Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 14

Saulís family and government

1 Samuel 14:49-51

The official record of Saulís rule continues with an account of his family.

Unlike the kings who ruled Israel after him, Saul did not have many wives or a large family. You may wish to compare him with David in 2 Samuel 3:2-5 and 2 Samuel 5:13-16; and Solomon in 1 Kings 11:1-3. It was the custom for a great king to build a palace and to have many wives.

We have no record that Saul was responsible for the construction of any important buildings. The reason was probably the same as why he did not marry many wives. Saul used all his time and energy for war. He had no time for any other activity. There were constant wars during Saulís rule.

So it does not surprise us that the principal official in Saulís government was Abner, who led the army. Later kings had much larger governments with many important officials (see 2 Samuel 8:15-18 and 1 Kings 4:1-6).

Saulís first son, Jonathan, died at the same time as Saul. We read about Jonathan often in the Book of 1 Samuel. He was a brave soldier, a good friend of David, and a man who truly served God.

After Saulís death, his second son Ishvi ruled most of Israel for two years. You can read about his rule in 2 Samuel chapters 2 to 4, where he is called Ish-Bosheth.

It was Abner who appointed Ish-Bosheth to rule. However, Abner did not remain loyal to Ish-Bosheth. You can read about these events and about Abnerís death in 2 Samuel chapters 2 and 3. After Abnerís death, King David described Abner as Ďa prince and a great maní (2 Samuel 3:38).

Later in the Bible, we read about some more members of Saulís family. Saul married a concubine (a secondary wife of lower rank) called Rizpah (2 Samuel 3:7). He had two sons by her, who were called Armoni and Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 21:8). Saul also had a son called Abinadab (31:2); we do not know who his mother was. Perhaps these sons do not appear in the list in 1 Samuel 14:50 because they were born later.

Next part: Constant wars between Israel and Philistia (1 Samuel 14:52)


Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 450 page course book.


© 2014, Keith Simons.