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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Samuel 31

Verses 1-13

1 Samuel 31. Battle of Gilboa.— Cf. p. 285, and 2 Samuel 1:6-16 *.

1 Samuel 31:1-7 . Israel was routed, Saul’ s sons slain, and he himself in danger of being taken prisoner. To avoid this he fell upon his own sword.

3. he was greatly distressed: perhaps read, with LXX, “ he was wounded by the archers.”

1 Samuel 31:4 . and thrust me through ( second occurrence) : omit with 1 Chronicles 10:4. What Saul fears is not mutilation after death, but being taken alive, and, like Samson, being made to provide sport for the Philistines.

1 Samuel 31:7 . they that were beyond Jordan: omit with 1 Chronicles 10:7.

1 Samuel 31:8-13 . The Philistines announced their victory by sending Saul’ s head round their land, “ to carry the tidings to their idols and to the people” ( 1 Chronicles 10:9 and LXX). They put his armour in the “ House of Ashtaroth,” i.e. the temple of Astarte (p. 299), and fastened the bodies of Saul and his sons outside the wall of Bethshan ( Judges 1:27 *). The men of Jabesh-gilead ( 1 Samuel 11:1-11) went by night, brought them away, and buried them. [Robertson Smith (RS 2 , p. 373), says, “ Saul’ s body was burned possibly to save it from the risk of exhumation by the Philistines, but perhaps rather with a religious intention, and almost as an act of worship, since his bones were buried under the sacred tamarisk at Jabesh.”— A. S. P.]

1 Samuel 31:10 b. Ch. alters this into “ and fastened his head in the house of Dagon,” and omits “ from the wall of Beth-shan” in 1 Samuel 31:12. The S. text is the more correct.

1 Samuel 31:12 . burnt them there: many read “ and lamented for them there,” because burning was “ incompatible with the established custom of Israel,” SBOT. But ICC prefers to retain the present text, otherwise why “ bones” in 1 Samuel 31:13? 1 Chronicles 10:12 omits the clause.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 31". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/1-samuel-31.html. 1919.