The Philistines went to war against Israel; the Israelites ran for their lives from the Philistines but fell, slaughtered on Mount Gilboa.
The Philistines zeroed in on Saul and his sons and killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua.
The battle went hard against Saul - the archers found him and wounded him.
Saul said to his armor bearer, "Draw your sword and finish me off before these pagan pigs get to me and make a sport of my body." But his armor bearer, restrained by both reverence and fear, wouldn't do it.
The armor bearer, panicked because Saul was dead, then killed himself.
So Saul and his three sons - all four the same day - died.
When all the Israelites in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and ran off; the Philistines came and moved in.
The next day the Philistines came to plunder the dead bodies and found Saul and his sons dead on Mount Gilboa.
They stripped Saul, removed his head and his armor, and put them on exhibit throughout Philistia, reporting the victory news to their idols and the people.
Then they put Saul's armor on display in the temple of their gods and placed his skull as a trophy in the temple of their god Dagon.
The people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul.
All of their fighting men went into action - retrieved the bodies of Saul and his sons and brought them to Jabesh, gave them a dignified burial under the oak at Jabesh, and mourned their deaths for seven days.
Saul died in disobedience, disobedient to God. He didn't obey God's words. Instead of praying, he went to a witch to seek guidance.
Because he didn't go to God for help, God took his life and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)