out of a concern, for the honour of Israel, and the crown of Israel, but out of gratitude to Saul, for his zeal and forwardness to rescue them from the Ammonites.
Fasted - To testify their sorrow for the loss of Saul, and of the people of God; and to intreat God's favour to prevent the utter extinction of his people. But you must not understand this word of fasting strictly, as if they eat nothing for seven whole days; but in a more large sense, as it is used both in sacred and profane writers; that they did eat but little, and that but mean food, and drank only water for that time. This book began with the birth of Samuel, and ends with the death of Saul: The comparing these together will teach us to prefer the honour that comes from God, before all the honours of the world.