By Kyle Rapinchuk
The Chronicler focuses his attention throughout his work on the kings of Judah because it is through Judah that God will bring about the promised king, the Messiah (Gen 49; 2 Sam 7//1 Chr 17). Consequently, it’s not surprising that Saul gets so little attention. Yet even with only a short account of Saul’s death, the Chronicler highlights the Messianic theme in two ways. First, Saul’s armor-bearer will not life his hand to kill Saul, despite certain death and Saul’s command for him to do so, because Saul is still the LORD’s anointed. The concern of the armor-bearer is reminiscent of David’s concern in 1 Samuel. Despite being anointed by Samuel and having opportunity to kill Saul, David will not strike the LORD’s anointed.
Second, we see that despite Saul’s own cowardice and lack of value for his own life, the brave men who follow David risk their own lives to recover the dead body of Saul. Despite his unfaithfulness, he was still the LORD’s anointed, and these men honored that title though Saul was undeserving.
The reality, however, is that all of the kings to follow are undeserving. All of them fail. Even Solomon, Hezekiah, and Josiah. The reality is that each of these kings was a placeholder, meant as a temporary picture of what the king and his kingdom would be like, until the Anointed One, the true Messiah, would come.