The writer of Chronicles tells us, “Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord” (1 Chronicles 10:13). Does that imply that if Saul had been faithful, he would have lived forever? No, the point is that Saul could have enjoyed the victory and blessings due an honorable king of Israel and thus he would have died in peace. Instead, the idolatrous Philistines kill his sons, and Saul commits suicide rather than being taken and executed. All of this happens that God might take the kingdom away from wicked Saul and give David the throne.

Chronicles will tell a repetitive story of leaders ruling and dying, one that we should have some familiarity with at this juncture. The reason this story is repetitive is because human sin, rebellion, and wickedness go on and on and on. The names may change and the details vary, but the temptation towards disloyalty to God remains the same, as do its consequences. Every time they read about a king that rises up like Saul, the post-exilic Jewish readers are receiving a warning. In the midst of the repetition, remember that this is our story, too. Let it cause us to humbly seek God’s protection from the evil practices of leaders and generations that have gone before us.