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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 31

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



The Israelites are smitten by the Philistines: Saul’s sons are slain: Saul is wounded: he falleth on his own sword; as doth his armour-bearer, 1 Samuel 31:1-6.

The rest flee; and the Philistines possess their towns, and triumph over the dead carcasses, 1 Samuel 31:7-10.

They of Jabesh-Gilead by might take down the bodies of Saul and of his sons, and burn them; and mournfully bury their bones, 1 Samuel 31:11-13.

Verse 1

The Philistines fought against Israel, whilst David was engaged against the Amalekites. So he returns to the history, which had been interrupted to give an account of David’s concerns.

Verse 2

The Philistines slew Jonathan, David’s dear friend; God so ordering it for the further 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, which would have in some sort eclipsed the glory of God’s grace and power in this work. 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 the preventing divisions, which 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, 1 Samuel 14:49. Ish-bosheth was not here, being possibly at home, for the management of public affairs there.

Verse 4

Thrust me through, and abuse me; lest they take me, and put me to some shameful and cruel death.

Saul took a sword, and fell upon it, and died of the wound, as it follows.

Verse 7

Of the valley, to wit, the valley of Jezreel, where the battle was fought.

On the other side Jordan; or rather, on this side Jordan; for these were in the most danger; and the Hebrew preposition is indifferently used for on this side, or for beyond.

Verse 9

They cut off his head, as the Israelites did by Goliath.

To publish it in the house of their idols, to give them the glory of this victory.

Verse 11

Jabesh-gilead, which was beyond Jordan; for the people on this side Jordan were fled from their cities, as was now said.

Verse 12

Burnt their flesh, after the manner.

Verse 13

To testify their sorrow for the public loss of Saul, and of the people of God; and to entreat 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 and general sense, as it is used both in sacred and profane writers; that they did eat but little, and that seldom, and that but mean food, and drunk only water for that time.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 31". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/1-samuel-31.html. 1685.
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