April 5 – Saul and His Sons Die


  • 1 Sam. 28:4-7,3,8-25; 31:1-13
  • 1 Chron. 10:13-14
  • 2 Sam. 4:4; 1:1-27


The Philistines assembled a huge army to attack the Israelites at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army, he was greatly afraid—he was terrified. He asked GOD for advice and GOD did not answer him. So Saul went to see a medium (a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to be able to contact the living). This was against GOD’s law but Saul was desperate and didn’t know where to turn now that GOD had stopped answering.

The medium called up Samuel’s spirit from the grave.

Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” And Saul answered, “I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do.” Then Samuel said: “So why do you ask me, seeing the LORD has departed from you and has become your enemy? And the LORD has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.” Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day or all night.
(1 Sam. 28:15-20 NKJV)

The next day, Saul and his three sons including Jonathan, died in battle with the Philistines. Saul was wounded in battle and he told his armor-bearer to kill him so the Philistines wouldn’t get the opportunity, but he would not do it, so Saul stabbed himself with his sword. An Amalekite who had been imprisoned in the Israelite camp passed by and Saul convinced him to kill him. Afterward, this Amalekite fled to David where he told David what happened. David killed the Amalekite because he killed “the LORD’s anointed”—something David had vowed not to do himself. David wrote the following lament concerning Saul and Jonathan:

“The beauty of Israel is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen!
Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon—
Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
“O mountains of Gilboa, Let there be no dew nor rain upon you,
Nor fields of offerings. For the shield of the mighty is cast away there!
The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, From the fat of the mighty,
The bow of Jonathan did not turn back, And the sword of Saul did not return empty.
“Saul and Jonathan were beloved and pleasant in their lives, And in their death they were not divided;
They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions.
“O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you in scarlet, with luxury;
Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.
“How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan was slain in your high places.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me;
Your love to me was wonderful, Surpassing the love of women.
“How the mighty have fallen, And the weapons of war perished!”

(2 Sam. 1:19-27 NKJV)


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