1 Chronicles 10: The Inglorious Death of King Saul

(13 verses, 2:15 to read)


What I am about to READ

  • We’ve made it to the end of the genealogies, and the narrative begins with the death and humiliation of Saul.


  • Here’s the outline:
    • 1-7; Saul’s last stand, which also includes his request to his armor-bearer to kill him, and then his own suicide.
    • 8-12; The abuse of Saul’s body by the heathens, and the rescue and burial of the same.
    • 13-14; The explanation of Saul’s overthrow.
  • This is a gruesome chapter. Not only do we hear of the suicide, we see how the heathens tear apart his body as an offering to their idols. Notice verse 9: “And they stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to carry the good news to their idols and to the people.” Saul’s armor was displayed in the temple, and his decapitated head was brought into the temple of Dagon.
  • Here’s the Dagon information from Smith’s Bible Dictionary:

Dagon (a fish ), apparently the masculine, ( 1 Samuel 5:3 1 Samuel 5:4 ) correlative of Atargatis, was the national god of the Philistines. The most famous temples of Dagon were at Gaza, ( Judges 16:21-30 ) and Ashdod. ( 1 Samuel 5:5 1 Samuel 5:6 ; 1 Chronicles 10:10 ) The latter temple was destroyed by Jonathan in the Maccabaean wars. Traces of the worship of Dagon likewise appear in the names Caphar-dagon (near Jamnia) and Beth-dagon in Judah, ( Joshua 15:41 ) and Asher. ( Joshua 19:27 ) Dagon was represented with the face and hands of a man and the tail of a fish. ( 1 Samuel 5:5 ) The fish-like form was a natural emblem of fruitfulness, and as such was likely to be adopted by seafaring tribes in the representation of their gods.

  • The valiant people of Jabesh-gilead raid the temple, gather up the parts of Saul’s body, and bury him under the oak tree.
  • The Lord wants us to know the reason for Saul’s downfall, and lists them at the end of the chapter:
    • “his breach of faith…”
    • “broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD…”
    • “he consulted a medium, seeking guidance…”
    • “he did not seek guidance from the LORD…”


  • Prayer: O Lord, teach us Your Word and keep us in Your promises. Guard Your people from all the enemies of Your Word. Give us the treasures and promises of Your kingdom and grace. Amen.

Questions? Thoughts? Join the conversation in our facebook group here.

Lord’s Blessings,
Pr Bryan Wolfmueller
Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO


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