1 Samuel 31:7
(7) On the other side of the valley.--The words "on the other side of the valley" denote the country opposite to the battle-field in the valley of Jezreel, on which the writer supposes himself to be standing, the land occupied especially by the tribes of Issachar, Zabulon, and Napthali. The expression "on the other side of Jordan," is the usual phrase for the country east of the River Jordan. It is highly probable that the alarm caused by the great defeat of their king caused many of the dwellers in the smaller cities and villages to the east of Jordan hastily to abandon their houses rather than be exposed to the insolence and demands of the invading army. Still the Philistine army in this direction could not have penetrated very far, as shortly after Gilboa we hear of Abner rallying the friends of the house of Saul round the Prince Ishbosheth, whom he proclaimed king at Mahanaim, a town some twenty miles east of the river. The country to the south of the plain of Jezreel does not appear to have been overrun by the victorious army. The presence of David in that part no doubt insured its immunity from invasion.

Verse 7. - The men of Israel. The term is here applied to non-combatants, while in ver. 1 it meant those following Saul in arms. On the other side of the valley. I.e. of Jezreel, and so all the Israelites inhabiting the tribes of Issachar, Zabulon, and Naphthali, and the region generally to the north. In 1 Chronicles 10:7 this flight is confined to the inhabitants of the valley, one of the most fertile districts of Palestine; but probably the statement made here, that a very large extent of country was the prize of victory, is the more correct. On the other side Jordan. This phrase constantly means the eastern side of the Jordan, nor need we doubt but that the people living near it abandoned their homes and fled; for the river would form but a slight protection for them in this northerly part of its course. Still the conquests on the eastern bank of the Jordan must have been confined to a small district near the lake of Tiberias, as Abner was able to place Ishbosheth as king at Mahanaim, a town about twenty miles to the east of the river, and not far from Jabez-Gilead. South of Jezreel the Philistines made no conquests, and thus Ephraim, Benjamin, and Judah remained free, and of course Gilead, and the most part of the region beyond Jordan (see 2 Samuel 2:8-11). MALTREATMENT OF THE BODIES OF SAUL AND HIS SONS (vers. 8-10).

31:1-7 We cannot judge of the spiritual or eternal state of any by the manner of their death; for in that, there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked. Saul, when sorely wounded, and unable to resist or to flee, expressed no concern about his never-dying soul; but only desired that the Philistines might not insult over him, or put him to pain, and he became his own murderer. As it is the grand deceit of the devil, to persuade sinners, under great difficulties, to fly to this last act of desperation, it is well to fortify the mind against it, by a serious consideration of its sinfulness before God, and its miserable consequences in society. But our security is not in ourselves. Let us seek protection from Him who keepeth Israel. Let us watch and pray; and take unto us the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.And which the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley,.... The valley of Jezreel; of which See Gill on Hosea 1:5,

and they that were on the other side Jordan; or rather "on that side"; for the phrase will bear to be rendered either way, and so may mean that side of Jordan on which the battle was fought; for as for the other side, or that beyond it, the Israelites there could not be in such fear of the Philistines, nor do we ever read of their inhabiting any cities there; though as the phrase is used of the valley, as well as of the river, it may be rendered "about the valley, and about Jordan" (g), and so describes such that dwelt near to each of them:

saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead; that is, had information and intelligence of those facts, for it is not to be supposed they saw them with their eyes:

they forsook, the cities, and fled; fearing they should be put to the sword, or carried captive:

and the Philistines came and dwelt them; having nothing more to do than to come and take possession.

(g) "circa convellem illiam--circa Jordanem", Junius & Tremellius, Picator; so Noldius, p. 295. No. 936.

1 Samuel 31:6
Top of Page
Top of Page