(Verses 1 through 4) And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon? Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, by the way. But David abode in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness. David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul was come in very deed.
Again the Ziphites come into the picture. We do not know whether Saul had continued to hunt for David after the incident in the cave near En-gedi, or whether the Ziphites were just trying to get the search started again. But, at any rate, they came to Saul at Gibeah, and told him that David was again hiding out on the hill Hachilah, and Saul immediately came with his three thousand chosen men to try to apprehend David. But David had spies that reported Saul’s whereabouts to him.
(Verses 5 through 12) And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched: and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of the host: and Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him. Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee. So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him. Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed, and be guiltless? David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; for his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish. The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go. So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen upon them.
Surely this needs no explanation. However it shows clearly David’s reverence for the LORD. David was never afraid to kill any one of his enemies in battle, or even to order them executed when the situation warranted such. But the fact that Saul was the one anointed of the LORD, king over Israel stopped him from killing him himself, or even permitting anyone else to do so. But since the LORD had laid upon Saul and his army a deep sleep, David did take, even from near Saul’s head, both his spear and his cruse of water. And with these, he and Abishai departed from the camp of the enemy.
(Verses 13 through 20) Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them: and David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answerest thou not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who art thou that criest to the king? And David said to Abner, Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord. This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the LORD liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the LORD’S anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster. And Saul knew David’s voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king. and he said, wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand? Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the LORD have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the LORD: for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the LORD, saying, Go, serve other gods. Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.
This is the second time the LORD has delivered Saul into David’s hands, and David has shown mercy to Saul, not because he considers Saul such an upright man, but because he is the one whom the LORD had Samuel anoint as king over Israel. So he stood on a hill some space from where Saul and his men were, and showed his proof that he had had opportunity to kill Saul, and would not do him any harm. So he taunted Abner who was the captain of the army unit Saul had with him, because he was not even awake when he and Abishai went into their camp, and took Saul’s spear and cruse of water. Abner had no answer for him. And when Saul answered, David asked him why he had come out after him. Then he told Saul that if the LORD had stirred him up to come after him, he was willing to make an offering to the LORD; but if men had caused this, let them be cursed before the LORD, since by their doing so they were attempting to drive him away from the LORD to serve other gods. And he besought the king to “let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD.”
(Verses 21 through 25) Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. And David answered and said, Behold the king’s spear! And let one of the young men come over to fetch it. The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the LORD delivered thee into my hand today, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed. And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation. Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
Saul confessed that he had sinned in trying to hunt down David to kill him, and that, in this instance in particular, he had acted as a fool in coming to hunt him down. He realized just how easily David could have killed him, had he been so inclined. Most likely it did not cause Saul to love David any better than he had, because he was still just as jealous of him as ever. But his last words to David were in the form of a blessing. He acknowledged that David would do great things, and would also prevail. Then David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
(Verses 1 through 4) And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand. And David arose, and he passed over with six hundred that were with him unto Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s wife. And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more for him.
Although Saul’s last words to David had been friendly enough, David did not trust him at all. So he decided that his best course of action was to escape the country, and go into the territory of the Philistines, so that Saul would give up hunting for him. So he and all his men took all their households with them, and went to Gath of the Philistines. Apparently, they were at that time on friendly terms with Achish the king of Gath. And he let them stay at Gath. When Saul heard that they had gone to Gath, he quit looking for them.
(Verses 5 through 7) And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee? Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day: whereas Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day. And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months.
After staying at Gath for a little while, David requested of Achish that he give him a little town out in the country away from the royal city. And Achish gave him the town of Ziklag. It is a little unclear whether verse 7 means that David only remained in the land of the Philistines for a year and four months in all, or that he was there that long before Achish gave him the town of Ziklag, since Ziklag remained in the hands of the kings of Judah permanently. And it may mean that he was there that long before he did what is recorded in the next verse.
(Verses 8 through 12)And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt. And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish. And Achish said, Whither have ye made a road today? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites. And David saved neither man nor woman alive to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us, saying, So did David, and so will be his manner all the while he dwelleth in the country of the Philistines. And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever.
