1 Chronicles 10:1–14

Read the passage.

At last the Chronicler turns to the history of the kingdom of Israel. The first event given is the death of King Saul and his sons at the battle with the Philistines at Mount Gilboa. Saul died by his own hand in defeat and shame, and his body was desecrated by his enemies. Three of Saul’s sons died in the battle as well, though one other survived for a little while to inherit the throne. (2 Samuel 2:8–11) Though Saul’s head was displayed as a war trophy at the temple of Dagon, a strike force from Jabesh-gilead went out and successfully recovered the bodies of Saul and his sons to give them a proper burial.

None of the reasons or prior history with the Philistines are given, but they aren’t really important to the point being made. Saul’s defeat was a judgement from God because of his breach of faith. The utter defeat of Saul’s house at Mount Gilboa showed that the Lord had withdrawn any favor He had once extended to Saul, and the rise of David’s house confirmed who He had chosen to lead His people. Not all of Saul’s sins and misdeeds are listed, but the pinnacle of them is given: the raising of Samuel’s shade by a medium. Instead of asking the all-knowing God for guidance, he sought out an illegal witch in En-dor to speak with the dead prophet, who told him that he should have known better.

Most of this text is very similar to the end of 1 Samuel, with the addition of verses 13 and 14. This chapter is all about teeing up the best years of Israel’s history, the reign of King David. Saul was not allowed to establish a dynasty, and instead of his son or grandson taking his place, his son’s friend received the throne. The hope for the returned exiles is to emulate the faithfulness to the Lord that David displayed so that they may prosper in the land just as their fathers had at that time.

Kings and nations are just pieces on a board to You, subject to Your sovereign rule.

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