1 Samuel 31 – “The Philistine War; Saul’s Suicide and Burial”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Saul’s army is routed by the Philistines. His sons are killed and he commits suicide. The Philistines desecrate Saul’s body, but the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead eventually bury his remains.

II. Photo
Saul’s remains are interred: “Then they took the bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days.” (v. 13)

III. Important Verses
3-6: The battle raged around Saul, and some of the archers hit him, and he was severely wounded by the archers. Saul said to his arms-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, so that the uncircumcised may not run me through and make sport of me.” But his arms-bearer, in his great awe, refused; whereupon Saul grasped the sword and fell upon it.  When his arms-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. Thus Saul and his three sons and his arms-bearer, as well as all his men, died together on that day.
8-10: The next day the Philistines came to strip the slain, and they found Saul and his three sons lying on Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head and stripped him of his armor, and they sent them throughout the land of the Philistines, to spread the news in the temples of their idols and among the people. They placed his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they impaled his body on the wall of Beth-shan.
11-13. When the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard about it — what the Philistines had done to Saul — all their stalwart men set out and marched all night; they removed the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth-shan and came to Jabesh and burned them there. Then they took the bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days.

IV. Outline
1. The Israelites flee
2. Saul’s sons are killed
3-6. Saul commits suicide
7. The Philistines occupy the Israelite towns
8-10. The Philistines desecrate Saul’s body; They offer his armor to Ashtaroth
11-13. The men of Jabesh-gilead burn Sauls body and bury his bones

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Campbell, Antony F. “1 Samuel” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 7 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2003).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Klein, Ralph W. “1 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 10 (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1983).
Photo taken from http://uaadoption.com/images/gift-card_tree-field.jpg