1 Samuel 31:8
And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) They found Saul and his three sons fallen in Mount Gilboa.—It is expressly stated that the Philistines only found the royal corpses on the morrow of the great fight. So desperate had been the valour with which the King and his gallant sons had defended their last positions on the hill, that night had fallen ere the din of battle ceased. Nor were the enemy aware of the completeness of their success until the morning dawn revealed to the soldiers as they went over the scene, the great ones who were numbered among the slain. In the mean time the Amalekite had found and carried off the crown and royal bracelet. Only the bodies of Saul and the princes, and the armourbearer, are spoken of here. The crown royal, which would have formed so splendid a trophy, was already taken.

“O Saul,

How ghastly didst thou look, on thine own sword

Expiring: in Gilboa, from that hour

Ne’er visited with rain from heaven, nor dew.”

DANTE: Pura. 12

The curse of barrenness alluded to by the great Italian poet was called down on the hill where the first anointed of the Lord fell, and where the body was stripped and dismembered by the triumphant foe (2Samuel 1:21). Quickly the tidings were told, we learn, in the capital of Gath, and proclaimed through the streets of Askelon.

The historian with extreme brevity records the savage treatment of the royal remains, which, after all, was but a reprisal. The same generation had witnessed similar barbarous procedure in the case of Goliath, the great Philistine champion!

31:8-13 The Scripture makes no mention what became of the souls of Saul and his sons, after they were dead; but of their bodies only: secret things belong not to us. It is of little consequence by what means we die, or what is done with our dead bodies. If our souls are saved, our bodies will be raised incorruptible and glorious; but not to fear His wrath, who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell, is the extreme of folly and wickedness. How useless is the respect of fellow-creatures to those who are suffering the wrath of God! While pompous funerals, grand monuments, and he praises of men, honour the memory of the deceased, the soul may be suffering in the regions of darkness and despair! Let us seek that honour which cometh from God only.The men on the other side of the valley - This must mean to the north of the plain of Jezreel, and would comprise the tribe of Naphtali, and Zabulon, and probably Issachar. But the text of 1 Chronicles 10:7 has "that were in the valley," limiting the statement to the inhabitants of the plain of Jezreel.

On the other side Jordan - This phrase most commonly means on the east of Jordan, the speaker being supposed to be on the west side. But it is also used of the west of Jordan, as here, if the text be sound.

The Philistines ... dwelt in them - One of the principal cities, Beth-shan, fell into their power at once 1 Samuel 31:10.

1Sa 31:8-10. The Philistines Triumph over Their Dead Bodies.

8, 9. on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen—On discovering the corpses of the slaughtered princes on the battlefield, the enemy reserved them for special indignities. They consecrated the armor of the king and his sons to the temple of Ashtaroth fastened their bodies on the temple of Shen, while they fixed the royal heads ignominiously in the temple of Dagon (1Ch 10:10); thus dividing the glory among their several deities.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And it came to pass on the morrow,.... The day after the battle, which perhaps was fought till night came on:

when the Philistines came to strip the slain; of their clothes, and take from them whatever was valuable, as their booty:

that they found Saul and his sons fallen in Mount Gilboa; to which they had betaken themselves, when the battle went against them in the valley; of which see 1 Samuel 28:4.

And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 8. - It came to pass on the morrow. The previous verse gave us the results of the victory as they were in course of time developed. We now return to the narrative of the battle and its immediate consequences. As the spoiling was deferred till the morrow, the struggle must have been obstinately contested, and decided only just before nightfall. 1 Samuel 31:8On the day following the battle, when the Philistines tripped the slain, they found Saul and his three sons lying upon Gilboa; and having cut off their heads and plundered their weapons, they went them (the heads and weapons) as trophies into the land of the Philistines, i.e., round about to the different towns and hamlets of their land, to announce the joyful news in their idol-temples (the writer of the Chronicles mentions the idols themselves) and to the people, and then deposited their weapons (the weapons of Saul and his sons) in the Astarte-houses. But the corpses they fastened to the town-wall of Beth-shean, i.e., Beisan, in the valley of the Jordan (see at Joshua 17:11). Beth-azabbim and Beth-ashtaroth are composite words; the first part is indeclinable, and the plural form is expressed by the second word: idol-houses and Astarte-houses, like beth-aboth (father's-houses: see at Exodus 6:14). On the Astartes, see at Judges 2:13. It is not expressly stated indeed in 1 Samuel 31:9, 1 Samuel 31:10, that the Philistines plundered the bodies of Saul's sons as well, and mutilated them by cutting off their heads; but ראשׁו and כּליו, his (i.e., Saul's) head and his weapons, alone are mentioned. At the same time, it is every evident from 1 Samuel 31:12, where the Jabeshites are said to have taken down from the wall of Beth-shean not Saul's body only, but the bodies of his sons also, that the Philistines had treated the corpses of Saul's sons in just the same manner as that of Saul himself. The writer speaks distinctly of the abuse of Saul's body only, because it was his death that he had chiefly in mind at the time. To the word וישׁלּחוּ we must supply in thought the object ראשׁו and כּליו from the preceding clause. גּויּת and גּויּת (1 Samuel 31:10 and 1 Samuel 31:12) are the corpses without the heads. The fact that the Philistines nailed them to the town-wall of Beth-shean presupposes the capture of that city, from which it is evident that they had occupied the land as far as the Jordan. The definite word Beth-ashtaroth is changed by the writer of the Chronicles into Beth-elohim, temples of the gods; or rather he has interpreted it in this manner without altering the sense, as the Astartes are merely mentioned as the principal deities for the idols generally. The writer of the Chronicles has also omitted to mention the nailing of the corpses to the wall of Beth-shean, but he states instead that "they fastened his skull in the temple of Dagon," a fact which is passed over in the account before us. From this we may see how both writers have restricted themselves to the principal points, or those which appeared to them of the greatest importance (vid., Bertheau on 1 Chronicles 10:10).
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