Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Saul Dies I Samuel 31

I Samuel 31:5 "And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him."

David is in Judah fighting the Amalekites. Saul is in the north fighting the Philistines.

We should note that a division has matured in the children of Israel. We now see Judah and Israel separated within the nation. Perhaps we could think of Canaan as having two states.

Saul's forces are overrun by the Philistines and the men of Israel fled and fell in Gilboa. Saul's sons appear to have been protecting Saul for they fell first then only Saul and his armourbearer are left. The archers hit Saul and he is sore wounded. He does not want to be taken by the Philistines and tells his armourbearer to kill him but he can not kill the king. Saul then fell on his own sword and died.

v3 "And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers."

v4 "...Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it."

The Philistines came out the next day to strip the bodies (spoils of war) and when they found Saul and his sons they cut off their heads and put them on display in their land. The bodies were also put on display separately but the men of Jabesh-gilead mustered their courage and took the bodies and buried them.

v10 "And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan."

A tragic end to the first anointed king of Israel. He disobeyed the LORD and was rejected. The kingdom was stripped from him and given to David. I have to think back to the young Saul who was too shy to come out when the congregation met to honor him. The big man who stood a shoulder above his fellows. I can almost see him with his back to a tree and his spear in his hand. But it was the LORD who put him in the kingship and the LORD who took his kingdom. It was very costly for him to disobey. Yet, as David did, he is still due some honor as king.

v13 "And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days."

Special note: There is disagreement on how Saul died. Some take this chapter and agree that Saul fell on his sword. Others (as C.I. Scofield says) believe an Amalekite killed him as described in the first chapter of Second Samuel. Mister Scofield says Saul got up after being struck down but I can find no verse to verify that statement. I believe Saul fell on his own sword and died and here is why. Chapter 31 of First Samuel tells what happens and is not quoting anyone. Chapter 1 of Second Samuel is quoting the Amalekite who could have said anything to try to win David's favor. Both accounts are true records but the Amalekite got this story(a true account of a lie just as the Devil lied to Eve) wrong for his own benefit. We will read about that next.

Psalm 34:7 "The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."

Keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Samuel, Saul, David, Amalekite, Saul's Death, Jonathan's Death, Israel, Judah, Milton Southerland. Our study has progressed to the point where David becomes king of Judah and Saul has died.

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