1Sa 31: Saul's divine commission had been to save Israel from
the Philistines (1Sa 9:16). But ironically he dies at their hand -- such is the
measure of his failure.
"The sad story of a king who commenced so well, is concluded.
Israel's forces had been led by his foolish, suicidal actions to Gilboa, under
challenge from the Philistine camp. With complete abandonment, Saul sought the
advice of a witch at Endor, beyond the Philistine lines, but received no answer
of peace. Instead, she confirmed his folly, and sent him to his death. In this
the witch returned the judgments upon Saul that he had earlier, obediently,
executed according to the law of God against witches. But Saul took the whole
nation into despair, as he stood for the last time with his son Jonathan on the
hills of Gilboa. It was the final act in a life of tragic drama: forty years of
misrule came to an end. The former valiant king stood with his armour-bearer in
a last, desperate action. If Saul's armor-bearer was Doeg, then they both fell
by the same sword as slew the priests of Nob. So, again, the Philistines stood
in triumph, a symbol of mankind's rebellion against God. But in the death of
Saul would be accomplished the life of David. Shortly, he would be elevated to
the monarchy, and commence a different reign from the former forty years. In
this is a type of the conquest of Christ over the sin-power; first in himself at
Golgotha; finally in his people redeemed from the misrule of Saul"
Saul's sons all die, to make way for David to assume kingship
(cp Samuel's words in 1Sa 28:19).
ABINADAB: Prob the same as Ishvi in 1Sa
Saul killed himself -- the Amalekite lied (2Sa
ALL HIS MEN: Prob all his special bodyguard -- except
for Abner, who survived.
Vv 9,10: Cp death of Goliath: 1Sa 17:54; 21:9. "God scattered
the bones of those who attacked you; you put them to shame, for God despised
them" (Psa 53:5).
BETH SHAN: In this area lies the 263 ft high tell of
Beth-shean, one of the oldest cities in Bible Lands. The remains of 20 layers of
settlement have been found going back more than three thousand years BC. The
Israelites failed to conquer the city in Joshua's time (Jos 17:16; Jdg 1:27),
and the fortified town was still under Philistine control in the time of Saul,
the first king of Israel. When Saul and his sons were slain in battle their
bodies were hung on the walls of this city by the victors (1Sa 31:6-13).
Beth-shean is included in the cities of Solomon's kingdom (1Ki 4:12). When the
Greek empire dominated the area the city was known as Scythopolis. Pliny, the
Roman author (1st cent AD) mentions the city in his writings. It was one of the
cities in the Roman province of Decapolis which was visited by Jesus (Mar 7:31).
The city was further developed by the Romans and all around the ancient tell the
archaeologists are busy uncovering this large city that was devastated by an
earthquake. A recent find is a mosaic featuring the portrait of a zebra, an
animal not found in Israel.
THE PEOPLE OF JABESH GILEAD: Was Saul descended from
one of the 400 virgins of Jabesh Gilead who were given to the Benjamites (Jdg
21:8-12...)? Saul had rescued their city from the Ammonites (1Sa 11).
WHERE THEY BURNED THEM: Fear of infection? Amo
THEIR BONES: These bones, later removed by David to
land of Benjamin (2Sa 2:12-14).