1 Chronicles

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1 Chronicles 10 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on 1 Chronicles 10 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.

2 And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul.

3 And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers.

4 Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

(10:4, 14) How did Saul die?

5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died.

6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together.

You should read for “all his house,” all of his house that were with him in this battle. That's his three sons. Isboseth wasn't with him, see 2 Sam. 2. Also Mefiboseth, Jonathan's son, did not die.
Suppossedly Chronicles was written by Ezra, hundreds of years after the events he describes. This was not a minor detail, but an important and well-known part of the history. David didn't immediately become king over all of Israel, but reigned together with another Son of Saul for seven years.

7 And when all the men of Israel that were in the valley saw that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, then they forsook their cities, and fled: and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

8 And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen in mount Gilboa.

9 And when they had stripped him, they took his head, and his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to carry tidings unto their idols, and to the people.

10 And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.

11 And when all Jabesh-gilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul,

12 They arose, all the valiant men, and took away the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;

(10:13-14) Saul died for refusing God's order to kill all of the Amalekites (15:2-3, 18-19) and for consulting a witch (1 Sam.28:8-19).
Did Saul inquire of the Lord?
Asking the one who had the familiar spirit is what is referred to in the next verse as “enquired not of the Lord.” The Lord did not answer him, because of his previous sins. Upon perceiving this Saul turned to the devil.

14 And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.

See also the previous verse for the meaning of “enquired not of the Lord.” When the Lord did not answer, Saul sought an answer by the the devil. He is not slain for not receiving an answer from the Lord, but for seeking the answer by the devil.
The SAB author also asks how Saul did die. In this verse it is acknowledged that it is The almighty God who governs everything. Even when Saul killed himself, see verse 4 (verse 4). It was ultimately the Lord who withdraw his grace from Saul and let him choose his own path: he gave him over to his own ways. That is the meaning of “he slew him.”