The design of Ezra, in these books of the Chronicles, was to preserve the records of the house of David, which, though much sunk and lessened in a common eye by the captivity, yet grew more and more illustrious in the eyes of those that lived by faith by the nearer approach of the Son of David. And therefore he repeats, not the history of Saul's reign, but only of his death, by which way was made for David to the throne. In this chapter we have,
I. The fatal rout which the Philistines gave to Saul's army, and the fatal stroke which he gave himself, #1Ch 10:1-7.
II. The Philistines' triumph therein, #1Ch 10:8-10.
III. The respect which the men of Jabesh Gilead showed the royal corpse, #1Ch 10:11,12.
IV. The reason of Saul's rejection, #1Ch 10:13,14. (MH)
V. 1, in 1 Samuel29, the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek to fight against Israel. At this time, David was hiding from Saul among the Philistines, from where he led raids into Philistine held land while telling Achish, the prince of the Philistines, that he was raiding into Israel. Achish believed David, so he took him to the Philistines to help in the Philistine war against Israel. However, the other princes of the Philistines did not trust David, and told Achish to send David home, which he did.
When David returned, he found that Ziklag had been attacked, burned and all the people and valuables had been carried away by the Amalekites. David and his men pursued and found the Amalekites, recovering everything, including his two wives. David recovered more spoil than they had lost from Ziklag, which he shared with the elders of Judah.
1 Chronicles 10:1 (1 Samuel 31), meanwhile, the Philistines fought against Israel, and prevailed. Saul's sons, Johathan, Abinadab and Malchishua, the sons of Saul were killed, and Saul was wounded. After failing to persuade his armourbearer to kill him to keep the Philistines from finding him alive, Saul killed himself. Then his armourbearer killed himself.
V. 6, all the house of Saul was killed, thus preventing any competition for the throne from Saul's family when the Lord brought David to Israel. (See my note in 11:1-3.) David's marriage to Michael, Saul's daughter, gave him the physical right to the throne.
V. 9, the Philistines took Saul's head and armour to the house of their gods, so their idols would know of Israel's defeat. Obviously, if they were gods, they would already know.
I think the Lord placed things like this in His Word to show the foolishness of the false gods.
Vv. 13, 14, the Lord slew Saul for his transgressions against the Lord, including asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, and for not seeking counsel of the Lord. The Lord Himself moved and used Israel's enemy, the Philistines, to accomplish His purpose, His judgement against Israel's and Saul's sins. He used the Philistines to turn the kingdom over to David.
Saul had acted against the word of the Lord. It may take awhile, but those who transgress God's word will die; God will have His vengeance.
13. Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lordin having spared the king of the Amalekites and taken the flocks of the people as spoils [#1Sa 15:9], as well as in having consulted a pythoness [#1Sa 28:7]. Both of these acts were great sinsthe first as a violation of God's express and positive command [#1Sa 15:3], and the second as contrary to a well-known statute of the kingdom (#Le 19:31). (JFB)
Familiar spirit the lady was a necromancer - one who evokes the dead, or the spirit of a dead one.
1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
I believe it is an interesting observation that not long ago, we were hearing of those who worked in the stock market visiting fortune tellers and necromancers. Since then, the market has gone bust. No doubt there is a connection.
The enemy thought their victory was because their gods were stronger. However, they won because of Saul's disobedience to the Lord. The same today. The ungodly believe they are "winning" because their way is better. The real reason for their power is because God's people refuse to serve him with all their hearts.
V. 14, the Lord slew Saul, though Saul fell on his own sword, v. 13.