Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
Attention!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 10

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

First Chronicles Chapter 10

1 Chronicles 10:1 "Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa."

In the last lesson, we read of the genealogy of Saul through Jonathan, Mephibosheth, and Micah. This battle at Gilboa destroys much of Saul’s family. Saul and three of his sons died in this battle. The Philistines had been constant enemies of Israel. God allowed this battle to end in this manner as punishment for Saul’s sins, and to make the way clear for David to reign as king. This was a terrible battle with much loss of life by the Israelites. The battle took place in the valley of Jezreel, where 20 major battles have been fought. This same valley is sometimes called Esdraelon. It is, also, spoken of as Megiddo. The last great battle that will take place there will be the battle of Armageddon.

1 Chronicles 10:2 "And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul."

This is an explanation of which sons died there with Saul. On hearing of their death, David mourned greatly.

1 Chronicles 10:3 "And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers."

1 Chronicles 10:4 "Then said Saul to his armour bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armour bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it."

The Philistines were very cruel people. They particularly hated Saul, for the battles he had successfully brought against them. Saul feared that they would torture him before he died. He tried to get his armour bearer to kill him, but he would not raise his hand against God’s anointed. It appears, from this Scripture, that Saul killed himself.

1 Chronicles 10:5 "And when his armour bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died."

The armour bearer, probably, feared the same fate that Saul feared. He did not want to be tortured either, and he killed himself. It would not be until the next day, that the grave robber would find their bodies, and bring word to David of their death.

1 Chronicles 10:6 "So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together."

This massacre was so great that Saul’s family did nearly perish. There were just a few left, primarily of Jonathan’s family. Only three of Saul’s sons were killed, however.

1 Chronicles 10:7 "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."

With Saul and his sons dead, there was no one to lead the people, and they ran out of their cities and just left them for the Philistines to take. These particular cities seem to be inhabited from time to time by the winning side, whoever it is at the moment.

1 Chronicles 10:8 "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 mount Gilboa."

We are not told just how they determined which were Saul’s sons. Perhaps, it was because of what they were wearing. Saul’s body had been found originally by a grave robber. Then the Philistines found him.

1 Chronicles 10:9 "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."

1 Chronicles 10:10 "And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon."

Perhaps, they beheaded Saul in retaliation for David cutting off the head of Goliath. 1 Samuel 31:9-10 tells of them even nailing his body to the wall in the house of their false god, Ashteroth.

1 Chronicles 10:11 "And when all Jabesh-gilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul,"

1 Chronicles 10:12 "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 days."

Jabesh-gilead was a city in the land of Gilead. Gilead was on the east side of the Jordan river in the land of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. It was a terrible fate, worse than dying, for the body not to be buried. We see that these brave men of Gilead did retrieve the bodies, and buried them in Jabesh. The fasting for seven days could have been a time of mourning for Saul, or it could have been a time of cleansing.

1 Chronicles 10:13 "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 inquire [of it];"

Saul, perhaps, thought that he had special privileges, and would not be held responsible for his sins. He acted as if he thought he was above the law of God. He was very humble in the beginning of his reign, but soon lost his humble spirit, and decided to do things his way, instead of God’s way. He let Agag live, and kept the finest of the sheep in a battle, when God told him to kill everyone, and all the animals. He sacrificed once, because he was tired of waiting for the high priest, Samuel. He, also, consulted with a woman with a familiar spirit, which was strictly forbidden. He pretended to be living for God, but he would not accept God’s instructions.

1 Chronicles 10:14 "And inquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse."

The will of Saul to have his own way was the very thing that destroyed him. He had tried to kill David, because he knew David had been anointed to be the next king. David would not try to kill Saul, because he was the anointed of God. God had to remove Saul for David to become king. David was not only the son of Jesse, but the youngest son of Jesse. This is the same David that killed Goliath. He would be the opposite of Saul. He was a man after God’s own heart. Even though it was an arrow of the Philistine that actually wounded Saul, it was God who killed him.

