Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 31

Philistiaís army show their disgust for Saul

1 Samuel 31:9-10

1 Samuel 25:1 describes the kind of funeral that Saul would have wanted. At Samuelís funeral the whole nation gathered to express how sad they were. They placed his body in a grave in his own town. Everyone acted in a manner that respected his greatness as a holy man and a former leader of the nation.

However, it was Saulís enemies, the army of Philistia, who found Saulís body. They wanted to express the complete disgust that they felt for him.

So first, they cut off his head. They put his head into the house of their false god called Dagon (1 Chronicles 10:10). They stripped off his armour (the strong clothes that protected his body in battle). They put that armour in the house of another of their false gods, Ashtoreth. Ashtoreth was a female sex god. They probably wanted to express the idea that their gods had defeated Saul.

They considered that their success in battle came from their gods. So, they declared Saulís death in their temples (the houses of their false gods), as well as in the towns. They wanted both their gods and their people to be very happy when they heard this news.

At the same time, they wanted to upset Israelís people and make them ashamed. So they hung Saulís body in public, on the wall of Beth Shan. Beth Shan was one of the towns in central Israel that Philistiaís army took after the battle (31:7).

That was an awful thing to do, because the wild birds called vultures would come to eat from the body. As we can see from 1 Samuel 31:12, Philistiaís army did the same thing to the bodies of Saulís sons. They had died, like him, during the battle (31:2).

Next part: The inhabitants of Jabesh rescue Saulís body (1 Samuel 31:11-13)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.