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 10:13
I. Observe, first, that Saul, who here had recourse to witchcraft, had before taken vigorous measures for exterminating witchcraft; and it was at once a proof that he was far gone in iniquity and an evidence that his ruin came on apace when he could thus become the patron of a sin of which he had once been the opponent. There is no greater moral peril than that which surrounds an individual who, after he has given up a sinful practice, again betakes himself to it.
II. Observe that it was not until Saul had consulted God, and God had refused to answer him by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets, that he took the fatal resolve of applying to the necromancer. Men are apt to forget, when roused to anxiety as to the soul, how long they have made God wait for them and how justly therefore they might expect that the peace and happiness of the Gospel will not be imparted at the first moment they are sought; and then there is great danger of their being quickly wearied and turning to other and worthless sources of comfort.
III. There is something very touching in the fact that it was Samuel whom Saul desired the witch to call up. Samuel had boldly reproved Saul, and, as it would appear, offended him by his faithfulness. And yet Saul said, "Bring up Samuel." How many who have despised the advice of a father or a mother, and grieved their parents by opposition and disobedience, long bitterly to bring them back when they have gone down to the grave, that they may have the benefit of the counsel which they once slighted and scorned.
H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1884.
References: 1 Chronicles 11:7-9.—J. M. Neale, Occasional Sermons, p. 59. 1 Chronicles 11:15, 1 Chronicles 11:19.—D. R. Evans, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvi., p. 393.
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.
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.
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.
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;
And inquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.