1 Chronicles 10 Questions 1

1. In 1 Chronicles 10:1, who fought against Israel?

2. Where did the Israelites fall down slain?

3. Who died in this battle, besides the regular army?

4. Why did God allow this to happen?

5. What are some other names for the valley of Jezreel?

6. What great battle is yet to be fought there?

7. Which of Saul’s sons died there?

8. How did David take this news?

9. How was Saul wounded?

10. What did Saul ask his armour bearer to do?

11. When he would not do what Saul asked, what did Saul do?

12. Why did he not want to fall into the hands of the Philistines?

13. What did the armour bearer do, when he realized Saul was dead?

14. Who carried word to David of their deaths?

15. What is meant by all his house died?

16. What does 1 Chronicles 10:7, say the rest of the men in the cities did?

17. What happened to the cities?

18. When did the Philistines find Saul?

19. What did they do to the body of Saul?

20. Where did they put Saul’s head?

21. Why did they behead Saul?

22. In 1 Samuel 31:9-10, what does it say they did to Saul’s body?

23. Who came and got Saul’s body?

24. What did they do with it?

25. Where was Jabesh-gilead?

26. Saul died for his ________________.

27. What were some of his specific sins?

28. Who did God turn the kingdom over to?

29. Who was David’s father?

30. David was his _____________ son. 31. Who killed Saul?

Verses 1-14

1Ch 10:1-14

Introduction

HISTORY OF DAVID’S REIGN (1 Chronicles 10-29)

This chapter begins the record of the reign of David over all Israel, prefacing it with a brief account of Saul’s death. (1000-960 B.C.)

The balance of 1Chronicles is devoted to a review of the history of David, which falls into two parts. "1 Chronicles 10-20 have an account of his reign; and 1 Chronicles 21-29 give preparations for the building of the Temple and the orders and arrangements of those who would serve in it."

1 Chronicles 10:1-14

"Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard after Saul and after his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers overtook him; and he was distressed by reason of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armor-bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith, lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armor-bearer would not, for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell upon it. And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he likewise fell upon his sword, and died. So Saul died, and his three sons; and all his house died together.

"And when all the men of Israel that were in the valley saw that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook their cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. 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 Mount Gilboa. And they stripped him, and took his head, and his armor, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to carry the tidings unto their idols, and to the people. And they put his armor in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the house of Dagon. And when all Jabesh-gilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men arose, 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 days.

"So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against Jehovah, because of the word of Jehovah, which he kept not; and also for that he asked counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire thereby, and inquired not of Jehovah: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse."

"And all his house died together" (1 Chronicles 10:6). The picayune objection of some scholars that this is not strictly the truth, because Eshbaal (Ishbosheth), another son of Saul was left alive, and for awhile was made king over North Israel by Abner, is typical of the nit-picking hatred of the Word of God by some writers. The reference is not to every single one of Saul’s posterity, but merely to those just named. This is the same kind of hyperbole one uses when he says, "We gave a party, and everybody came."

"They buried him under the oak in Jabesh" (1 Chronicles 10:12). This tree was called "a tamarisk tree" in 1 Samuel 31:13; and the marginal reference here gives "terebinth" as an alternative. If the trees were growing side by side, which is by no means impossible, the Biblical accounts may both be absolutely accurate. No one has the right to deny what is here stated as a fact.

We shall not make line by line comments on this chapter, for we have already discussed it in the closing chapter of 1Samuel and the opening chapter of 2Samuel. As Curtis (and Madsen) noted: "This account of the death of Saul is taken from 1 Samuel 31:1-13 with a few slight variations."

E.M. Zerr:

General remarks: There seems to be an abrupt change of subjects. Up to this point the author was concerned with the pedigrees of the families of the Jews, to establish their proper repossession of the land. The next thing he wishes to do is to restore the respect for and interest in the institution of the national life. Its true greatness really dated from the reign of David, and hence the main history from now on will be on that basis. However, since David was not actually the first king, the author realizes the moral necessity of paying at least a little attention to Saul, the first king. In that way it could be said that the writer of the books of Chronicles gave a history of the kingdom at Jerusalem from its beginning. But only enough of the history of Saul was given to show there was such a king, then state briefly the account of his shameful death. We therefore have the explanation of the sudden change of subjects, plunging into the very midst of Saul’s last battle. As to its historical setting, this chapter corresponds to 1 Samuel 31.

