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by the be spend the lasthat when Sauel tirew him
phesy in favour of Israel. However, as we cannot come to a certainty about it, let us read the story with humility of mind, and rest assured, that whether Sa. muel appeared or not, the whole transaction was ordered by the LORD, to awaken Saul to a sense of his sin, that he might spend the last hours of his life in repentance ; but though we read, that when Saul found there was no hopes of success remaining, he threw himself on the ground in agonies of distress, we do not find, that he expressed either sorrow or contrition for the crimes that had reduced him to this miserable state ;. he cer. tainly thought that Samuel had spoken to him ; we are therefore taught by his example, that if sinners are not to be reformed by the revealed will of God declared by Moses and the prophets, neither will they be converted if one comes to them from the dead. We should not be led from this account of Samuel to be fearful of ghosts, as no spirit can appear but by the miraculous power of God, which the present state of religion does not require to be exerted ; for this reason, we may be sure, that all the foolish stories of apparitions, that are told by superstitious people, have no foundation in truth, but are the product of a weak imagination ; never therefore « let us * give way to gloomy presages and terrors of mind, nor indulge a desire to pry into futu. rity; but fortify our souls against them, by securing the friendship and protection of that Being, who disposes of events and governs futurity. When we lie down to sleep, let us recommend ourselves to His care : when we awake, let us give ourselves up to His direc. rion. Amidst all the evils that threaten us, let us look up to Him for help, and doubt not but He will either
. avert them, or turn them to our advantage. Though we know neither the time nor manner of our death, nor what will befal us in this life, let us not be solicitous about i: ; because we may be sure that God knows all, for 'he views the whole of our existence, not only what is passed, but what is to come, and will not fail to comfort and support us on all occasions."
* Spectator, Vol. i. No, 7. . ,
THE BATTLE OF GILBOA-THE DEATH OF SAVI, AND
From 1 Samuel, Chap. xxxi.-1 Chron. Chap. x.
Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. · And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul.
And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was sore wounded of the archers..
Then said Saul to his armour-bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith ; lest these uncircumcised coe, and abuse me. But his armour. bearer would not ; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it: and when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword and died.
So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together.
· 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 Aed; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. . .,
And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Phi. listines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen in mount Gilboa.
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.
And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.
And when all Jabesh-gilead heard all that the Phi. listines had done to Saul, 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.
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 ;
And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse. See
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It seems * probable, that Saul was attacked in his camp soon after he returned from Endor; and that the Philistines might be encouraged to this attempt by some secret information of Saul's having stolen out the evena
* Delany's Life of King David.
ing before ; for had he attacked the Philistines, the battle would have been fought at Shunem, where they were encamped. - The practice of fighting with bows and arrows was not at that time in general use, and those amongst the Israelites, who were expert at it, had resorted to David : 80 that the Philistines, who had brought archers with them, had great advantage over the Israelites, because they were not prepared for this way of fighting, and being taken by surprize, their camp must have been in great confusion. . Saul's sons were very valiant, and without doubt used their utmost efforts to repel the enemy, but they were soon overpowered ; and perceiving that their father fed, might think it vain to make farther resistance; however, they died, as many heroes have done, by the hand of their foes, and brought no imputation on their courage ; but Saul, in his last act, shewed that cowardice which generally accompanies a guilty conscience ; for finding that his sons were dead, that the Philistines were in hot pursuit, and that he could no way escape, he resolved not to fall alive into their hands : this circumstance shews, that he had not a religious mind; otherwise, let his distress have been ever so great, he would not have incurred the guilt of self-murder. Saul slew himself to avoid being abused by the Philistines, but could not preserve his corpse from the indignities they offered to it. The men of Jabesh-gilead gratefully remembered the services he had performed for them against Nahash *, which made them hazard their lives to recover the bodies of him and his sons; to which they paid all the honour they could, by burning spices over them, and fasting seven days till evening ; this was a short mourning, and there
* See Section 72..
does not appear to have been a general lamentation ; perhaps,-the disturbance of the times would not admit of it. · If * this attack of the Philistines was encouraged by the intelligence of Saul's having stolen out of the camp, then his applying to the witch of Endor was the im. mediate cause of his destruction, and he died for his transgression, which he committed against the LORD, even the word of the Lord, which he kept not ; and also for asking one who had a fami iar spirit to enquire.
When Saul first ascended the throne of Israel, every circumstance seemed disposed for his having a happy reign, but it proved far otherwise ; his people were oppressed by his arbitrary proceedings, and he, though admired for his valour, was hated for his pride and arrogance, cut off by the Lord for disobedience to the divine commands, and tormented by an evil conscience, Thus does the LORD deal with all sinners according to their respective crimes and situations. Let us therefore resolve to follow the dictates of the Holy Spirit, which alone can govern and restrain the unruly pas. sions of men. Det
SAN AMALEKITE BRINGETH THE NEWS OF THE DEATH
OF SAUL AND JONATHAN TO DAVID :
. From 2 Samuel, Chap. i.
Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag : it came even to pass on the third day,"that behold, a man
* Delany's Life of King David.