There had always been war between the Israelites and the Philistines. And now that David was living in the lands of the Philistines, though he did not make war upon the Philistines themselves, he did make war upon their neighbors, the Geshurites, the Gezrites, and the Amalekites. And when he attacked one of their cities, he left none alive to tell the Philistines about him. Today, we frown very heavily upon genocide, but that was the prevailing practice of all the nations in that day. When David returned to Achish, Achish asked him where he had been raiding, and he told him that he had gone out against Judah, the Jerahmeelites, and the Kenites. Achish believed him, and thought that this would cause the people of Israel to hate him, and he would therefore have to stay with the Philistines, and would therefore be his servant always.
(Verses 1 through 6) And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men. And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever. Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and wizards, out of the land. And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
After the death of Samuel, Saul drove out of the land, or killed, all those who had familiar spirits, or were wizards.” (That is all who were necromancers or soothsayers,) Then the Philistines gathered their forces together to make war upon Israel; and, of course Saul gathered all the armies of Israel together to the battle. The Philistines were encamped in Shunem, while Israel was stationed in Gilboa. As Saul viewed the Philistine host, he became very much afraid, and to make matters worse, when he inquired of the LORD concerning the outcome of the war, the LORD did not answer him in any manner.
(Verses 7 through 14) Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at En-dor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off all those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.
After Saul found that the LORD was not going to give him any answer concerning the outcome of the war, he was in desperate straits, so he decided to go to a source that the LORD had forbidden Israel to ever use, even the very ones he had ordered cut off from the land of Israel, the necromancers. His servants told him of one of these who lived at En-dor. So he disguised himself, and went to her. She was very reluctant to exercise her powers because Saul had already sent forth an edict against all such as she was. He finally persuaded her to call up Samuel from the dead. And when the woman saw him, she was more afraid than ever, for she also was made to recognize that it was Saul with whom she was dealing. He calmed her fears concerning this, and promised that no harm would come to her for this matter. When she described to Saul the one she saw in this vision, he knew it was Samuel, and he bowed himself before him.
(Verses 15 through 20) And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. Then Saul fell straightway all along the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread that day, nor all that night.
Samuel asked Saul why he had disturbed his rest, and Saul told him that, since the Philistines had made war upon Israel, and he could get no answer at all from the LORD concerning what he should do, he had resorted to this action. Samuel rebuked him for coming to him for an answer since the LORD had turned from him, and had become his enemy. Then Samuel reminded him that he had formerly told him that the LORD had rejected him from being king of Israel, and that He would give it to Saul’s neighbour. And now He had done that which He had formerly declared. The kingdom had been given to David. So there was no need for Saul to even ask what he should do, because on the next day he and his sons, would all be dead, as was Samuel. Not only so, but for the present, the host of Israel would be delivered to the Philistines. This news was such a shock, that it, together with the fact that Saul had not eaten either that day, or that night, caused him to fall prostrate on the ground, with no strength at all. The experience of Saul ought to cause all of us to know that when the LORD refuses to give us an answer to any question, we are better off not to know the answer. So surely, we ought not try to get answers by such means as necromancers, and soothsayers. The LORD might let them give us an answer, but it will never be satisfactory.
(Verses 21 through 25) And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me. Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way. But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed. And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof; and she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.
Saul was so overwhelmed by what Samuel had told him, that he not only had no strength, but when the woman tried to persuade him to let her provide him something to eat, he refused. But she, with his servants finally persuaded him. And she prepared for him and his servants a meal, and they ate thereof. Then they arose, and went away during that night.
(Verses 1 through 5) Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites pitched by a fountain which is in Jezreel. And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands: but David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish. Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day? And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he should be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? Should it not be with the heads of these men? Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
David had kept his tracks very well covered so far as Achish was concerned. So when the Philistines were going to war against Israel, Achish wanted David to go with him. But the other princes of the Philistines did not trust David to fight against Israel. So they demanded that Achish send David and his men back to the city he had appointed them.
(Verses 6 through 11) Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the LORD liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the lords favour thee not. Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines. And David said unto Achish, But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not fight against the enemies of my lord the king? And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to battle. Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master’s servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart. So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, to return to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
When Achish told David that he and his men were to go back to their place, and not go with the Philistines to war against Israel, he put up a little argument against this treatment of himself and his men. But the next morning early they got up, and started their return, while the Philistines continued on up to Jezreel.
(Verses 1 and 2) And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; and had taken the women captives that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.
This was a very unpleasant situation that David and his men found when they reached home. But it was not an unusual occurrence for that day and time. Their city was completely destroyed, and their families had all been taken captive by the Amalekites.
