1 Samuel 31:5
And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Samuel 31:5. He (his armour-bearer) fell likewise upon his sword — The same sword on which Saul had fallen, which was the sword of the armour- bearer. This will appear evident to any one that reads these two verses (the 4th and 5th) in the original. Now it is the established tradition of the Jewish nation, that this armour-bearer was Doeg, which is not at all unlikely; and if so, then both Saul and his executioner fell by that very weapon with which they had before massacred the priests of God!

31:1-7 We cannot judge of the spiritual or eternal state of any by the manner of their death; for in that, there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked. Saul, when sorely wounded, and unable to resist or to flee, expressed no concern about his never-dying soul; but only desired that the Philistines might not insult over him, or put him to pain, and he became his own murderer. As it is the grand deceit of the devil, to persuade sinners, under great difficulties, to fly to this last act of desperation, it is well to fortify the mind against it, by a serious consideration of its sinfulness before God, and its miserable consequences in society. But our security is not in ourselves. Let us seek protection from Him who keepeth Israel. Let us watch and pray; and take unto us the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.He was sore wounded - Better, "he was sore afraid" (compare Deuteronomy 2:25). Saul's fear is explained in 1 Samuel 31:4. 3-5. the battle went sore against Saul, &c.—He seems to have bravely maintained his ground for some time longer; but exhausted with fatigue and loss of blood, and dreading that if he fell alive into the enemy's hands, they would insolently maltreat him (Jos 8:29; 10:24; Jud 8:21), he requested his armor bearer to despatch him. However, that officer refused to do so. Saul then falling on the point of his sword killed himself; and the armor bearer, who, according to Jewish writers, was Doeg, following the example of his master, put an end to his life also. They died by one and the same sword—the very weapon with which they had massacred the Lord's servants at Nob. No text from Poole on this verse.

And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead,.... By his own hands, and not by the hands of the Amalekite, which the armour bearer would scarcely have suffered:

he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him; some think that Saul, and his armourbearer, died by the same sword, which was the armourbearer's; and if he was Doeg, they fell probably by the same sword with which the priests of the Lord were murdered at Nob, 1 Samuel 22:18; and it is observed by an historian (d), that the murderers of Julius Caesar slew themselves with the same dagger they destroyed him.

(d) Sucton. Vit. Caesar. c. 89.

And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. and died with him] Being answerable for the king’s life he feared punishment: or from a nobler motive of true fidelity, refused to survive his master.

Verses 5, 6. - His armour bearer. The Jewish tradition says that he was Doeg the Edomite, and that the sword on which Saul fell was that with which he had massacred the priests. This is not very probable; but whoever he was, his horror on being asked to slay his master, and his devotion to him, are deserving of admiration. All his men. In 1 Chronicles 10:6" all his house." But Ishbosheth and Abner survived, and the meaning probably is not that his whole army, but that his personal attendants, all those posted round him, fell to a man, fighting bravely for their king, as the Scots fought round King James V. at Flodden Field. As suicide was very rare among the Israelites, the death of Saul is made more intensely tragic by the anguish which drove him thus to die by his own hand. POLITICAL RESULT OF THE BATTLE (ver. 7). 1 Samuel 31:5The Philistines followed Saul, smote (i.e., put to death) his three sons (see at 1 Samuel 14:49), and fought fiercely against Saul himself. When the archers (בּקּשׁת אנשׁים is an explanatory apposition to המּורים) hit him, i.e., overtook him, he was greatly alarmed at them (יחל, from חיל or חוּל),

(Note: The lxx have adopted the rendering καὶ ἐτραυμάτισαν εἰς τὰ ὑποχόνδρια, they wounded him in the abdomen, whilst the Vulgate rendering is vulneratus est vehementer a sagittariis. In 1 Chronicles 10:3 the Sept. rendering is καὶ ἐπόνεσεν ἀπὸ τῶν τόξων, and that of the Vulgate et vulneraverunt jaculis. The translators have therefore derived יחל from חלל equals חלה, and then given a free rendering to the other words. But this rendering is overthrown by the word מאד, very, vehemently, to say nothing of the fact that the verb חלל or חלה cannot be proved to be ever used in the sense of wounding. If Saul had been so severely wounded that he could not kill himself, and therefore asked his armour-bearer to slay him, as Thenius supposes, he would not have had the strength to pierce himself with his sword when the armour-bearer refused. The further conjecture of Thenius, that the Hebrew text should be read thus, in accordance with the lxx, המּררים אל ויּחל, "he was wounded in the region of the gall," is opposed by the circumstance that ὑποχόνδρια is not the gall or region of the gall, but what is under the χόνδρος, or breast cartilage, viz., the abdomen and bowels.)

and called upon his armour-bearer to pierce him with the sword, "lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and play with me," i.e., cool their courage upon me by maltreating me. But as the armour-bearer would not do this, because he was very much afraid, since he was supposed to be answerable for the king's life, Saul inflicted death upon himself with his sword; whereupon the armour-bearer also fell upon his sword and died with his king, so that on that day Saul and this three sons and his armour-bearer all died; also "all his men" (for which we have "all his house" in the Chronicles), i.e., not all the warriors who went out with him to battle, but all the king's servants, or all the members of his house, sc., who had taken part in the battle. Neither Abner nor his son Ishbosheth was included, for the latter was not in the battle; and although the former was Saul's cousin and commander-in-chief (see 1 Samuel 14:50-51), he did not belong to his house or servants.

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