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 1Sa 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.
1Ch 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 (1Sa 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 [1Sa 15:9], as well as in having consulted a
pythoness [1Sa 28:7].
Both of these acts were great sins—the first as a violation of
God's express and positive command [1Sa 15:3], and the second as contrary to a
well-known statute of the kingdom (Le 19:31).
14. And inquired not of the Lord—He had
done so in form (1Sa 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 [1Sa 28:7].