December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- As they pressed their attack on Israel, with the Israelites fleeing before them and falling mortally wounded on Mount Gilboa,
- the Philistines pursued Saul and his sons closely, and slew Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, sons of Saul.
- The battle raged around Saul, and the archers hit him; he was pierced through the abdomen.
- Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, lest these uncircumcised come and make sport of me." But his armor-bearer, badly frightened, refused to do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.
- 1 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell upon his sword and died with him.
- Thus Saul, his three sons, and his armor-bearer died together on that same day.
- When the Israelites on the slope of the valley and those along the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they too abandoned their cities and fled. Then the Philistines came and lived in those cities.
- The day after the battle the Philistines came to strip the slain, and found Saul and his three sons lying on Mount Gilboa.
- They cut off Saul's head and stripped him of his armor, and then sent the good news throughout the land of the Philistines to their idols and to the people.
- They put his armor in the temple of Astarte, but impaled his body on the wall of Bethshan.
- When the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul,
- 2 all their warriors set out, and after marching throughout the night, removed the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and brought them to Jabesh, where they cremated them.
- Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted for seven days.
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1  This report of the suicidal act of Saul is presented as a part of his downfall, to be judged accordingly.
2  Cremated them: cremation was not normally practiced in Israel, though it was known in the country from pre-Israelite times.
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