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they that were on the other side Jordan, saw 10 And they put his armour in the house that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body and his sons were dead, they forsook the to the wall of Beth-shan. cities and fled; and the Philistines came and 11 | And when the inhabitants of Jabeshdwelt in them.
gilead heard of that which the Philistines 8 And it came to pass on the morrow, had done to Saul; when the Philistines came to strip the slain, 12 All the valiant men arose, and went that they found Saul and his three sons all night, and took the body of Saul and the fallen in mount Gilboa.
bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth9 And they cut off his head, and stripped shan, and came to Jabesh, and 'burnt them off his armour, and sent into the land of there. the Philistines round about, to publish it 13 And they took their bones, and buried in the house of their idols, and among the them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted people.
seven days. Or, concerning him.
7 Jer. 34, 5.
8 2 Sam. 2. 4.
Verse 4. “ Therefore Saul took a sword, and sell upon it.”—The account here given is very materially different from that which the Amalekite gives in the first chapter of the following book. The moral difference between the to accounts is however only the difference between two forms of suicide. The account of Josephus reconciles the tro statements by supposing that Saul claimed the assistance of the Amalekite, after having made an ineffectual attempt at self-destruction. But there remain other discrepancies which are not obviated by this explanation; and, upon the whole, the general impression is more probably correct in receiving the statement in the present chapter as the accurate account; and that the story told by the Amalekite was trumped up with the view of recommending himself to the favour of David. The plain account therefore is, that Saul, being wounded, and fearing the most grievous insults if he fell alive into the hands of the Philistines, chose rather to die by his own hand. This is one of the very sew instances of suicide which occur in the Scriptures. It is still a practice exceedingly rare among the Orientals, even in the most adverse circumstances of life, and with only prospects of death and misery before them. This appears to have been always the case in the East; the ancient history of which affords very few instances of self-murder, compared with that of the western nations—the study of which has, unhappily, rendered the modern mind but too familiar with the historical celebrity of, and false principles connected with, a crime by which men affected to dare and to be superior to the calamities from which they shrunk. Dr. Delaney, in his . History of David,' very properly contrasts the conduct of Saul, in this his last extremity, with that of Darius, who, when he sat in his tent
“ Deserted, in his utmost need,
By those his former bounty fed,” and every moment expecting his death, said to the few eunuchs who remained with him, after counselling them to Kaide for their own safety, “Wonder not that I do not with my own hand end my days; for I would such rather serish through another's crime than by my own." (Q. Curtius, 1. v., c. xii.)
3. “ His armourbearer... fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him."--The Jews think that this armourbearer *38 Doeg the Edomite, who was promoted to that office for his alacrity in obeying the king when commanded to slay the priests. They also think that the sword which Saul took was that of the armourbearer, and that the latter employed the same weapon, so that both Saul and Doeg died by the very weapon by which the priests of the Lord had been slain, by the order of the one and by the hand of the other. That the weapon with which Saul slew himself was that of the armourbearer, seems highly probable from the context; but we have no authority but this ancient tradition for supposing that the armourbearer was Doeg. 10. " They put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth."-See the notes on ch. vi. 5; and xxi. 9.
They fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan" and the bodies of his sons also, as appears by verse 12. Josephus understands that the bodies were gibbeted on crosses outside the walls; but others conceive, as the text seems to require that tbe bodies were fastened to, or suspended against the wall by nails or hooks. It was a custom among some ancient rations to punish criminals convicted of capital crimes, by throwing them from the wall, so that they should be caught by hooks which were inserted in the wall below, and by which they often hung for a long time in exquisite tortures. Very possibly the remains of these unhappy princes were fastened by such hooks to the wall of Beth-shan.
