1 Samuel 31:1-13

Saul and his sons die in the battle

1 The Philistines fought against the Israelites. The Israelites ran away, and the Philistines killed many of them on Gilboa mountain. 2 The Philistines chased after Saul and his sons to catch them. They killed Saul's sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua.

3 The Philistines were fighting the battle all around Saul. Some of their soldiers saw Saul and they shot their arrows at him. The arrows hurt Saul very much and he was nearly dead. 4 He said to the young man who carried his armour, ‘Kill me now with your sword. I do not want these foreign men to be cruel to me as they kill me.’ But the young man would not agree to kill Saul because he was too afraid. So Saul took his own sword and he threw himself on to it so that he died. 5 The young man saw that Saul was dead. So he threw himself on to his own sword and he also died.

6 So, Saul died there, with his three sons. The young man who carried Saul's armour and all Saul's men died too.

7 The Israelites who lived in the Jezreel valley and on the other side of the Jordan river saw what happened. They saw that the Israelite army had run away from the Philistines. They saw that Saul and his sons were dead. So they left their towns and they ran away. Then the Philistines came to live in those towns.

8 The day after the battle, 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 Gilboa mountain. 9 They cut off Saul's head and they removed his armour. Then they sent men through all the country of the Philistines with the news of Saul's death. These men told the news everywhere that the Philistine people lived and in the temples of their idols. 10 They put Saul's armour in the temple of their god Ashtoreth. Then they hung Saul's dead body on the wall of Beth Shan town.

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

11 The Israelites who lived in Jabesh Gilead heard about what the Philistines had done to Saul's body. 12 So all their brave soldiers left Jabesh Gilead and they marched all night to Beth Shan. They removed the dead bodies of Saul and his sons from the town's wall. Then they took them to Jabesh Gilead. They burned the dead bodies there. 13 Then they took the bones and they buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh Gilead. The men did not eat any food for seven days because they were so sad.

31:11The town of Jabesh Gilead was about 16 kilometres (10 miles) south east of Beth Shan, on the other side of the Jordan river.