And the Philistines followed hard on Saul and on his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul's sons.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons.—“The details of the battle are but seen in broken snatches, as in the short scene of a battle acted upon the stage, or beheld at remote glimpses by an accidental spectator. But amidst the showers of arrows from the Philistine archers, or pressed hard even on the mountain side by their charioteers, the figure of the king emerges from the darkness. His three sons have fallen before him; his armourbearer lies dead beside him.”—Stanley: Jewish Church, Lect. 21
And the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchi-shua, Saul’s sons.—But while, in his own record of the national disaster, the compiler or historian, in his stern sorrow, expunges every detail, and represses every expression of feeling, he gives us in the next chapter (2Samuel 1:1-27) the stately elegy, in the beautiful moving words which the successor to the throne wrote on the death of the first king and his heroic son. Without comment he copies into his record the hymn of David on Saul and Jonathan, just as he found it in the Book of Jashar (the collection of national odes celebrating the heroes of the Theocracy). “There David speaks of the Saul of earlier times—the mighty conqueror, the delight of his people, the father of his beloved and faithful friend—like him in life, united with him in death.” (Stanley).
“Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives
And in their death they were not divided.
Than eagles they were swifter, than lions more strong.”
(2Samuel 1:23.) From the lost Book of Jashar.
Nothing is known of the two younger princes who fell fighting here by their father’s side, sword in hand against the enemies of their country.
The hero Jonathan and his two brave brothers, as far as we can gather from the scanty details of the battle after the army was routed in the valley of Jezreel, retreated (fighting all the while) to the hill of Gilboa. There, it seems, they made the last stand with the fideles of the royal house of Saul (1Samuel 31:6), and there, no doubt defending the king to the last, they fell.1 Samuel 31:2. The Philistines slew Jonathan — David’s dear friend; God so ordering it for the further exercise of David’s faith and patience; and that David might depend upon God alone for his crown, and receive it solely from him, and not from Jonathan; who, doubtless, had he lived, would have speedily settled the crown upon David’s head. There was also a special providence of God in taking away Jonathan, (who, of all Saul’s sons, seems to have been the fairest for the crown,) for preventing divisions, which might have happened among the people concerning the successor: David’s way to the crown being by this means made the more clear. Abinadab — Called also Ishui, 1 Samuel 14:49. Ish-bosheth was not here, being possibly at home for the management of affairs there. Thus the prediction of Samuel was fulfilled: but who can forbear dropping a tear over the faithful, the amiable, the excellent Jonathan? “There are few characters among men more lovely or more extraordinary than his: fortitude, fidelity, magnanimity! a soul susceptible of the most refined friendship, and superior to all the temptations of ambition and vanity! and all these crowned with the most resigned submission to the will of God.” — Delaney.Genesis 23:2). Hebron was a city of refuge Joshua 20:7, and one of the cities of the Kohathites Joshua 21:11. It lies twenty miles south of Jerusalem.
1Sa 31:1-7. Saul Having Lost His Army at Gilboa, and His Sons Being Slain, He and His Armor-bearer Kill Themselves.
1. Now the Philistines fought against Israel—In a regular engagement, in which the two armies met (1Sa 28:1-4), the Israelites were forced to give way, being annoyed by the arrows of the enemy, which, destroying them at a distance before they came to close combat, threw them into panic and disorder. Taking advantage of the heights of Mount Gilboa, [the Israelites] attempted to rally, but in vain. Saul and his sons fought like heroes; but the onset of the Philistines being at length mainly directed against the quarter where they were, Jonathan and two brothers, Abinadab or Ishui (1Sa 14:49) and Melchishua, overpowered by numbers, were killed on the spot.The Philistines slew Jonathan, David’s dear friend; God so ordering it for the further exercise of David’s faith and patience; and that David might depend upon God alone for his crown, and receive it solely from him, and not from Jonathan; who doubtless, had he lived, would have speedily settled the crown upon David’s head, which would have in some sort eclipsed the glory of God’s grace and power in this work. There was also a special providence of God in taking away Jonathan, (who of all Saul’s sons seems to have been the fairest for the crown,) for the preventing divisions, which have happened amongst the people concerning the successor; David’s way to the crown being by this means made the more clear.
Abinadab, called also Ishui, 1 Samuel 14:49. Ish-bosheth was not here, being possibly at home, for the management of public affairs there.
and upon his sons; who were with him:
and the Philistines slew Jonathan; who is mentioned first, being the eldest son, and perhaps first slain; and this was so ordered by the providence of God, that David's way to the throne might be more clear and easy; for though Jonathan would not have opposed him himself, yet the people, fond of him, would, at least many of them, been for setting him on the throne; and though he would have refused it, knowing David was the Lord's anointed, and have made interest for him, this would have looked as if he had made him king, and not the Lord:
and Abinadab and Malchishua, Saul's sons; these also were slain; former of these is called Ishui, 1 Samuel 14:49; Ishbosheth either was not in the battle, being left at home, as unfit for war, or to take care of the kingdom; or else he fled with Abner, and others, and escaped, and who was to be a trial to David.And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul's sons.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. Saul’s sons] See 1 Samuel 14:49. There is a tragic pathos in the simplicity of the account. Cp. 1 Samuel 31:6.1 Samuel 30:31, to all the places in which he had wandered with his men, i.e., where he had wandered about during his flight from Saul, and in which he had no doubt received assistance. Sending these gifts could not fail to make the elders of these cities well disposed towards him, and so to facilitate his recognition as king after the death of Saul, which occurred immediately afterwards. Some of these places may have been plundered by the Amalekites, since they had invaded the Negeb of Judah (1 Samuel 30:14). The cities referred to were Bethel, - not the Bethel so often mentioned, the present Beitin, in the tribe of Benjamin, but Betheul (1 Chronicles 4:30) or Bethul, in the tribe of Simeon (Joshua 19:4), which Knobel supposes to be Elusa or el Khalasa (see at Joshua 15:30). The reading Βαιθσούρ in the lxx is a worthless conjecture. Ramah of the south, which was allotted to the tribe of Simeon, has not yet been discovered (see at Joshua 19:8). Jattir has been preserved in the ruins of Attir, on the southern portion of the Mountains of Judah (see at Joshua 15:48). Aror is still to be seen in ruins, viz., in the foundations of walls built in enormous stones in Wady Arara, where there are many cavities for holding water, about three hours E.S.E. of Bersaba, and twenty miles to the south of Hebron (vid., Rob. Pal. ii. p. 620, and v. de Velde, Mem. p. 288). Siphmoth (or Shiphmoth, according to several MSS) is altogether unknown. It may probably be referred to again in 1 Chronicles 27:27, where Zabdi is called the Shiphmite; but it is certainly not to be identified with Sepham, on the north-east of the sea of Galilee (Numbers 34:10-11), as Thenius supposes. Eshtemoa has been preserved in the village of Semua, with ancient ruins, on the south-western portion of the mountains of Judah (see at Joshua 15:50). Racal is never mentioned again, and is entirely unknown. The lxx have five different names instead of this, the last being Carmel, into which Thenius proposes to alter Racal. But this can hardly be done with propriety, as the lxx also introduced the Philistian Gath, which certainly does not belong here; whilst in 1 Samuel 30:30 they have totally different names, some of which are decidedly wrong. The cities of the Jerahmeelites and Kenites were situated in the Negeb of Judah (1 Samuel 27:10), but their names cannot be traced.
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