- Beth-shan.”—This place was known to the Greeks by the name of Nysa, and afterwards by that of Scythopolis from the Seythians, who, when they overran Western Asia, took this city and retained it in their possession as long as they continued in that region. It is known at present by the name of Bisan, which is merely a softened form of its apeient Hebrew name. It is situated about twelve miles to the south of the sea of Tiberias, and nearly two miles west of the Jordan. It was a place of such high repute among the Jews, that the Talmud says, that if the garden of Eden was in the land of Israel, Bethshan was its gate; and it is added, that its fruits were the sweetest in Israel. It remaned a place of considerable importance in the fourth century, according to Jerome; but at present its site is only marked by a miserable village in the midst of extensive ruins. Burckhardt describes Bisan as situated upon rising ground, on the west side of the valley of the Jordan, where the chain of mountains (Gilboa) declines considerably in Leight and presents merely elevated ground, quite open towards the west, and the mountains do not begin again till se hour's journey to the south. The ancient town was watered by a river now called Moiet Bisan, or, the water of Eigan, which flows in different branches towards the plain. The ruins of Scythopolis are of considerable extent, and the town built along the banks of the rivulet and in the valleys formed by its several branches, must have been nearly three miles in circuit. The only remains are large heaps of black hewn stones, many foundations of houses and fragnests of a few columns. In one of the valleys there is a large mound of earth, which appeared to Burckhardt to be artificial, and which was probably the site of a castle for the defence of the town. On the left bank of the stream there is a large khan, where the caravans repose that take the shortest route from Jerusalem to Damascus. The village Bisan contains seventy or eighty houses. Its inhabitants are in a miserable condition, from being exposed to the
depredations of the Bedouins, to whom they also pay a heavy tribute. Dr. Richardson also, who calls the place abominable sink of dirt and iniquity,” describes the village as “a collection of the most miserable hovels, containing about 200 inhabitants, and, in looking at their wretched accommodation, and a Bedoween encampment that was spread out in the valley, we were not surprised to hear that in these countries the dwellers in tents look on the dwellers in towns as an inferior class of beings.” He also says that his party found the weather hotter at Bisan than in any other part of Judæa. Masses of ejected lava lie scattered around the village, and the mountains have much the appearance of extinguished volcanoes. Captains Irby and Mangles found traces of the walls of the ancient fortress, on the hill mentioned by Burckhardt. They also discovered other remains, which appear to have escaped his researches, and which sufficiently attest the ancient importance of the place, when it was the largest city of the Decapolis, being also the only one west of the Jordan,
12, 13. “ Burnt them...and took their bones, and buried them.”This agrees with what was a common and honourable rite of sepulture among the nations of classical antiquity. This is the first time it is, as such, mentioned in Scripture, and from the Law we should certainly infer that it was considered ignominious by the Hebrews. Perhaps it was resorted to in the present instance to preserve the remains of Saul and his sons from any further inzult. This rite, however, ultimately became honourable among the Jews; and perhaps the present instance gave the first impulse to the change of opinion. (See the note on Jer. xxxiv. 5.) But after the Captivity the practice was discontinued, and the ancient aversion of the Hebrews to this rite revived with such vigour, that their learned men spent much ingenuity in proving that it never had existed among them.—The reader will not fail to mark the very proper feelings of the men of Jabesh gilead towards their deliverer after the lapse of so many years. With Jabesh the public history of Saul may be said to commence, and in Jabesh it terminates.
6 And the young man that told him said, 1 The Amalekite, who brought tidings of the over
As I happened by chance upon mount Gilthrou, and accused himself of Saul's death, is boa, behold, Saul leaned upon
spear; slain. 17 David lamenteth Saul and Jonathan and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed wiih a song.
hard after him.
7 And when he looked behind him, he O W it came saw me, and called unto me.
And I anto pass after swered, 'Here am I. the death of 8 And he said unto me, Who art thou ? Saul, when And I answered him, I am an Amalckite. David
was 9 He said unto me again, Stand, I pray returned
thee, upon me, and slay me: for 'anguish is from i the
come upon me, because my life is yet whole slaughter of in me. the Amalek- 10 So I stood upon him, and slew him, ites,
and because I was sure that he could not live David had after that he was fallen : and I took the abode two crown that was upon his head, and the days in Zik- bracelet that was on his arm, and have lag;
brought them hither unto my lord. 2 It came
11 Then David took hold on his clothes, even to pass and frent them; and likewise all the men
on the third that were with him : day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp 12 And they mourned, and wept, and from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonaupon his head: and so it was, when he came than his son, and for the people of the LORD, to David, that he fell to the earth, and did and for the house of Israel; because they obeisance.
