Saul’s Tragic End (1 Samuel 31, I Chronicles 10:1 – 14, 2 Samuel 1:1-16)

As the Philistines fought against Israel, they began to prevail, and Israel was slain on Mount Gilboa.  They began to concentrate their efforts on capturing Saul, and killed three of his sons.  They hit Saul with arrows, and he ordered his armorbearer to thrust him through with his sword, so the Philistines would not abuse him prior to his death.  The armorbearer was afraid to do so, so Saul fell on a sword, and the armorbearer did so as well.  When the Israelites saw that Saul had fallen, they fled the area, and the Philistines took over their cities.  They found Saul’s body, stripped him of his armor, cut off his head, and fastened his body to a city wall in Beth Shan.  They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths.  The inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead rose by night and took the bodies of Saul and his sons to Jabesh and burned them.  They buried their bones under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh and fasted seven days.

When David returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, he heard of Saul’s demise from an Amalekite who claimed that he killed Saul after he was mortally wounded.  David tore his clothes and mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and all who had fallen in Israel.  David revisited the actions of the Amalekite, and sent one of his young men to kill him for touching and killing the Lord’s anointed.

It is a powerful thing that David mourned the very man that was seeking to kill him.  He was a gracious man, and understood the need of honoring the anointed of God, even after God had judged him.  It is very important to honor and respect those over you in the Lord. Today’s norms do not allow for individuals to be honored when they have fallen short.  In a social media environment, nothing is hidden and very little is forgiven.  However, God said that He put leaders over us for our good, and that He elevates and brings down. Respect your leaders, even if that means respecting them enough to discuss your concerns with that individual.  However, do not seek to depose or annihilate them with others. Mourn those who fall; don’t dance on their grave!

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