1 Samuel 31
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Saul and His Sons Slain

1Now the Philistines fought against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before them and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and they killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, Saul’s sons. 3The battle went heavily against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was severely wounded by the archers. 4Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised [Philistines] will come and pierce me through and abuse and mock me.” But his armor bearer would not, because he was terrified [of doing such a thing]. So [a]Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him. 6So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men died together on that day.

7When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley [of Jezreel], and those who were beyond the Jordan, saw that the other men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled; then the Philistines came and lived in them.

8The next day, when the Philistines came to plunder the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9So they cut off Saul’s head and stripped off his weapons and armor and sent them throughout the land of the Philistines, to bring the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10And they put Saul’s weapons and armor in the temple of the Ashtaroth (female goddesses), and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11When the [b]inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12all the brave men stood and walked all night, and they took the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and cremated them there. 13They took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted [as a sign of mourning and respect] for seven days.

[a] 4 In 2 Sam 1:10, an Amalekite claims to have killed Saul.
[b] 11 Saul had rescued Jabesh-gilead from the attack led by Nahash the Ammonite (ch 11). This act of kindness was a thoughtful expression of their profound gratitude.

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