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the rest, Jonas served to dis
They gave up dismay on their r by the Philishe carnage the rd upon Saul.
aim was too y wounded by and mortified and of a Phile called upon
" Draw thy t me through sed come and ne.” But the ar from comnot be so prehis sovereign, him to do it. lternative, and and. He took
armor-bearer, ind falling upe marked with de! He lived sions. He died
and driven to armor-bearer
Saul and his army are defeated. He kills himself. The
men of Jabesh-Gilead remove the bodies of Saui and his sons from Beth-shan, and bury the bones at Jabesh.
There is reason to believe, that it was during the night of the eighth day from David's departure from the army of the Philistines at Aphek, that Saul went to En-dor. This furnishes the proper length of time, to have intervened between that movement of David and his return to Ziklag after the victory over the Amalekites.
Saul, on reaching the camp, must have watched the approach of the morning light with the most fearful forebodings. Exhausted with fatigue and the loss of sleep, overwhelmed with anxiety, and anticipating the speedy and terrible fulfilment of the prophet's denunciation, he was poorly prepared for the attack which the Philistines were now meditating upon him. As the day dawned, their troops began to be in motion, and were soon prepared for the onset. The Israelites, too, were marshalled to receive them. The conflict began. It was a severe one. Feats of personal bravery were conspicuous on both sides. But the tide of victory soon turned in favor of the Philistines. Saul and his They were pursued by the enemy, and vast num
arıny fled. bers of them slain; and among the rest, Jonathan and his two brothers. This served to dishearten the Israelites the more. They gave up all for lost. A scene of universal dismay on their part, and of still greater slaughter by the Philistines, ensued. In the midst of the carnage the archers of the enemy pressed hard upon Saul. They marked their victim. Their aim was too successful, and he was grievously wounded by their arrows. Despairing of life, and mortified at the thought of falling by the hand of a Philistine, in the agony of despair he called upon his armor-bearer to despatch him. "Draw thy sword,” he exclaimed, "and thrust me through therewith ; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me." But the armor-bearer shrunk back with fear from complying with the request. He dared not be so presumptuous as to take the life of his sovereign, even when the latter commanded him to do it.
Saul felt that there was no alternative, and that he must perish by his own hand. He took the sword, as some think, of the armor-bearer, or as is more probable, his own, and falling upon it, expired. Sad close of a life marked with transgression, and ended by suicide! He lived the slave of violent and sinful passions. He died as the fool dieth.
Struck with horror at the sight, and driven to the madness of desperation, the armor-bearer followed the example of Saul, and falling likewise upon his own sword, put an end to his life.
"So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men,” (his principal officers, and those who were immediately about his person,) and, as we are told in another place, (1 Chron. 10:6.) "all his house,” (every branch of his family that followed him to the war,) " that same day together.” He had reigned over Israel forty years.
The rout of the army of the Israelites, with the death of Saul and his sons, threw the whole surrounding country into consternation; and the inhabitants dwelling near the Jordan, on both sides of the river, fleeing in all directions, abandoned the cities belonging to them, which were immediately taken possession of by the Philistines.
The day after the battle the conquerors came to obtain what valuable booty they could from the bodies of those who had fallen in the field; and to increase the joy of their triumph, they found the king of Israel and his three sons among the slain. In the spirit of barbarous exultation, stripping Saul of his armor, and severing his head from his body, they sent it round into all parts of their land, to have it exhibited in the temples of their idols, as a trophy of their victory, and to publish the news of their success to their countrymen. It was placed, at last, in the temple of Dagon, and his armor in that of
Ashtaroth. His body, and the bodies of his sons, they fastened, probably by means of iron hooks, *to the walls of Beth-shan. This was a city of the Philistines, more generally known by the name of Scythopolis, seventy-five miles north of Jerusalem, and fifteen or twenty miles south of the lake of Tiberias, on the west of the Jordan.
On the east side of this river, in the half tribe of Manasseh, some fifteen or twenty miles from Beth-shan, was the city of Jabesh-Gilead, belonging to the Israelites, at the foot of the mountains of Gilead. Its inhabitants, it will be recollected, were rescued by Saul, at the commencement of his reign, from Nahash, the king of the Ammo nites, and saved from the deep degradation which was about to be inflicted upon them by that cruel tyrant. They remembered this timely succor with the liveliest gratitude, and, when they heard of the insult which had been offered to the bodies of Saul and of his sons, were filled with indignation at the authors of it. They resolved to wipe off this disgrace, and to pay the last tribute of regard to the remains of their late monarch and his offspring. A band of their most valiant men, taking advantage of the dark. ness of the night, marched to Beth-shan, and succeeded in bringing back with them the dead bodies.
It was now too late to embalm and bury them according to the usual custom.