1 Chronicles 10:1
Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Chronicles 10-29—The history of King David, who made Jerusalem the political and religious centre of Israel, organised the Levitical ministry in its permanent shape, and amassed great stores of wealth and material for the Temple, which his son and successor was to build.

X.

A BRIEF NARRATIVE OF THE OVERTHROW AND DEATH OF SAUL, BY WAY OF PRELUDE TO THE REIGN OF DAVID.

1Chronicles 10:1-12 are parallel to 1Samuel 31:1-13. The general coincidence of the two texts is so exact as to preclude the supposition of independence. We know that the chronicler has drawn much in his earlier chapters from the Pentateuch; and as he must have been acquainted with the Books of Samuel, it is à priori likely that he made a similar use of them. At the same time, a number of small variations—on an average, three at least in each verse—some of which can neither be referred to the freaks or mistakes of copyists nor to the supposed caprice of the compiler, may be taken to indicate the use of an additional source, or perhaps of a text of Samuel differing in some respects from that which we possess. (See Introduction.)

(1) Now the Philistines fought against Israel.—For a similarly abrupt beginning, comp. Isaiah 2:1. The battle was fought in the plain of Jezreel, or Esdraelon, the scene of so many of the struggles of ancient history. (Comp. Hosea 2:10 : “I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”)

The men of Israel.—Heb., man—a collective expression, which gives a more vivid image of the rout. They fled as one man, or in a body. Samuel has the plural.

Fell down slain in mount Gilboa.—The Jebel Faku’a rises out of the plain of Jezreel to a height of one thousand seven hundred feet. The defeated army of Saul fell back upon this mountain, which had been their first position (1Samuel 28:4), but were pursued thither. “Slain” is right, as in 1Chronicles 10:8.

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 31.10:1-14 The death of Saul. - The design chiefly in view in these books of the Chronicles, appears to be to preserve the records of the house of David. Therefore the writer repeats not the history of Saul's reign, but only of his death, by which a way was made for David to the throne. And from the ruin of Saul, we may learn, 1. That the sin of sinners will certainly find them out, sooner or later; Saul died for his transgression. 2. That no man's greatness can exempt him from the judgments of God. 3. Disobedience is a killing thing. Saul died for not keeping the word of the Lord. May be delivered from unbelief, impatience, and despair. By waiting on the Lord we shall obtain a kingdom that cannot be moved.The present chapter contains two facts not found in 1 Samuel 31:1-13 - the fastening of Saul's head in the temple of Dagon 1 Chronicles 10:10, and the burial of his bones, and those of his sons, under an oak 1 Chronicles 10:12. Otherwise the narrative differs from 1 Samuel 31:1-13 only by being abbreviated (see especially 1 Chronicles 10:6-7, 1 Chronicles 10:11-12), and by having some moral reflections attached to it 1 Chronicles 10:13-14. CHAPTER 10

1Ch 10:1-7. Saul's Overthrow and Death.

1. Now the Philistines fought against Israel—The details of this chapter have no relation to the preceding genealogies and seem to be inserted solely to introduce the narrative of David's elevation to the throne of the whole kingdom. The parallel between the books of Samuel and Chronicles commences with this chapter, which relates the issue of the fatal battle of Gilboa almost in the very same words as 1Sa 31:1-13.Saul’s overthrow and death, 1 Chronicles 10:1-7. The Philistines triumph over Saul, 1 Chronicles 10:8-10. The kindness of Jabesh-gilead towards Saul and his sons: his sin, 1 Chronicles 10:11-14.

Of this and the following verses till 1 Chronicles 10:13, see my notes on 1Sa 31, where we have the same thing expressed almost in thee same words.

See Gill on 1 Samuel 31:1. Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
There are several variations between the text given here and the text of 1 Sam., which are noticed as they occur in the following notes.

