The Philistines made war on Israel. The men of Israel were in full retreat from the Philistines, falling left and right, wounded on Mount Gilboa.
The Philistines caught up with Saul and his sons. They killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua, Saul's sons.
The battle was hot and heavy around Saul. The archers got his range and wounded him badly.
Saul said to his weapon bearer, "Draw your sword and put me out of my misery, lest these pagan pigs come and make a game out of killing me."
When the weapon bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.
So Saul, his three sons, and his weapon bearer - the men closest to him - died together that day.
When the Israelites in the valley opposite and those on the other side of the Jordan saw that their army was in full retreat and that Saul and his sons were dead, they left their cities and ran for their lives. The Philistines moved in and occupied the sites.
The next day, when the Philistines came to rob the dead, they found Saul and his three sons dead on Mount Gilboa.
They cut off Saul's head and stripped off his armor. Then they spread the good news all through Philistine country in the shrines of their idols and among the people.
They displayed his armor in the shrine of the Ashtoreth. They nailed his corpse to the wall at Beth Shan.
The people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul.
Their valiant men sprang into action. They traveled all night, took the corpses of Saul and his three sons from the wall at Beth Shan, and carried them back to Jabesh and burned off the flesh.
They then buried the bones under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted in mourning for seven days.
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)