1 Meanwhile the Philistines had attacked Israel, and the Israelite army ran away from them, and many were killed on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines chased down Saul and his sons, killing Saul's sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. 3 The fighting became very intense around Saul, and the arrows of the Philistine archers found their target, wounding Saul very badly.
4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Take your sword and kill me, or these heathen* “Heathen”: literally, “uncircumcised.” men will come and kill and torture me!”
But the armor-bearer didn't want to do it because he was too afraid. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his own sword and died with him. 6 Saul, his three sons, his armor-bearer, and all the men with him, died the same day.
7 When the Israelites who lived along the valley and those on the other side of the Jordan realized that the Israelite army had run away, and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their cities and they also ran away. So the Philistines came and took them over.
8 The next day, when the Philistines went to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons lying on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off Saul's head, stripped him of his armor, and sent messengers throughout the country of the Philistines to announce the news in the temples of their idols and to their people. 10 They placed his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and nailed his body to the town wall of Beth-shan.
11 However, when the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their strong warriors set out, traveled all night, and took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth-shan. When they got back to Jabesh, they burned the bodies there. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted for seven days.
*31:4 “Heathen”: literally, “uncircumcised.”