1 Samuel 31:6
So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.
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(6) And all his men.—We must not interpret this statement quite literally; 1Chronicles 10:6 explains it by “all his house.” Ishbosheth, his son, for instance, and Abner, the captain of the host, we know were not among the slain on that fatal day. The meaning is that all his “fideles,” his personal staff, as we should say, with his three sons fell fighting round him. The lines of the chivalrous Scottish ballad writer who with rare skill describes the devoted followers of King James V. falling round him at Flodden, well paints what took place on the stricken field of Gilboa round the hero king Saul:—

“No one failed him! He is keeping

Royal state and semblance still,

Knight and noble lie around him,

Cold, on Flodden’s fatal hill.

“Of the brave and gallant-hearted

Whom you sent with prayers away,

Not a single man departed

From his monarch yesterday.” AYTOUN.

31:1-7 We cannot judge of the spiritual or eternal state of any by the manner of their death; for in that, there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked. Saul, when sorely wounded, and unable to resist or to flee, expressed no concern about his never-dying soul; but only desired that the Philistines might not insult over him, or put him to pain, and he became his own murderer. As it is the grand deceit of the devil, to persuade sinners, under great difficulties, to fly to this last act of desperation, it is well to fortify the mind against it, by a serious consideration of its sinfulness before God, and its miserable consequences in society. But our security is not in ourselves. Let us seek protection from Him who keepeth Israel. Let us watch and pray; and take unto us the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.All his men - This and similar expressions must not be taken too literally (compare 1 Chronicles 10:6). We know that Abner, and Ish-bosheth, and manymore survived the day of Gilboa. 6. So Saul died—(see on [255]1Ch 10:13; [256]Ho 13:11).

and his three sons—The influence of a directing Providence is evidently to be traced in permitting the death of Saul's three eldest and most energetic sons, particularly that of Jonathan, for whom, had he survived his father, a strong party would undoubtedly have risen and thus obstructed the path of David to the throne.

and all his men, that same day together—his servants or bodyguard (1Ch 10:6).

No text from Poole on this verse.

So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer,.... Only with this difference, his three sons died honourably in the field of battle, but he and his armourbearer destroyed themselves. Josephus says (e) he reigned eighteen years in the life of Samuel, and after his death twenty two years, which make the forty years the apostle ascribes to him, Acts 13:21; Eupolemus (f), an Heathen writer, makes him to reign twenty one years; but of the years of his reign, both before and after the death of Samuel, chronologers are not agreed, see 1 Samuel 25:1; and See Gill on Acts 13:21,

and all his men that same day together; not all the soldiers in his army; for many of them fled and escaped, and even Abner the general of the army, but his household servants, or those that were near his person, his bodyguards.

(e) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 14. sect. 9. (f) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 3. p. 447.

So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.
6. and all his men] The Sept. (B) omits these words. 1 Chronicles 10:6 reads “all his house.” Probably the soldiers of the royal body guard are meant, who fell fighting round him like Harold’s hus-carls at the battle of Hastings. If so, there is no difficulty in the escape of Ishbosheth, who probably was not on the field, and of Abner, who as general would not be in attendance on the king’s person.

1 Samuel 31:6The Philistines followed Saul, smote (i.e., put to death) his three sons (see at 1 Samuel 14:49), and fought fiercely against Saul himself. When the archers (בּקּשׁת אנשׁים is an explanatory apposition to המּורים) hit him, i.e., overtook him, he was greatly alarmed at them (יחל, from חיל or חוּל),

(Note: The lxx have adopted the rendering καὶ ἐτραυμάτισαν εἰς τὰ ὑποχόνδρια, they wounded him in the abdomen, whilst the Vulgate rendering is vulneratus est vehementer a sagittariis. In 1 Chronicles 10:3 the Sept. rendering is καὶ ἐπόνεσεν ἀπὸ τῶν τόξων, and that of the Vulgate et vulneraverunt jaculis. The translators have therefore derived יחל from חלל equals חלה, and then given a free rendering to the other words. But this rendering is overthrown by the word מאד, very, vehemently, to say nothing of the fact that the verb חלל or חלה cannot be proved to be ever used in the sense of wounding. If Saul had been so severely wounded that he could not kill himself, and therefore asked his armour-bearer to slay him, as Thenius supposes, he would not have had the strength to pierce himself with his sword when the armour-bearer refused. The further conjecture of Thenius, that the Hebrew text should be read thus, in accordance with the lxx, המּררים אל ויּחל, "he was wounded in the region of the gall," is opposed by the circumstance that ὑποχόνδρια is not the gall or region of the gall, but what is under the χόνδρος, or breast cartilage, viz., the abdomen and bowels.)

and called upon his armour-bearer to pierce him with the sword, "lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and play with me," i.e., cool their courage upon me by maltreating me. But as the armour-bearer would not do this, because he was very much afraid, since he was supposed to be answerable for the king's life, Saul inflicted death upon himself with his sword; whereupon the armour-bearer also fell upon his sword and died with his king, so that on that day Saul and this three sons and his armour-bearer all died; also "all his men" (for which we have "all his house" in the Chronicles), i.e., not all the warriors who went out with him to battle, but all the king's servants, or all the members of his house, sc., who had taken part in the battle. Neither Abner nor his son Ishbosheth was included, for the latter was not in the battle; and although the former was Saul's cousin and commander-in-chief (see 1 Samuel 14:50-51), he did not belong to his house or servants.

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