1 Chronicles Chapter 10 tells the story of King Saul’s death. It begins by describing a battle that the Philistines fight against the armies of Israel. The Philistines bested the Israelites, many of whom were slaughtered on Mount Gilboa.
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Saul’s Sons are Killed
The Philistines then take off after Saul the King of Israel and his sons. The Philistines kill three of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan. The battle around Saul’s position grows intense, and the archers wound him.
Saul Kills Himself
Saul is so desperate that he commands his armor bearer to kill him with his sword. He does not want to die at the hands of the Philistines, who will probably torture him or desecrate his body. But Saul’s armor bearer is too afraid to kill his king.
Saul then takes his sword and falls on it. When Saul’s armor bearer sees this, he also falls on his sword and also kills himself. The death of Saul and his sons destroys Saul’s lineage.
Philistines Loot the Towns
The Israelites who live in the valley hear that Saul and his sons are dead and the army has deserted. They flee from their towns and the Philistines come and take the towns over.
The Philistines find the bodies of Saul and his sons on Mount Gilboa the next day when they come to loot from the dead. The Philistines strip Saul’s body of its armor and send messengers to the Philistine lands to let them know that Saul is dead.
Saul’s armor is then displayed in a Philistine temple and his head placed in the temple dedicated to Dagon. The men of Jabesh Gilead then hear what has happened to Saul and his sons and they bring their bodies back to Jabesh. They bury them beneath a great tree and refuse to eat for seven days.
1 Chronicles 10 (King James Version)
1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.
2 And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul.
3 And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers.
4 Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.
5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died.
6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together.
7 And when all the men of Israel that were in the valley saw that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, then they forsook their cities, and fled: and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.
8 And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen in mount Gilboa.
9 And when they had stripped him, they took his head, and his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to carry tidings unto their idols, and to the people.
10 And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.
11 And when all Jabeshgilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul,
12 They arose, all the valiant men, and took away the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;
14 And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.