were fallen by the sword. 3 And David said unto him, From whence 13 4 And David said unto the young comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of man that told him, Whence art thou ? And the camp of Israel am I escaped.
he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an 4 And David said unto him, 'How went Amalekite. the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he 14 And David said unto him, "How wast answered, That the people are fled from the thou not afraid to stretch forth thinc hand battle, and many of the people also are fallen to destroy the LORD's anointed ? and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son 15 And David called one of the young are dead also.
men, and said, Go near, and fall
him. 5 And David said unto the young man
And he smote him that he died. that told him, How knowest thou that Saul 16 And David said unto him, Thy blood and Jonathan his son be dead ?
be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testi* ] San. 30. 17. Heb. what was, &c
Or, my coat of mail, or, my embroidered coat hindereth me, that my, &e.
* Chap. 3. 31, and 13. 31. * Psal. 105. 15.
3 Heb. Behold me.
fied against thee, saying, I have slain the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan Lord's anointed.
turned not back, and the sword of Saul re17 And David lamented with this la- turned not empty. mentation over Saul and over Jonathan his 23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and son :
"Opleasant in their lives, and in their death 18 (Also he bade them teach the chile they were not divided : they were swifter dren of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it than eagles, they were stronger than is written 'in the book of Jasher.)
lions. 19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy 24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over high places : how are the mighty fallen! Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other
20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon the streets of Askelon ; lest the daughters of your apparel. the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of 25 How are the mighty fallen in the the uncircumcised triumph.
midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast 21 Ye mountains of Ĝilboa, let there be slain in thine high places. no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, 26 I am distressed for thee, my brother nor fields of offerings: for there the shield Jonathan : very pleasant hast thou been of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, of Saul, as though he had not been anointed passing the love of women. with oil.
27 How are the mighty fallen, and the 22 From the blood of the slain, from the weapons of war perished !
Verse 10. " The crown that was upon his head.”—This crown could, evidently, not have been a crown of state, but sue as was used in war, connected with the helmet. Reserving therefore some notice of ancient crowns for another oeca sion, we have only to say a few words on crowned helmets, in addition to what has already been stated in the note t 1 Sam. xvii., where the illustrative wood-cut exhibits several examples of such helmets. We now offer other specimen for distinct illustration. Those of the first two cuts are from the sculptures of ancient Persia, and are very complet
From A Persian SCUI.PTURE ON THE FACE OF THE Rock ar TackT-I-Bostan. of their kind. The most ancient crowns were merely fillets or metallic bands, fastened round the head ; and in war such diadems were fixed to the lower part of the helmet to denote the regal dignity of the wearer. Whatever form the TOFA or head-dress of state received in later times, its adaptation to the helmet was on a similar principle. It was circlet, more or less enriched, and in various figures, surrounding the different kinds of helmet. It seems, however. that when the proper crown or cap of state was high, its height was often diminished, in this adaptation,
for the sake of catrenience. In one of the figures of the first cut we see the fillet or band, surrounding a scull-cap. In the other, the diadem which surrounds and strengthens the war-cap, is such an adaptation of the cylindrical cap of state as we mentioned in the Note on Helmets. In this
, the Auted cylinder is shortened, and widened at the top. It has a plain surface, is from the top cut to half its depth, and approaches to the ancient Oriental rayed form of the crown, which we se repeated, with some variation, in the right-hand figure of the second cut. This last, under sundry modifications, seems to be the most common form of the crowned helmets which the Persian sculptures exhibit
. In some instances the circlet is more acutely rayed than in those which we have given. It is evident that in most of the instances in which the metallic diadem rises above the top of the head, that alone, even without the enclosed or surrounded cap s belmet, forms a very good defence for the head. Instances are therefore not wanting in which, so far as we can éscover
, the diadem alone defends the head, and is so constructed as to afford it very sufficient protection. These I might call “ crown helmets” as distinguished from “ crowned helmets.” Of the former, the figures
f, h, i, in the cut tol sam. xvii
. seem to be examples. of which kind was the crown of Saul, it is difficult to determine, since both a To helmet, and a crowned helmet may be called “crowns” with nearly equal propriety. Among other illustrations , the fig. g in the cut referred to, representing a highly enriched helmet or war-cap may be pointed out as having