1 Chronicles 10:1. The Philistines were long the enemies of the Israelites. Their country lay along the western border of Palestine, and the people were from a very old stock. They fought with the Israelites in a fierce battle. The action was in the vicinity of Mt. Gilboa, which was a range of mountains in the northeast part of Palestine.

1 Chronicles 10:2. It is a piece of good strategy to get the generals in an enemy army. The Philistines concentrated their actions against Saul and his sons. This verse says they were slain, but the details of Saul’s death will be given in some verses to follow.

1 Chronicles 10:3. The Philistines succeeded in hitting Saul with their arrows, and the wounds would have proved fatal had he not interfered by his own action.

1 Chronicles 10:4. This verse shows why I said the wounds of Saul might have proved fatal. At least Saul believed them to be that serious, else he would not have wanted to "cheat the gallows" by taking his own life. Sword . . . fell upon it. The kind of sword used in battle was so long that it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to use it upon one’s self in the ordinary way. That is why a man who committed suicide with a sword did it by standing it with the handle on the ground, then, leaning over and down upon it, the weight of his body would force the weapon through it.

1 Chronicles 10:5. It does not say the armorbearer just thought Saul was dead; it says he saw that Saul was dead. Now we know a man cannot see that which does not exist. The inspired writer is the one who says the armorbearer saw that Saul was dead, which proves that he was dead after falling upon the sword. These comments should be considered when thinking of the story of the Amalekite in 2 Samuel 1:1-12. That young man thought he would win the favor of David by his falsehood.

1 Chronicles 10:6. Saul had been told the kingdom was to be taken from him, and that did not mean merely from him personally; it included an entire change of family for the throne. The death of all his house prepared the fulfillment of that prediction.

1 Chronicles 10:7. The result was doubtless as the Philistines expected. If the leader in battle is killed, especially when it is the king of the nation, the depression would be great. After fleeing in their fright, their cities were left to the mercy of the enemy.

1 Chronicles 10:8. Strip is from a word that means "to plunder." It did not mean to remove the clothing, but to take the valuables that might be upon them. In their general search for dead bodies they came upon those of Saul and his sons.

1 Chronicles 10:9. Carry is from LASAR which Strong defines, "to be fresh, i. e. full (rosy, figuratively cheerful)." The announcement that the king of their enemy was dead would be good news. The sight of his head and armor would be proof that the news was true.

1 Chronicles 10:10. Dagon was the national god of the Philistines. The image itself was a combination of man and fish. Of course an image like that was intended to represent some invisible deity who would guard their human interests. By including the likeness of a fish, it would suggest something encouraging for the men who spent their time on the sea. Since the Philistine country was near the sea, the people would naturally be interested in a god who was interested in them. To fasten the head of their enemy in the house of Dagon signified the superiority of their god over all others.

1 Chronicles 10:11-12. The general meaning of valiant is "to be strong," whether applied to an individual or an army of men. The people of Jabesh-gilead were strong and brave. All the valiant men came to rescue the bodies of Saul and his sons; that would be for two reasons. It might be the Philistines would resist their taking the bodies, and force would have to be used. Another thing, it was a demonstration of the respect they had for the leading men to come in a body, as it were, to perform these rites to a fallen monarch. The fast of 7 days was a formal ceremony, done on the same principle that funeral ceremonies, the use of flowers, etc., are practiced today.

1 Chronicles 10:13-14. These sins are only mentioned here. The detailed account of them is in 1 Samuel 13:8-14; 1 Samuel 15:6-29; 1 Samuel 15:28; 1 Samuel 5-20.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 Chronicles 10". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/1-chronicles-10.html.
 
adsfree-icon
Ads FreeProfile