Jan. 27. Tragic End of Saul and His Sons

I Sam. 31:1-13; I Chron. 10:1-14

The Philistines fought against Saul and the men of Israel at Mount Gilboa. During the intense fighting, Saul’s sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchishua were killed. Saul was then severely wounded. In order that he not be captured and tortured by the Philistines, Saul ordered his armorbearer to end his life with his sword. He refused out of fear and after seeing Saul fall upon his own sword, the armorbearer killed himself. Saul and all of the men close to him died that day. The remainder of his army fled, leaving the land open for the Philistines to move in.

As a symbol of their victory, the Philistines beheaded the body of Saul, took his armor and fastened his body and his son’s bodies to the wall of Beth Shan. Saul’s armor was displayed in the temple of the Philistine idols.

Years earlier, Saul had liberated Jabesh Gilead. As a final act of respect and tribute, men from Jabesh Gilead came and removed their bodies. Due to the condition of the bodies they were burned and their bones buried “under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh.”