1 Samuel 31

1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines overtook Saul and on his sons; and the Philistines killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. 3 The battle went hard against Saul, and the archers overtook him; and he was greatly distressed by reason of the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me!” But his armor bearer would not; for he was terrified. Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell on it. 5 When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he likewise fell on his sword, and died with him. 6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor bearer, and all his men, that same day together. 7 When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley, and those who were beyond the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled; and the Philistines came and lived in them. 8 On the next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off his head, stripped off his armor, and sent into the land of the Philistines all around, to carry the news to the house of their idols, and to the people. 10 They put his armor in the house of the Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan. 11 When the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose, went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth Shan; and they came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. 13 They took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

We cannot judge of the spiritual or eternal state of any by the manner of their death; for in that, there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked. Saul, when sorely wounded, and unable to resist or to flee, expressed no concern about his never-dying soul; but only desired that the Philistines might not insult over him, or put him to pain, and he became his own murderer. As it is the grand deceit of the devil, to persuade sinners, under great difficulties, to fly to this last act of desperation, it is well to fortify the mind against it, by a serious consideration of its sinfulness before God, and its miserable consequences in society. But our security is not in ourselves. Let us seek protection from Him who keepeth Israel. Let us watch and pray; and take unto us the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Verses 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.

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