After the battle, Saul was missing. Nobody knew where he was.
Among Israel’s people, there was great fear that, perhaps, Saul was dead. Israel’s people had known no other king; Saul had led their nation and its army for about 40 years.
In the camp of Philistia’s soldiers, there was excitement in the hope that, perhaps, they had at last killed Saul. For those 40 years, he had been their constant enemy. Saul had led more battles against Philistia than anyone could count.
After a successful battle, the soldiers from the winning side would take away all the valuable things from the dead bodies.
You might consider this an awful task but, in fact, soldiers were pleased to do it. They could keep those objects as a reward for their efforts during the battle. Every soldier hoped to take home clothes, a knife, a sword or some other precious object.
To at least one soldier, Philistia’s rulers would have promised a special reward. It was for the soldier who found Saul’s body. It was very important for them to know whether Saul really was dead.
That soldier found the body on one of the hills at Gilboa. The body had several injuries. The objects that showed Saul’s royal rank were missing; a robber had already taken them (2 Samuel 1:10). However, it was still possible to recognise Saul from his armour (the special clothes that protected his body). Armour was expensive; an ordinary soldier would be unable to afford it. Various precious things, for example the king’s sword, were probably near the body. Saul’s age would also help them to identify the body; not many old men could fight in a battle.
Soon the fact became clear: Saul really was dead.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.