(Verses 3 through 10) So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in his God. And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. And David inquired of the LORD, saying, shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And He answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor.
David and his men, when they reached Ziklag and found it burned, and all their families taken away as captives, were very much stricken with grief. But David, relying upon the LORD, revived enough that he called for Abiathar the priest to come to him with the ephod, and he inquired of the LORD as to whether or not they should go after those who had burned Ziklag. The Lord answered that they should go, and they would without fail recover all that the raiders had taken. so they all went as far as to the brook Besor. At that point two hundred of them were too tired to go further, so David and the other four hundred continued on.
(Verses 11 through 15) And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him, for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water for three days and three nights. And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick. We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire. And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company.
As they traveled along, they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David . After feeding him, and giving him water, they found his spirit much revived, for he had had neither food nor water for three days. After he had revived, David questioned him, and found that he was the servant of one of the Amalekites, but he had fallen sick three days before, and was abandoned by his master, with neither food nor water. He promised that if they would neither kill him nor turn him over to his master, he would lead them to the company of the Amalekites.
(Verses 16 through 20) And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all. And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David’s spoil.
So when David and his men caught up with the Amalekites, the Amalekites were having such a merry time with their eating, drinking, and dancing, that they were in very poor condition to fight. And David’s army started the battle about twilight on one evening, and continued the fight until the evening of the next day. They allowed only four hundred young men to get away, and killed all the remainder of the Amalekites. And they recovered all the captives that the Amalekites had taken from Ziklag, together with all the spoil they had taken from Ziklag, and the other places they had raided.
(Verses 21 through 25) And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them. Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them aught of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart. Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, Who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.
When David and his men arrived back at the brook where they had left the two hundred, some among those who had gone to the battle wanted to give to those who had had to stay at the brook only their wives and children, and keep all the spoils for themselves. But David declared that all should share alike. And he made that a permanent rule, not only for his present band, but even when he became king of Israel, he made it a statute for Israel that such it should always be.
(Verses 26 through 31) And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD; to them which were in Beth-el, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir, and to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa, and to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them that were in the cities of the Kenites, and to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chorashan, and to them which were in Athach, and to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David and his men were wont to haunt.
It seems that David was beginning to build up a political base for his claim to the kingdom. Of course, the LORD had had Samuel anoint him to be the king, and He could have brought that about with David doing nothing at all to move it along. But this move that David made with the spoil from this excursion certainly did not hurt the case. All these places mentioned here were in the area where David and his men had hidden themselves when Saul was hunting him to put him to death. And sending them these spoils showed that he appreciated the fact that these people had not betrayed him to Saul.
(Verses 1 through 6) Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons: and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul’s sons. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armour bearer Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armour bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Sauk took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armour bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armour bearer, and all his men, that same day together.
When the Philistines and the Israelites fought that day, the Philistines defeated the Israelites, in very fierce fighting. The fighting was so fierce that all three of Saul’s sons were killed. And the Israelites fled from before the Philistines. Even Saul himself was badly injured by the archers, so badly in fact, that he asked his armor bearer to kill him in order that the Philistines not be able to torture him before killing him. But his armor bearer was afraid to do this. Then Saul killed himself with his own sword: and when his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he killed himself with his own sword. So, Saul, his armor bearer, and all three of his sons died on the same day.
(Verses 6 through 10) And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa. And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people. And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan.
It was a very common practice in that day for the conquerors to go onto the field of battle after the fighting was over, and actually rob the dead, picking up anything of value that they could find. This was often very lucrative, because it was very common for the soldiers to wear much jewelry, such as golden chains, bracelets, and the like, even in battle. So, as the Philistines were thus engaged, they found the bodies of Saul and his sons. So they cut off Saul’s head, stripped off his armor, and sent messages all around among the Philistines to announce the fact that Saul was dead. They took Saul’s body, and those of his sons, and fastened them on the wall of Beth-shan, and put his armor in the house of Ashtaroth, one of their idols. This was considered as both a sacrifice to their god, and an insult to the LORD God of Israel.
(Verses 11 through 13) And when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul; all the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree in Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
The valiant men of Jabesh-gilead could not allow the insult the Philistines had placed upon Saul to stand, So they went at night, and took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, brought them back to Jabesh, burned them there, and buried their bones under a tree. Then they had a seven day fast, thereby showing their sorrow for their deaths.