Defeat and Death of Saul and His Sons

Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from them and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines followed closely after Saul and his sons and overtook them, and the Philistines killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. The battle became heavy against Saul, and the archers found him; and he was [mortally] wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised [Philistines] will come and abuse and humiliate me.” But his armor bearer would not, for he was terrified. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died. So Saul died with his three sons and all those of his house died together.

When all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that the army had fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled; and the Philistines came and lived in them.

It came about the next day, when the Philistines came to strip (plunder) the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. So they stripped Saul and took his head and his armor and sent messengers around the land of the Philistines to bring the good news to their [a]idols and to the people. 10 They put Saul’s armor in the house of their gods and nailed up his head in the house (temple) of Dagon.

Jabesh-gilead’s Tribute to Saul

11 When all Jabesh-gilead heard about everything that the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the brave men arose, took away the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons and brought them to Jabesh, and they buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh; then they fasted seven days.(A)

13 So Saul died for his [b]trespass which he committed against the Lord, for his failure to keep the word of the Lord; and also because he consulted a medium [regarding a spirit of the dead], to inquire of her, 14 and did not inquire of the Lord [instead]. Therefore the Lord killed him and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.(B)


  1. 1 Chronicles 10:9 It is ironic that they felt the need to inform their false gods of what had happened.
  2. 1 Chronicles 10:13 Saul’s failure to obey God and to destroy King Agag and the Amalekites is told in 1 Sam 15.

Cross references

  1. 1 Chronicles 10:12 : 1 Sam 31:12
  2. 1 Chronicles 10:14 : 1 Sam 28:6