1 Chronicles 10


A fatal battle between the Israelites and Philistines in

Gilboa, in which Saul is mortally wounded, and has three sons

slain, 1-6.

The Israelites being totally routed, the Philistines, coming to

strip the dead, find Saul and has three sons among the slain;

they cut off Saul's head, and send it and his armour about the

country to the idol temples; and then fix them up in the house

of Dagon, 7-10.

The men of Jabesh-gilead come by night, and take away the

bodies of Saul and has three sons, and bury them in Jabesh,

11, 12.

The reason of Saul's tragical death; the kingdom is transferred

to David, 13, 14.


Verse 1. Now the Philistines fought against Israel] The reader

will find the same history in almost the same words, in

1Sa 31:1-13, to the notes on which he is referred for every

thing important in this.

Verse 6. So Saul died-and all his house] Every branch of his

family that had followed him to the war was cut off; his three

sons are mentioned as being the chief. No doubt all his officers

were slain.

Verse 11. When all Jabesh-gilead heard] For a general account of

the principles of heroism and gratitude from which this action of

the men of Jabesh-gilead proceeded, see the note on

1Sa 31:11, 12.

By the kindness of a literary friend, I am enabled to lay a

farther illustration of this noble act before the reader, which he

will find at the conclusion of the chapter. See Clarke on 1Ch 10:14.

Verse 13. Saul died for his transgression] See the concluding

observations on the first book of Samuel. See Clarke on 1Sa 31:13.

Verse 14. Inquired not of the Lord] On these two last verses the

Targum speaks thus: "And Saul died for the transgression by which

he transgressed against the WORD of the Lord, and because he did

not keep the commandment of the Lord when he warred against the

house of Amalek; and because he consulted Pythons, and sought

oracular answers from them. Neither did he ask counsel from before

the Lord by Urim and Thummim, for he had slain the priests that

were in Nob; therefore the Lord slew him, and transferred the

kingdom to David the son of Jesse."

A LITERARY friend furnishes the following remarks:-

"The sacred writer, in the first book of Samuel, 1Sa 31:11-13,

and 1Ch 10:11, 12, after relating the defeat and death of Saul,

and the ignominious treatment of his remains, thus concludes:-

"'And when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard of that which

the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men arose, and

went all night, and took the body of Saul, and the bodies of his

sons, from the wall of Beth-shan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt

them there; and they took the bones, and buried them under a tree

at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.'

"Often has this account been read with admiration of the bravery

and devotedness of the men of Jabesh-gilead, but without

considering that these men had any greater cause than others for

honouring the remains of their sovereign; but, on reflection, it

will be perceived that the strong impulse of gratitude prompted

them to this honourable exertion. They remembered their

preservation from destruction, and, which to brave men is more

galling, from bearing marks of having been defeated, and being

deprived of the honourable hope of wiping off disgrace, or

defending their country at future seasons.

"Reading these verses in conjunction with the attack of Nahash,

we perceive the natural feelings of humanity, of honourable

respect, prompting the men of Jabesh to act as they did in

rescuing the bones of Saul and his family.

"The father of Grecian poetry relates in how great a degree the

warriors of ancient days honoured the remains of their leaders;

how severe were the contests for the body of the fallen chief,

more determined oftentimes than the struggle for victory: this

point of military honour was possibly excited or heightened by the

religious idea so prevalent in his age, and after times,

respecting the fate of the spirits of those who were unburied.

"Homer wrote of events passing at no distant period from those

recorded in the first volume of Samuel; and these accounts

mutually corroborate each other, being in unison, not only with

the feelings of humanity, but with the customs of ancient nations.

These may be farther illustrated by comparing the conduct of the

Philistines with regard to Saul and his sons, with that of the

hero of the Iliad towards Hector, the most finished character of

the poem. Saul had been a severe scourge to the Philistines

throughout a long series of years; the illustrious chief of Troy

had long warded off the ruin of his country, and destroyed the

flower of her foes, independently of his last victory over

Patroclus, which drew on his remains that dishonour which,

however, fell only on his destroyer.

"Should the siege of Troy be considered a fable, it may then be

concluded that Homer introduced into his poems the customs and

manners known to those for whose perusal he wrote, if these

customs were not prevalent among his readers; but anxiety for the

body of the illustrious dead, or regret for his death, has often

caused success when all exertions prior to this powerful stimulus

have not availed; and this even in our days.

"The Philistines had long been confined to the southwest angle

of the promised land, and in the earlier part of Saul's reign had

suffered many and severe losses; yet it appears by this chapter

that, alone or in conjunction with allies, they had been able to

penetrate nearly to the banks of the Jordan, to fight the battle

on Mount Gilboa. This could only have been effected by a march

through great part of the kingdom of Israel.

"Doubtless the attention of Saul in its defence might have been

greatly distracted by his pursuit and fear of David, which

appeared to have absorbed his whole mind; and it may account for

the defenceless or weakened state of his forces.

"These circumstances appear to corroborate the authenticity of

these books, independently of the many private transactions

therein recorded; particularly the interesting and singular

friendship of Jonathan and David, a transaction not likely to

occur to a forger of a narrative. J.W."

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