1 Chronicles 10


Gill, in his commentary, gives us a useful summary of this chapter.

‘This part, 1 Chronicles 10:1 which gives an account of the last battle of Saul with the Philistines, and of his death and burial, is the same with 1 Samuel 31:1, the cause of his death follows in 1 Chronicles 10:13.’

Saul Takes His Life

‘Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him. Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died. So Saul and his three sons died, and all his house died together. When all the Israelites in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.’ 1 Chronicles 10:1-7

In this chapter we read about the historical shift from King Saul to King David, 1 Samuel 31:1-13 / 2 Samuel 1:4-12.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The present chapter contains two facts not found in 1 Samuel 31:1-13, the fastening of Saul’s head in the temple of Dagon, 1 Chronicles 10:10, and the burial of his bones, and those of his sons, under an oak, 1 Chronicles 10:12. Otherwise the narrative differs from 1 Samuel 31:1-13, only by being abbreviated, especially, 1 Chronicles 10:6-7 / 1 Chronicles 10:11-12, and by having some moral reflections attached to it, 1 Chronicles 10:13-14.’

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘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 1 Chronicles 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.’

When the Philistines attacked, Israel fled, 1 Samuel 28:4, and Saul’s army gathered together and prepared for war at Mount Gilboa, 1 Samuel 28:4.

It was clear that Saul wasn’t ready for war, because he wasn’t right with God and when he saw the Philistine army, he was scared, 1 Samuel 28:5.

Saul’s sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua, tragically, died because of their father’s wickedness against God. Jonathan died as he had lived, that is, faithfully following God.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following Saul’s sons.

‘Not the whole of his family, nor even ‘all his sons’, 2 Samuel 2:8-15 / 2 Samuel 3:6-15 / 2 Samuel 4:1-12. The phrase is perhaps an abbreviation of the expression in the parallel passage of Samuel, 1 Samuel 31:6.’

Saul himself, was hit by many arrows and wounded and so, knowing they couldn’t win this war, he asks his armourbearer to kill him. notice his armour bearer wouldn’t do it and so, Saul ended up killing himself by falling on a sword.

Curtis, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This account of the death of Saul is taken from 1 Samuel 31:1-13 with a few slight variations.’

The Philistines victory was so great, that even those on the other side of the Jordan, 1 Samuel 31:7, ran away in fear because of the Philistines.

‘The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They stripped him and took his head and his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news among their idols and their people. They put his armor in the temple of their gods and hung up his head in the temple of Dagon. When all the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their valiant men went and took the bodies of Saul and his sons and brought them to Jabesh. Then they buried their bones under the great tree in Jabesh, and they fasted seven days. Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance and did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.’ 1 Chronicles 10:8-14

Despite Saul being dead, the Philistines went ahead and abused his dead body. They took Saul’s armour and placed it in the temple and put his head in the temple of Dagon, which was a temple dedicated to their deities, called by this name, Judges 2:13.

Notice the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead are mentioned, for doing what was right, in terms of removing Saul and his sons bodies from the Philistine temple and giving them a p[roper burial under the great tree in Jabesh.

The reason for doing this was simply because many years before, Saul delivered their city from the Ammonites, 1 Samuel 11:1-11. Later, when David took over the throne, he too, thanked the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead for what they did for Saul and his sons, 2 Samuel 2:4-7.

Notice the reason why Saul died, he was unfaithful to God, didn’t keep God’s Word and consulted a medium for guidance, 1 Samuel 15:1-9 / 1 Samuel 28:17-18.

After the death of Saul, God turned the kingdom over to David, a man after His own heart, 1 Samuel 13:14.

Go To 1 Chronicles 11


"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."