The Death of Saul and His Sons
10 Now the Philistines fought against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died. Thus Saul died; he and his three sons and all his house died together. And when all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled, and the Philistines came and lived in them.
The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. And they stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to carry the good news to their idols and to the people. And they put his armor in the temple of their gods and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon. But 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 they buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh and fasted seven days.
So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the LORD. Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.
1 Chronicles 10 Commentary
by Hank Workman
For 9 chapters we have read of Israel’s genealogy from creation all the way through the Exile which took the rebellious people into Babylonian captivity. Now Ezra takes us back to the first king period and picks up with a detailed history. Opening with the death of King Saul, King David’s story unfolds.
Against God’s word and Samuel’s advice, the people of Israel demanded to have a king (1 Samuel 8). They were determined to have someone who would physically lead them as a nation and fight their battles. God gave them what they wanted. Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin, a man a head taller than all others, a man by outward appearances was a good selection. Outward appearances can be deceiving. Although striking in appearance and full of courage his leadership abilities lacked. Throughout his tenure, he was impulsive and would overstep himself time and again. He continually disobeyed God and due to an insane jealousy placed David on Israel’s Most Wanted List. The last several years of his energies went toward the pursuit and killing of David.
Although striking in appearance and full of courage his leadership abilities lacked. Throughout his tenure, he was impulsive and would overstep himself time and again. He continually disobeyed God and due to an insane jealousy placed David on Israel’s Most Wanted List. The last several years of his energies went toward the pursuit and killing of David.
At a very specific instance, God lifted His hand from Saul and he spiraled out of control. His eulogy, so to speak found in 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, reflects a man who missed the mark and died in shame. You see, Saul was unfaithful both passively and actively. He didn’t just make wrong decisions, he failed to make the right ones. Over and over again he disobeyed God. Over and over again he sought advice and instruction from things, not of God. He chased his own ideals and it cost him dearly.
Truly the story and abrupt ending of Saul’s life stands as a warning. God wants obedience, not lip service. He desires our reliance on Him to be full. He can take our weaknesses and turn them to strength but we must be willing to depend on Him. God not only wants us to not make just wrong decisions but also make the right ones. You see we must not only avoid the wrong we must pursue the right.
When God speaks we must listen. When He instructs it suits us well to follow after what He’s asking; even if it’s hard and there are tough decisions in doing so. Fortunately, we have the Holy Spirit who enables and strengthens us to do what He’s asked but it all begins with a willingness of our own heart to follow.
1 Chronicles 10 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Who were the Philistines?
They were sea-faring people who immigrated from the island of Crete. According to archeology digs, it is speculated that the Philistines were heavy drinkers with heavy weapons. They were some of the first people to make use of iron. Look at what God says about the origin of the Philistines…
The LORD says, “People of Israel, I think as much of the people of Ethiopia as I do of you. I brought the Philistines from Crete and the Syrians from Kir, just as I brought you from Egypt.Amos 9:7 GNB
It may be surprising to read this, but even though God chose Israel and set them apart, He has always had a heart for His entire creation. This does not change the fact that they were one of Israel’s enemies and continued to worship foreign gods.
The Life of King Saul
So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance.1 Chronicles 10:13 ESV
This may seem harsh, but a deeper look into Saul’s decision shows us the condition of his heart. First, we know that Saul had a history of being impulsive. He stepped in and offered a sacrifice when he thought Samuel was “late” and he went on to consult a medium in order to get answers. This occurred after Saul had expelled all witchcraft from the land, which is an ironic twist.
However, the main point here is the timing of Saul’s decision. 1 Samuel 28:6 explains that Saul inquired of the LORD but the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets.
We don’t know how much time passes in between, but we know that in the very next verse he tells his servants to find him a witch. Saul ultimately died for his breach of faith. From the start, it was obvious he had little faith in God answering him. Though God gave Saul many opportunities to change, Saul’s expectation was that God should instantly answer him. With regard to the sacrifice, he wanted Samuel there on his timing. Throughout his life, there is no repentance, but rather, impatient demands.
Even though Saul made it pretty clear at the end of Samuel’s life that he couldn’t care less about the prophet’s advice, Saul knew deep down that Samuel was his only trusted source of truth. Unforunately, he learned this lesson too late. When Saul consults the witch, he asks for her to call up Samuel, which she does!
This illustrates for believers that our advice, counsel, and lifestyle choices do not go unnoticed. It may seem that those who stray from the faith bitterly despise our faithful obedience to God, but it’s simply not true. Deep down, when rock bottom hits, they will return to those filled with the grace and truth of Jesus.
I can’t stress this point enough. If there is someone who has deeply wounded you by turning their back in disobedience to the Lord, do not lose hope! The counsel they once scorned will become their saving grace. We must continue to pray for them and believe that one day they will return to Godly wisdom.