The Book of 1 Samuel ends with an account of how the inhabitants of Jabesh in Gilead rescued Saulís body. They did it as an extraordinary act of love.
At the start of his rule, Saul had rescued Jabesh from the cruelty of King Nahash (11:1-11). It was one of the best and most noble acts that Saul ever carried out. The inhabitants of Jabesh did not forget it; they continued to be grateful to him.
Across the whole of Israel, news of Saulís terrible death made people sad and afraid. Everyone heard how cruelly the army of Philistia had dealt with Saulís body. However, only in Jabesh did the inhabitants decide to act. They could not allow Saulís enemies to deal with his body in such a shameful manner. Instead, they decided to rescue the body and to bury it in an honourable manner in their own town.
It was a very dangerous thing to do; the men who did it were very brave. Philistiaís army still controlled Beth Shan, where the body was. So Jabeshís men went by night.
They brought back the bodies of Saul and his sons. They chose a proper place for the graves. Then they buried the bodies with great honour. Afterwards, they refused food for 7 days to express how deeply sad they were. Saul, whom they loved, was dead.
Originally, the Books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel were one book. So, the author did not end his book here. He continued with his account of Davidís rule as king. If you have studied the whole of 1 Samuel, I recommend you to read the first few chapters of 2 Samuel now. However, for the present time, we will end our studies of 1 Samuel here.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.