Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.1 Chronicles 10:1. The men of Israel fled — Thus princes sin, and the people suffer for it. No doubt there was enough in them to deserve it. But that which divine justice had chiefly an eye to, was the sin of Saul. Great men should, in an especial manner, take heed of provoking God’s wrath. For if they kindle that fire, they know not how many may be consumed by it for their sakes. See notes on 1 Samuel 31.
And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul.
And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers.
Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.
And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died.
So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together.1 Chronicles 10:6. Saul died, and all his house — All his children then present with him, namely, his three sons; for Ish-bosheth and Mephibosheth were not slain.
And when all the men of Israel that were in the valley saw that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, then they forsook their cities, and fled: and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.
And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen in mount Gilboa.
And when they had stripped him, they took his head, and his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to carry tidings unto their idols, and to the people.
And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.1 Chronicles 10:10. In the temple of Dagon — If we give not God the glory of our successes, even Philistines will rise up in judgment with us, and condemn us. Shall Dagon have so great a place in their triumphs, and the true God be forgotten in ours?
And when all Jabeshgilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul,
They arose, all the valiant men, and took away the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh, and fasted seven days.1 Chronicles 10:12. And fasted seven days — Every day till evening, after the manner of the Jewish fasts.
So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it;1 Chronicles 10:13. So Saul died for his transgression — The sense is, wonder not that Saul fell by the hands of the Philistines, who were armed against him by his own sin, and by God’s vengeance for it. Against the word of the Lord — Against God’s express, and plain, and positive command; which is a great aggravation of any sin. For asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit — Which also was contrary to a manifest command,
(Leviticus 19:31,) and moreover contrary to his own conscience, which was so fully convinced of the evil of such practices, that he had endeavoured the utter extirpation of all such persons, in pursuance of God’s law, 1 Samuel 28:9. To inquire of it — Concerning the event of the approaching battle.
And inquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.1 Chronicles 10:14. Inquired not of the Lord — He did in some sort, but not in a right manner; not humbly and penitently, not diligently and importunately, not patiently and perseveringly; nor till he was brought to the last extremity, and then it was too late.