1 Samuel 31:12

12 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.

1 Samuel 31:12 Meaning and Commentary

1 Samuel 31:12

All the valiant men arose
Of the city of Jabeshgilead, fired with indignation at the Philistines' ill usage of Saul and the bodies of his sons:

and went all night;
not only for secrecy, but for haste:

and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of
Bethshan, and came to Jabesh;
brought them with them thither, the Philistines either having no knowledge of it, or not daring to oppose them:

and burnt them there:
that is, the flesh of them, for the bones they buried, as in ( 1 Samuel 31:13 ) ; and this they did, contrary to the common usage of the country, which was not to burn; but this they did, that if the Philistines should come to recover them, they would not be able to do it: though the Targum is,

``they burnt over them, as they burn over their kings there;''

they made a burning for them of spices over them; or of their beds, and other household goods, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe, though they prefer the other sense; see ( 2 Chronicles 16:14 ) ( 21:19 ) perhaps the true reason might be, because they were putrid and infectious.

1 Samuel 31:12 In-Context

10 They displayed his armor in the shrine of the Ashtoreth. They nailed his corpse to the wall at Beth Shan.
11 The people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul.
12 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.
13 They then buried the bones under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted in mourning for seven days.