1. in mount Gilboa] In the campaign of Gilboa the Philistines shewed new and skilful strategy. Instead of at once marching eastward up the ravines which lead into Judah and Benjamin—in which there was no room for their chariots (2 Samuel 1:6) to manœuvre—they first marched northward along the sea-coast and then turned eastward just before reaching Mount Carmel. This movement brought them into the great fertile plain watered by the Kishon, ground over which chariots could act with decisive effect. At the N.E. end of the plain rose the heights of Gilboa. When Saul and his Benjamites advanced to meet the Philistines, the latter succeeded in interposing themselves between the Israelite army and its base in Benjamin—an easy achievement for an enemy who by his chariots possessed a high degree of mobility. Saul was therefore driven to take up his position on the north side of the plain on Mount Gilboa, where he was attacked by the Philistines, probably from the S.W., on which side the slopes of the mountain are comparatively gentle. The Israelites cut off from their homes, outmarched, outgeneralled, and probably outnumbered, were speedily routed. The battle of Gilboa was won like Hastings by cavalry (chariots) and archers (1 Chronicles 10:3) against infantry, which was obliged to stand on the defensive, under pain of being cut to pieces if it ventured to attack.Verse 1. - No abruptness marks this narration in 1 Samuel 31. On the contrary, it is there the natural conclusion of the wars between the Philistines and Saul. This engagement took place (1 Samuel 28:4; 1 Samuel 29:1, 11) on the plains of Jezreel. The name Jezreel marks either the city (Joshua 19:18; 1 Kings 21:1, 11), or the celebrated valley or plain called in later times Esdraelon, the Greek form of the word. The plain in its largest proportions may be said to have been bounded by the Mediterranean (although it is called the plain of Accho, where it abuts on that sea) and the Jordan, and by the Samaria and Carmel ranges on the south and south-west, and those of Galilee on the north and northeast. While called a "plain" and "the great plain" in Judges 1:8, its name in the Old Testament is "valley." It lay like a scalene triangle, with its apex in the direction of the Mediterranean, opening into the above-mentioned plain of Accho, and its sides going from right to left, about fifteen, twelve, and eighteen miles long respectively. The allusions to it in Old Testament history are frequent. Its exceeding richness is now turned into desolation unexceeded. Megiddo (Joshua 12:21; Judges 1:27), the city, centre of a smaller valley called by the same name (1 Chronicles 7:29; Judges 5:19), was situated within it, in the direction of Carmel. (For very full and interesting account of the Jezreel with which we have here to do, and of Esdraelon, see Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine,' pp. 336-356, edit. 1866.) Mount Gilboa identifies for us the exact battle-field of the text. It is the same with that on which Gideon triumphed (Judges 7:1, 8). It is in the lot of Issachar, flanked by the Little Hermon ridge on the north-east, and by Gilboa on the south-east, a mountain range of ten miles long, about six hundred feet high, and mentioned only in the melancholy connection of this history. The flight of the men of Israel and of Saul was from the plain back to their position on Mount Gilboa, where they were pursued, overtaken, and slain. The modern name of the town Jezreel is Zerin, the depraved aliases of which appear as Gerin and Zazzin (Robinson's 'Bibl. Res.,' 3:162-165, 3rd edit.), and Jezreel, Shunem, and Beth-shean are the three most conspicuous places in this part of the whole plain of Esdraelon. The family of King Saul. - This register has already occurred in 1 Chronicles 8:29-38, along with those of other families of the tribe of Benjamin, and is repeated here only to connect the following history of the kingship with the preceding genealogical lists. It forms here the introduction to the narrative of Saul's death in 1 Chronicles 10:1-14, which in turn forms the transition to the kingship of David. The deviations of this register from that in 1 Chronicles 8:29-38, show that it has been derived from another document in more complete preservation than that in 1 Chronicles 8, which had been handed down in connection with other genealogies of the Benjamite families, and had suffered considerably in its text. See the commentary on 1 Chronicles 8:29-38.
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