From 1 Chronicles 9-11
Okay deep breath. The narrative resumes. We are back Saul’s last battle where he and his sons die.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
10 Now the Philistines fought against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. (1 Chr 10.1-2)
Perhaps you remember Jonathan and David were close friends (1 Sam 18.1-5). Jonathan was faithful to the LORD (1 Sam 14.1-23) but his fathers punishment overtook him.
3 The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5 And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died. 6 Thus Saul died; he and his three sons and all his house died together. 7 And when all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled, and the Philistines came and lived in them. (1 Chr 10.3-7)
Saul’s commits suicide in the end. He did not call on the LORD, nor repent of his disobedience. A sad end for the LORD’s first anointed king.
8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 And they stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to carry the good news to their idols and to the people. 10 And they put his armor in the temple of their gods and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon. (1 Chr 10.8-10)
The Philistines cut off Saul’s head. They took his head and his armour and put it in the temple of their God’s. It must have been a grizzly site having the cut of heads of all their defeated enemies fastened in their temple. Having all the dead hanging around in the temple is also a sign of how ritually unclean it was in Hebrew thought.
11 But when all Jabesh-gilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and took away the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh. And they buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh and fasted seven days. (1 Chr 10.11-12)
Leaving dead bodies in the open, exposed them to mutilation by birds and animals. This is a sign of divine judgment (Dt 28.25-26). Sympathetic people often buried the bodies out of respect. Dead bodies made the land unclean (Dt 21.23; Eze 39.14,16). Thus dead bodies were buried to prevent this. David will later commend the men who buried Saul and his sons with these reasons in the background of his rationale (2 Sam 2.4-5).
13 So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. 14 He did not seek guidance from the LORD. Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse. (1 Chr 10.13-14)
Saul was called by the LORD, but he broke faith and fell away. As a result, David was called, but he proves to be the LORD’s chosen king.
Story of Israel
In one of David’s Psalms he alludes that when people die they see corruption. David’s underlying thought is the same as I was discussing above. Dead bodies are unclean.
7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption. (Ps 16:7–10)
He expresses the hope that when he dies he will not be abandoned to Sheol and will not see corruption. He’s talking about resurrection (cf. a) Ps 22.14-15,25-27; b) Job 14.14; 19.25-26; c) Isa 53.8-10,; d) Dan 12.2). But many from Israel will die after David’s time.
Story of Jesus
It’s not until Jesus died and was raised on the third day that the apostles began to claim these prophecies had been fulfilled. As I discussed from Saul and David’s Psalm, dead bodies are unclean. David expressed the hope that he would not be abandoned to Sheol and his body to corruption.
When Paul shares the gospel in Pisidia he quotes David’s Psalm and uses it to point towards Jesus.
26 “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. 27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28 And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,
“ ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’
34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,
“ ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’
35 Therefore he says also in another psalm,
“ ‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’
36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. (Acts 13.26-37)
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.