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1 Samuel 31

Saul and his sons die

1 The Philistines fought against the Israelites. Many Israelites died on the mountain of Gilboa. The Israelites ran away and the Philistines killed many of them. 2 The Philistines ran after Saul and his sons. They killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchishua. 3 The Philistines fought very strongly against Saul. Their men with bows shot their arrows at Saul and they nearly killed him. 4 Saul spoke to the officer who carried his armour. Saul said, ‘Kill me with your sword. I do not want those men that nobody has circumcised to make me ashamed. And I do not want them to kill me.’ The officer was afraid. He would not do it. So, Saul took his own sword and he fell on the sharp end. 5 The officer saw that Saul was dead. So, the officer fell on the sharp end of his sword and he died with Saul. 6 So Saul, three of his sons and the officer who carried his armour all died together that day.

7 Israelites lived in the Jezreel valley and across the river Jordan. They saw that the Israelite army had run away. Then people told them that Saul and his sons were dead. So these Israelites left their towns and they ran away. Then the Philistines came and they lived there.

8 The next day, the Philistines came to take all the valuable things from the dead soldiers. They found the dead bodies of Saul and his three sons on the mountain of Gilboa. 9 They cut off Saul's head and they took off his armour. Then they sent men through all the country of the Philistines with the news. These men took the message into the temples of their idols and to the Philistine people. 10 They put Saul's armour in the temple of the female god called Ashtoreth. Then they hung Saul's dead body on the wall of Beth-shan.

31:10Beth-shan was a town about 13 kilometres (8 miles) east of the mountain of Gilboa in the valley of Jezreel (1 Samuel 29:1).

11 Some Israelites were in the town called Jabesh Gilead. People told them what the Philistines had done to Saul. 12 So the brave men from Jabesh Gilead marched all night until they arrived at Beth-shan. They took the dead bodies of Saul and his sons off the wall of the town. Then they brought the dead bodies to Jabesh Gilead and they burned them. 13 Then they took the bones and they buried them under a large tree at Jabesh Gilead. The men did not eat any food for 7 days after that.

31:13The town of Jabesh Gilead was about 16 kilometres (10 miles) south east of Beth-shan, on the other side of the river Jordan.