105 - Saul and His Sons Are Killed in Battle
April 15 - Nº 105 1 Samuel 31; 2 Samuel 1; 1 Chronicles 10
Despite the warning from the medium in Endor, the next morning Saul and three of his sons (including Jonathan) led the Israelites into battle against the Philistines. The fighting was intense. Many of the Israelites died, and others started to flee. All three of Saul’s sons were killed in the frenzied fighting, and a Philistine arrow wounded the king critically. Saul begged his armor-bearer to kill him with his sword so that the Philistines couldn’t capture and torture him. But his armor-bearer would not do it. So, Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When the armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell on his sword too, and died with him. A young Amalekite man happened to walk by the gory scene. He was probably there to loot items from the dead bodies. He immediately confiscated the crown from the dead king’s head and a royal band from his arm. When the Israelites who lived nearby saw that their army had been defeated, they abandoned their towns and fled. The Philistines immediately moved in and claimed everything as their own. The next day, the Philistines went back to the battlefield to plunder what they could from the dead soldiers. They found the bodies of Saul and his sons. They cut off Saul’s head then hung his body on the wall of a city named Beth Shan. His sons’ bodies were hung beside his. They sent his head and his armor back to Philistia and paraded it through their cities. Then they displayed it in the temple of their gods. The people from Jabesh heard what the Philistines had done to Saul and his sons. These were the same people that Saul had rescued from the Ammonites when he first became the king of Israel (see #89 - March 30). They sent their bravest men to Beth Shan to retrieve the bodies. That night they snuck in and recovered the bodies off the Philistine wall and brought them back to Jabesh. They buried them under a tamarisk tree and fasted for seven days to honor the king who had saved them. Three days after David and his men had returned to rebuild Ziklag (see #103 - April 13), a young man arrived with torn clothes and dust on his head. He fell on the ground in front of David and told him that King Saul and his son Jonathan had died. “How do you know they are dead?” David inquired. The young man showed David the crown. Then he told a lie. He made up a story hoping to gain favor with David for killing his enemy: “I was walking through the battlefield when I saw the king leaning on his spear. He yelled to me, ‘Come over here and kill me. I’m about to die!’ So, I did what he asked. Now I have brought the crown from his head and the royal band from his arm for you.” David ripped his clothes and cried. He and his men wept and fasted till evening for Saul, and for his son Jonathan, and for the nation of Israel. David then said to the young man who had brought the news. “You have admitted you are guilty of killing the man God anointed!” He turned to one of his men and said, “Pull your sword and kill this man.” David wrote a psalm mourning the deaths of Saul and his best friend Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:17-27).
Have you ever lied to make yourself sound better than you are so that you could get recognition you did not deserve? Any profit gained through lying is temporary and harmful to everyone involved. The young Amalekite man found this out the hard way!