Here, I. From the triumph of the Philistines over the body of Saul we may learn, 1. That the greater dignity men are advanced to the greater disgrace they are in danger of falling into. Saul’s dead body, because he was king, was abused more than any other of the slain. Advancement makes men a mark for malice. 2. That, if we give not to God the glory of our successes, even the Philistines will rise up in judgment against us and condemn us; for, when they had obtained a victory over Saul, they sent tidings to their idols—poor idols, that knew not what was done a few miles off till the tidings were brought to them, nor then either! They also put Saul’s armour in the house of their gods, 1 Chron. 10:10. Shall Dagon have so honourable a share in their triumphs and the true and living God be forgotten in ours?
II. From the triumph of the men of Jabesh-Gilead in the rescue of the bodies of Saul and his sons we learn that there is a respect due to the remains of the deceased, especially of deceased princes. We are not to enquire concerning the eternal state; that must be left to God: but we must treat the dead body as those who remember it has been united to an immortal soul and must be so again.
III. From the triumphs of divine Justice in the ruin of Saul we may learn, 1. That the sin of sinners will certainly find them out, sooner or later: Saul died for his transgression. 2. That no man’s greatness can exempt him from the judgments of God. 3. Disobedience is a killing thing. Saul died for not keeping the word of the Lord, by which he was ordered to destroy the Amalekites. 4. Consulting with witches is a sin that fills the measure of iniquity as soon as any thing. Saul enquired of one that had a familiar spirit, and enquired not of the Lord, therefore he slew him, 1 Chron. 10:13, 14. Saul slew himself, and yet it is said, God slew him. What is done by wicked hands is yet done by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Those that abandon themselves to the devil shall be abandoned to him; so shall their doom be. It is said (1 Sam. 28:6) that Saul did enquire of the Lord and he answered him not: but here it is said, Saul did not enquire of God; for he did not till he was brought to the last extremity, and then it was too late.