So far, the author, Ezra, has given us the general genealogies from Adam to David to the exile. Then the narrow genealogies of 10 of the 12 tribes. Then a detailed genealogy of Saul.
Now we begin with the death of Saul leading to the anointing of David.
Death of Saul
Ryrie foot notes points out that Chapter 10 is parallel to I Samuel 31.
The Philistines were winning the battle, struck down Saul's three sons, including Jonathan, and are closely pursing Saul. He was wounded by the archers. Saul wanted his armor bearer to kill him to prevent falling into the hands of the Philistines alive and being abused. But he refused; so Saul fell on his own sword. His armor bearer then fell on his sword.
This led to all of the people of the valley fleeing and the Philistines living in those cities.
The Philistines found Saul's body and took his head and armor and carried them away for display before the people and their idols.
The valiant men of Jabesh-gilead, who felt they owed Saul for sparing them on an earlier occasion, bravely came and took what was left of Saul;s body and the bodies of his sons and buried them and fasted for 7 days.
Reasons for Saul's Death
Ezra plainly states the reasons that Saul dies in verses 13 and 14.
- his trespass which he committed against the Lord
- because of the Word of the Lord, which he did not keep
- he asked counsel of a medium
- making inquiry of it
- and did not inquire of the Lord
"Therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom to David, son of Jesse.
God gave the general Law that the kings were to follow, and He gave Samuel specific requirements to pass along to Saul. Saul disobeyed.
Then Saul became so desperate when he could not longer hear from God that he sought out a medium.
It's interesting that God counted against him separately the inquiring of a medium and not inquiring of Him. Those are separate sins.
And it is interesting because Saul had been inquiring of God; but God wasn't answering. So, at first glance, it looks a little unfair to hold that against him. However, he was inquiring of God in his time of trouble and expecting an answer, and expecting to be saved, I'm sure. But that's not inquiring of God; that's demanding of God. You speak to me, even though I've done none of the things You require.
You can't ignore God, disobey God, and disrespect God by consulting spirits and then expect God to comply. He's not like us. He's Jehovah God. He's not a man made idol. We don't carry Him around and run Him with oil when we want to feel better. He is Elohim. He made us.
The real tragedy of Saul's sins is that they are actually common and pedestrian. Maybe they don't happen in the dramatic backdrop of war with a king; but we all ignore His Word at times. We all make our own way sometimes and then expect Him to do our bidding to get us out. And when God doesn't do what we think He should...we often turn to our idols for assistance-forgoing the answer God had for us.
Saul is so pathetic and so clearly in the wrong most of the time. It's easy to dismiss him as such a loser. But if I honestly gaze in the mirror for more than a moment; I see him in me. Fussing. Fighting. Wanting. Demanding. Refusing.
And once again, I fall on my face before the Lord and thank Him that I live in the time after the cross. Where unearned and undeserved grace abounds and the Holy Spirit dwells inside me--renewing my mind and cleansing my heart. Amen.