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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 10

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-14

A. The Death of Saul ch. 10

"Having established the remnant’s genealogical link with the Davidic and priestly lines, he [the writer] focused on the groundwork of the Davidic promises. His design was to show how the kingly and priestly concerns came together in David. David is then seen as a model for the postexilic community as they look forward to One like David." [Note: Townsend, p. 286.]

Chapter 10 is an almost verbatim repetition of Saul’s defeat as the writer of Samuel recorded it in 1 Samuel 31.

The Chronicler’s presentation of Saul supplied a backdrop and a contrast for his portrayal of David. Saul was the king the people had demanded prematurely. He was the king after the people’s heart. His name means "he who was requested." Saul failed to submit to Yahweh’s authority and to obey His Word as God had revealed it in the Mosaic Law and through the prophet Samuel (1 Chronicles 10:13-14). He failed to respond appropriately to God’s elective grace in placing him on the throne. Saul had no heart for God. Consequently God brought discipline on Saul and on Israel under him. Because Saul failed to listen to God, God eventually stopped listening to him (cf. Jeremiah 7:13-16). Finally God killed him (1 Chronicles 10:14). The reason the writer recorded the death of Saul at such length seems to have been to show that David had no hand in it. [Note: See Saul Zalewski, "The Purpose of the Story of the Death of Saul in 1 Chronicles X," Vetus Testamentum 39:4 (October 1989):465.] Disloyalty to God always results in catastrophe, especially for His servants (cf. Luke 12:48).

By recounting Saul’s death, the writer intended to bring many of the lessons connected with the people’s demand for a king, and Saul’s history, back to the minds of his restoration readers. Hopefully it will do the same for us.

"For the Chronicler, the disobedient Saul (1 Chronicles 10:13) was if anything a foil meant to show the faithfulness of David." [Note: Thompson, p. 109. Cf. Wilcock, p. 54.]

In contrast to Saul, David was God’s choice for Israel. His reign resulted in blessing, not blasting.

"One of the striking features of the Chronicler’s theology is his attempt to correlate blessing with faithfulness and judgment with disobedience. He returned to the theme again and again . . ." [Note: Thompson, p. 37.]

A comparison of this chapter with 1 Samuel 31:6-10 shows how the Chronicler heightened the disastrous nature of Saul’s death in subtle ways. [Note: Cf. Williamson, pp. 93-94; and McConville, pp. 15-18.] In this and the following chapters four themes interweave. [Note: Wilcock, p. 87.]


Verses 1-30


In all of Chronicles the writer assumed his readers’ acquaintance with the other Old Testament historical books. This is especially true regarding what Samuel and Kings contain. These books, or at least the information in them, appears to have been well known by the returning exiles.

"The reigns of Saul, David and Solomon over a united Israel are central to the concerns of the Chronicler, about half his narrative material being devoted to these three kings alone. Nearly all the many themes of his work are developed here, and it is in their light that the subsequent history of the people is assessed." [Note: Williamson, p. 92.]

"While it is customary to relate 1 Chronicles 10-29 exclusively to David, and to define the writer’s intentions almost exclusively with respect to him, our study indicates that the work of David and Solomon is to be considered a unity reaching its goal in the dedication of the temple." [Note: Braun, 1 Chronicles, p. 145.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 10". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/1-chronicles-10.html. 2012.
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