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 dwelled in them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)That were in the valley.—Rather, the plain, in which the main battle was fought—that of Jezreel. Samuel has “that were on the other side of the plain, and on the other side of the Jordan.” The curt phrase “who (dwelt) in the plain,” may be compared with 1Chronicles 9:2. The people of the surrounding districts are meant; who, when they “saw that they” (viz., Saul’s army, “the men of Israel,” Samuel) “fled,” or had been routed, deserted “their (Samuel, ‘the,’ perhaps a transposition of letters) cities” which were then occupied by the Philistines.
Dwelt in them.—The pronoun here is masculine, in Samuel, feminine, which is correct.2 Samuel 2:8-15; 2 Samuel 3:6-15; 2 Samuel 4:1-12). The phrase is perhaps an abbreviation of the expression in the parallel passage of Samuel 1 Samuel 31:6. In the valley; which was beneath Mount Gilboa, where the fight was, 1 Chronicles 10:1. 1 Samuel 31:1. 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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. that were in the valley] The “valley of Jezreel” (Hosea 1:5), called in later times the “plain of Esdrelon” (Esdraelon) is meant. Even those who lived east of Jordan took to flight; 1 Samuel 31:7.
forsook their cities] Among these was no doubt Beth-shan (Beisan) “the key of Western Palestine” (see G. A. Smith, Hist. Geog. p. 358 f.), where Saul’s body was exposed (1 Samuel 31:12).
and dwelt in them] Only perhaps until Abner reconquered this district for Ish-bosheth the son of Saul; cp. 2 Samuel 2:9, “[Abner] made him (Ish-bosheth) king over … Jezreel.”Verse 7. - In the valley. In place of these words, the parallel (1 Samuel 31:7) has, "On the other side of the valley, and.., on the other side Jordan." We have here a clear instance of the desire of the compiler of Chronicles to compress his narrative, while the fidelity of the parallel narrative is testi-fled in the naturalness of its statements, amounting to this, that, quick as the intelligence or report could reach all those Israelites who were at all within the range of the victorious Philistines, they hastened to vacate their abodes. 1 Chronicles 8:33); and when the archers came upon Saul he trembled before them (יחל from חוּל), and ordered his armour-bearer to thrust him through. Between המּורים and בּקּשׁת the superfluous אנשׁים is introduced in Samuel, and in the last clause מאד is omitted; and instead of מהמּורים we have the unusual form מן־היּורים (cf. 2 Chronicles 35:23). In Saul's request to his armour-bearer that he would thrust him through with the sword, וּדקרני (1 Samuel 31:4) is omitted in the phrase which gives the reason for his request; and Bertheau thinks it did not originally stand in the text, and has been repeated merely by an oversight, since the only motive for the command, "Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith," was that the Philistines might not insult Saul when alive, and consequently the words, "that they may not thrust me through," cannot express the reason. But that is scarcely a conclusive reason for this belief; for although the Philistines might seek out Saul after he had been slain by his armour-bearer, and dishonour his dead body, yet the anxiety lest they should seek out his corpse to wreak their vengeance upon it could not press so heavily upon him as the fear that they would take vengeance upon him if he fell alive into their hands. It is therefore a more probable supposition that the author of the Chronicle has omitted the word וּדקרני only as not being necessary to the sense of the passage, just as עמּו is omitted at the end of 1 Chronicles 10:5. In 1 Chronicles 10:6 we have וכל־בּיתו instead of the כּל־אנשׁיו גּם כליו ונשׂא of Samuel, and in 1 Chronicles 10:7 ישׂראל אנשׁי is omitted after the words נסוּ כּי (Samuel). From this Bertheau concludes that the author of the Chronicle has designedly avoided speaking of the men of Saul's army or of the Israelites who took part in the battle, because it was not his purpose to describe the whole course of the conflict, but only to narrate the death of Saul and of his sons, in order to point out how the supreme power came to David. Thenius, on the contrary, deduces the variation between the sixth verse of the Chronicles and the corresponding verse in Samuel from "a text which had become illegible." Both are incorrect; for כּל־אנשׁיו are not all the men of war who went with him into the battle (Then.), or all the Israelites who took part in the battle (Berth.), but only all those who were about the king, i.e., the whole of the king's attendants who had followed him to the war. כּל־בּיתו is only another expression for כּל־אנשׁיו, in which the כּליו נשׂא is included. The author of the Chronicle has merely abridged the account, confining himself to a statement of the main points, and has consequently both omitted ישׂראל אנשׁי in 1 Chronicles 10:7, because he had already spoken of the flight of the warriors of Israel in 1 Chronicles 10:1, and it was here sufficient to mention only the flight and death of Saul and of his sons, and has also shortened the more exact statement as to the inhabitants of that district, "those on the other side of the valley and on the other side of Jordan" (Samuel), into בּאמק אשׁר. In this abridgement also Thenius scents a "defective text." As the inhabitants of the district around Gilboa abandoned their cities, they were taken possession of by the Philistines.
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