10 They put his armor in the house of the Ashtaroth; and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.
*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.
In the house of Ashtaroth - This was doubtless the famous temple of Venus in Askelon mentioned by Herodotus as the most ancient of all her temples. Hence, the special mention of Askelon 2-Samuel 1:20. The placing Saul's armour as a trophy in the temple of Ashtaroth was a counterpart to the placing Goliath's sword in the tabernacle 1-Samuel 21:9. In 1-Chronicles 10:10 it is added that they "fastened Saul's head in the temple of Dagon," probably either in Gaza Judges 16:21, or in Ashdod 1-Samuel 5:1-3. This was, perhaps, in retaliation for the similar treatment of Goliath's head 1-Samuel 17:54. The variations seem to imply that both this narrative and that in 1-Chronicles 10:1-14 are compiled from a common and a fuller document.
They put his armor in the house of Ashtaroth - As David had done in placing the sword of Goliath in the tabernacle. We have already seen that it was common for the conquerors to consecrate armor and spoils taken in war, to those who were the objects of religious worship.
They fastened his body to the wall - Probably by means of iron hooks; but it is said, 2-Samuel 21:12, that these bodies were fastened in the Street of Beth-shan. This may mean that the place where they were fastened to the wall was the main street or entrance into the city.
And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth,.... A temple dedicated to their deities, called by this name; of which See Gill on Judges 2:13; Nothing was more common with the Gentiles than to place in their temples the arms they took from their enemies, as is strongly expressed by Homer (i) and Virgil (k); and indeed the Jews did the same, as appears by the sword of Goliath being laid up in the tabernacle, 1-Samuel 21:9. Here also the Heathens (l) hung up their own arms when the war was ended:
and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan; which Josephus (m) says is the same which in his time was called Scythopolis, from the Scythians that possessed it, before called Nysa, according to Pliny (n): it was given to the tribe of Manasseh, but they could not drive out the inhabitants of it, so that it was always in the possession of others, Joshua 17:11; where it is called Bethshean; to the wall of the city they fastened the body of Saul with nails, as it is commonly understood; but it is more likely they hung it on a gibbet without, and near the walls of the city; so the Targum, they hung his body; or, as Josephus (o), they crucified it there; and so they did also the bodies of his sons, as appears from 1-Samuel 31:12.
(i) , Iliad. 7. ver. 83. (k) "Multaque praeterea sacris in postibus arma", &c. Aeneid. 7. ver. 183. So Persius, Satyr. 6. ver. 45. (l) Messal. Corvin. de August. Progen. (m) Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 6. c. 14.) l. 8. (n) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 18. Vid. Solin. Polyhistor. c. 49. (o) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 6. c. 14. l. 8.)
to the wall-- (2-Samuel 21:12) --"the street" of Beth-shan. The street was called from the temple which stood in it. And they had to go along it to the wall of the city (see Joshua 17:11).
*More commentary available at chapter level.