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The Death of King Saul

10 Now the Philistines attacked Israel, and the men of Israel fled before them. Many were slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed three of his sons—Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua. The fighting grew very fierce around Saul, and the Philistine archers caught up with him and wounded him.

Saul groaned to his armor bearer, “Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to taunt and torture me.”

But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer realized that Saul was dead, he fell on his own sword and died. So Saul and his three sons died there together, bringing his dynasty to an end.

When all the Israelites in the Jezreel Valley saw that their army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. So the Philistines moved in and occupied their towns.

The next day, when the Philistines went out to strip the dead, they found the bodies of Saul and his sons on Mount Gilboa. So they stripped off Saul’s armor and cut off his head. Then they proclaimed the good news of Saul’s death before their idols and to the people throughout the land of Philistia. 10 They placed his armor in the temple of their gods, and they fastened his head to the temple of Dagon.

11 But when everyone in Jabesh-gilead heard about everything the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their mighty warriors brought the bodies of Saul and his sons back to Jabesh. Then they buried their bones beneath the great tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days.

13 So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord. He failed to obey the Lord’s command, and he even consulted a medium 14 instead of asking the Lord for guidance. So the Lord killed him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

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David Learns of Saul’s Death

After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag. On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s army camp. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect.

“Where have you come from?” David asked.

“I escaped from the Israelite camp,” the man replied.

“What happened?” David demanded. “Tell me how the battle went.”

The man replied, “Our entire army fled from the battle. Many of the men are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.”

“How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?” David demanded of the young man.

The man answered, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear with the enemy chariots and charioteers closing in on him. When he turned and saw me, he cried out for me to come to him. ‘How can I help?’ I asked him.

“He responded, ‘Who are you?’

“‘I am an Amalekite,’ I told him.

“Then he begged me, ‘Come over here and put me out of my misery, for I am in terrible pain and want to die.’

10 “So I killed him,” the Amalekite told David, “for I knew he couldn’t live. Then I took his crown and his armband, and I have brought them here to you, my lord.”

11 David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day.

13 Then David said to the young man who had brought the news, “Where are you from?”

And he replied, “I am a foreigner, an Amalekite, who lives in your land.”

14 “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?” David asked.

15 Then David said to one of his men, “Kill him!” So the man thrust his sword into the Amalekite and killed him. 16 “You have condemned yourself,” David said, “for you yourself confessed that you killed the Lord’s anointed one.”

David’s Song for Saul and Jonathan

17 Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, 18 and he commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in The Book of Jashar.[a]

19 Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!
    Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
20 Don’t announce the news in Gath,
    don’t proclaim it in the streets of Ashkelon,
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice
    and the pagans will laugh in triumph.

21 O mountains of Gilboa,
    let there be no dew or rain upon you,
    nor fruitful fields producing offerings of grain.[b]
For there the shield of the mighty heroes was defiled;
    the shield of Saul will no longer be anointed with oil.
22 The bow of Jonathan was powerful,
    and the sword of Saul did its mighty work.
They shed the blood of their enemies
    and pierced the bodies of mighty heroes.

23 How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan!
    They were together in life and in death.
They were swifter than eagles,
    stronger than lions.
24 O women of Israel, weep for Saul,
for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing,
    in garments decorated with gold.

25 Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle!
    Jonathan lies dead on the hills.
26 How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan!
    Oh, how much I loved you!
And your love for me was deep,
    deeper than the love of women!

27 Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
    Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.

Footnotes

  1. 1:18 Or The Book of the Upright.
  2. 1:21 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.

Lessons from Israel’s Idolatry

10 I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters,[a] about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.”[b] And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.

Nor should we put Christ[c] to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. 11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

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Footnotes

  1. 10:1 Greek brothers.
  2. 10:7 Exod 32:6.
  3. 10:9 Some manuscripts read the Lord.

Memorials to the Jordan Crossing

When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe. Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.’”

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”

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We will not hide these truths from our children;
    we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
    about his power and his mighty wonders.

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