Bible ourhomewithgodcomHere is another forbidden Bible passage — the type you seldom hear in church anymore.  Not only is this one probably forbidden — it’s pretty forbidding, too.  Today’s reading comes from the King James Version.

Past forbidden passages have featured Psalm 12, Psalm 15, Romans 1:16-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-14.

1 Chronicles 10:1-14

 1Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.

 2And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul.

 3And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers.

 4Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

 5And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died.

 6So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together.

 7And when all the men of Israel that were in the valley saw that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, then they forsook their cities, and fled: and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

 8And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen in mount Gilboa.

 9And when they had stripped him, they took his head, and his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to carry tidings unto their idols, and to the people.

 10And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.

 11And when all Jabeshgilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul,

 12They arose, all the valiant men, and took away the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

 13So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;

 14And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.

 

When men are in a position of leadership, such as Saul, they have a responsibility to obey God’s laws and commands.  This story of Saul’s final moments is a cautionary tale. 

Leaders, like Saul, are not the only ones to suffer when they disobey God.  They also put at risk the lives of their people, as we see in verse 1.  It wasn’t that the Israelites were blameless in the run-up to this war, but God was particularly displeased with Saul.  And it was his sin that counted most.

Note in verses 2 and 3, that the Philistines are in the thick of battle against the Israelites.  They kill Saul’s sons, Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchishua. Then Saul himself is wounded. 

In verse 4, Saul asks his armourbearer to kill him to avoid further injury by ‘these uncircumcised’ — non-Jews.  As his armourbearer is too frightened to obey his master’s command, Saul kills himself — ‘falls on his sword’. 

Verse 6 notes that Saul and his lineage are now finished.  His other family members are alive, although there would be no further descendants through the male line. 

In verse 7, the Israelites discover that Saul and his sons are dead.  They flee and the Philistines take over the land.  Rejoicing, the Philistines gather Saul’s armour and his head and show it to their people and their idols.  Meanwhile, a few brave Israelites quickly remove Saul’s body and those of his sons to bury reverently.  In accordance with Jewish law, they fast. 

Saul died because of his earlier rebellion against God, which also cost him his lineage. He did not obey God’s command sincerely or completely (stay tuned for next week’s post). Neither did he ask for His help reverently.  Therefore, through the war against Philistines, God saw fit to end Saul’s life through suicide.  And that is how the kingdom of David began.  

We, too, must remember to praise God, to worship Him, to give sincere thanks for the many blessings He bestows upon us.  We must never forget God in our daily lives, or we, too, may end up going the way of Saul.  To put it more positively, if we stay true to God and the commandments that He and Jesus established for us, we stand to inherit the eternal Kingdom. 

Find out more about Saul next Sunday and why God was angry.
To read more about this week’s passage, click here and here.