1 Samuel 31

1 Samuel 31 has the Philistines fighting Israel again.  And they were whipping up on them to the point that the Israelites fled but were caught and slain.  Saul’s sons were struck down and Saul himself was “badly wounded by the archers”.  He knows his time is short so he asks his armor-bearer to kill him.  But the armor-bearer was afraid and wouldn’t do it.  So Saul took his own sword and fell on it.  Saul dies that day along with his servant to also killed himself.

It was a bad day for Saul and his family.  He died, along with his sons.  “Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together”.  This was a complete victory for the Philistines and they made a big deal out of it.  The Philistines came back the next day and cut off Saul’s head and stripped his body of the armor he was wearing and they took it to their temple of Ashtaroth and displayed it there, “fastened his body to the wall”.  It is a big deal.

When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those beyond the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled”.  This was a huge loss for the Israelites and they recognized that their lives were at risk, so they ran.  But when they heard what had happened to Saul’s body, and how the Philistines had made a mockery of it, a few men took exception.

The valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there”.  In spite of their fear, they took the action of retrieving Saul and his son’s bodies so they could no longer be made a mockery.  And to assure it didn’t happen again, they burned them after retrieving the bodies.  Then they buried the bones and fasted in mourning.  The kingdom is changing as the leader is now gone.

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