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The Death of Saul and Jonathan

31 In the meantime, the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled from the Philistines and fell mortally wounded at Mount Gilboa. The Philistines were closing in on Saul and his sons. They struck down Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua, the sons of Saul. The attack directed at Saul was fierce. The archers targeted him and hit him, and he was seriously wounded.

Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through with it, so that these uncircumcised fellows cannot come and run me through and abuse me!”

But his armor bearer would not do it, because he was too afraid. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. So Saul died together with his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men, all on that same day.

When the men of Israel from the other side of the valley and those from 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. Then the Philistines came and lived in those cities.

On the next day, when the Philistines came to strip those who had been killed in the battle, they found Saul and his three sons fallen at Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head, stripped off his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to carry the good news to the temple of their idols and to the people. 10 They put his armor and weapons in the temple of the Ashtartes,[a] and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.

11 When the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the strong, courageous men set out, traveled all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons down from the wall of Beth Shan. They returned to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 They took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.


  1. 1 Samuel 31:10 Asherah was the principal female idol during the time of the Old Testament. The name is sometimes plural because Asherah was worshipped in many different forms. Ashtarte is sometimes substituted for Asherah. Although Asherah and Ashtarte may originally have been different goddesses, they seem to have been blended together with the passage of time.

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