1 Chronicles 10: Saul's Death

1 Chronicles version of 1 Samuel 31 & 2 Samuel 1, discussing how Saul died.


We're only given a single chapter on Saul by the chronicler, who spends most of his time talking about David. It is interesting to me because this is a typical pattern found in most cultures. Leaders who disappoint us are not spoken of as often as those who carry significant impact or are loved. By the time the chronicler was born, Saul would have been just a tiny speck in history. Although he was the first king of Israel, he hadn't been very remarkable and it was David's line that inherited the throne. Although the chronicler does not go into great detail about Saul, we are given two important confirmations in this chapter.

How Did Saul Die?

Many people complain that the account of Saul's death is a contradiction. In 1 Samuel 31 we are told that Saul killed himself, but in 2 Samuel 1, an Amalekite tells David he killed Saul. People often forget that 1 and 2 Samuel are actually the same book, and the two passages were likely written by the same author. Which means the person likely knew and meant to give two different accounts. The important distinction is that in the first account we are being told what happened, but in the second, a man is telling his version of the story. This man isn't the first man to lie. Since David and Saul were are odds, the man probably thought if David believed he had killed Saul, he would gain favor. 1 Chronicles 10 confirms that Saul killed himself, further supporting the theory that the Amalekite man was lying to David.


The Chronicler only gives enough information on Saul to explain why Saul was condemned as king. We see him condemned for consulting a familiar spirit and for not abiding in God's law. Despite these transgressions, the Israelites still rescued his body to give him a proper burial. This should remind us that no matter how a person choses to live their life, we have a duty to treat humans with dignity in both life and death.



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