|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:1-14 The death of Saul. - The design chiefly in view in these books of the Chronicles, appears to be to preserve the records of the house of David. Therefore the writer repeats not the history of Saul's reign, but only of his death, by which a way was made for David to the throne. And from the ruin of Saul, we may learn, 1. That the sin of sinners will certainly find them out, sooner or later; Saul died for his transgression. 2. That no man's greatness can exempt him from the judgments of God. 3. Disobedience is a killing thing. Saul died for not keeping the word of the Lord. May be delivered from unbelief, impatience, and despair. By waiting on the Lord we shall obtain a kingdom that cannot be moved.
Verse 1. - No abruptness marks this narration in 1 Samuel 31. On the contrary, it is there the natural conclusion of the wars between the Philistines and Saul. This engagement took place (1 Samuel 28:4; 1 Samuel 29:1, 11) on the plains of Jezreel. The name Jezreel marks either the city (Joshua 19:18; 1 Kings 21:1, 11), or the celebrated valley or plain called in later times Esdraelon, the Greek form of the word. The plain in its largest proportions may be said to have been bounded by the Mediterranean (although it is called the plain of Accho, where it abuts on that sea) and the Jordan, and by the Samaria and Carmel ranges on the south and south-west, and those of Galilee on the north and northeast. While called a "plain" and "the great plain" in Judges 1:8, its name in the Old Testament is "valley." It lay like a scalene triangle, with its apex in the direction of the Mediterranean, opening into the above-mentioned plain of Accho, and its sides going from right to left, about fifteen, twelve, and eighteen miles long respectively. The allusions to it in Old Testament history are frequent. Its exceeding richness is now turned into desolation unexceeded. Megiddo (Joshua 12:21; Judges 1:27), the city, centre of a smaller valley called by the same name (1 Chronicles 7:29; Judges 5:19), was situated within it, in the direction of Carmel. (For very full and interesting account of the Jezreel with which we have here to do, and of Esdraelon, see Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine,' pp. 336-356, edit. 1866.) Mount Gilboa identifies for us the exact battle-field of the text. It is the same with that on which Gideon triumphed (Judges 7:1, 8). It is in the lot of Issachar, flanked by the Little Hermon ridge on the north-east, and by Gilboa on the south-east, a mountain range of ten miles long, about six hundred feet high, and mentioned only in the melancholy connection of this history. The flight of the men of Israel and of Saul was from the plain back to their position on Mount Gilboa, where they were pursued, overtaken, and slain. The modern name of the town Jezreel is Zerin, the depraved aliases of which appear as Gerin and Zazzin (Robinson's 'Bibl. Res.,' 3:162-165, 3rd edit.), and Jezreel, Shunem, and Beth-shean are the three most conspicuous places in this part of the whole plain of Esdraelon.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
See Gill on 1 Samuel 31:1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
1Ch 10:1-7. Saul's Overthrow and Death.
1. Now the Philistines fought against Israel—The details of this chapter have no relation to the preceding genealogies and seem to be inserted solely to introduce the narrative of David's elevation to the throne of the whole kingdom. The parallel between the books of Samuel and Chronicles commences with this chapter, which relates the issue of the fatal battle of Gilboa almost in the very same words as 1Sa 31:1-13.
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