The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what 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 they came to Jabesh and burned them there. And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.
Comment: The Philistines had their day of triumph; Israel was humiliated by the actions of the enemy but showed great courage to honour their dead royal family. Funeral practices are different from place to place and time to time but here we see the way that Israel farewelled their dead.
That is the end of the book of the book of 1 Samuel. It is hardly a theological treatise – it is historical and full of stories. Certainly we can learn a lot from the stories. The historicity places the New Testament story of Jesus in time and space. And if we looked carefully we should have seen the leading, guiding Hand of God over it all!
Prayer: Help us to learn well what You seek to teach us, O Lord.