1 Chronicles 10

1 Chronicles 10 reviews what happens to Saul as his life ends.  We read about it back in 1 Samuel, but the write of Chronicles reviews it here.  The “Philistines fought against Israel” and the army of Israel fled.  Archaeologists tell us two other things about the Philistines: they were hard drinkers, and they were the first in the region to effectively use iron, and they made the most of it.  It was the later, along with their heritage as a military based society, that made them extremely difficult to fight.

The Philistines also were sea-faring people and traded with distant lands. Therefore they imported newer and better military technology from the Greeks and became a powerful enemy of the people of Israel.  While the army of Israel could deal with other enemies like those from Moab and Ammon, they were unequipped to be able to handle the Philistine army, and they fled to Mount Gilboa.  But the Philistines caught up and “overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul”.

Saul has no intention of allowing the Philistines to kill him, so ordered his armor-bearer to kill him.  But the young man refused, and Saul “took his own sword and fell upon it”.  So that day Saul and his sons died.  Jonathan died as he had lived – loyally fighting unto the very end for his God, his country, and his father the king.  This was the tragic end of the reign of the first king of Israel.  It didn’t go as they had planned.  And the Philistines came in and occupied the land and lived with them.

We do get clarity in why Saul’s reign was ended.  “Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse”.  God doesn’t leave this outcome a mystery.  Saul died for his unfaithfulness.  He went from a humble follower of God to a guy corrupted by power and pride.  Saul is unfortunately an example of wasted potential.  And now David becomes king.

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