Daily Tanach Shmuel 1 Chapter 31: Shaul and his son die in war

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

Chapter 31: Shaul and his son die in war

1.      The Jewish people lose the battle versus the Philistines:

  • The Philistines battled against the Jewish people and many corpses fell on the mountain of Gilboa.
  • Shaul’s sons are killed in battle: The Philistines had reached Shaul and his sons, and they killed Yehonason, Avinadav, and Malkishua who were the sons of Shaul.

1.      The death of Shaul:

  • Shaul is captured by the archers: The war effort was turning against Shaul [and in his war efforts] he was cornered by the archers and he became petrified from them.
  • Shaul and his weapon carrier kill themselves: Shaul turned to his weapon carrier and instructed him, “remove your sword and kill me lest these uncircumcised ones will kill me and torture me.” However, the weapon carrier did not desire to do so as he was very scared. So Shaul took the sword and threw himself upon it, killing himself.[1] The weapon carrier saw that Shaul had died and he too fell upon his sword and died together with him. Shaul, and his three sons, as well as his weapon carrier, as well as all of his men, died on that day together.
  • The Jewish people desert their cities: The Jewish people witnessed that the Jewish army had fled and that Shaul and his sons had died, so they all got up and ran away from their cities into which the Philistines settled in their place.
  • The Philistines showcase the head and body of Shaul and his sons: The next day, the Philistines arrived and began stripping all of the corpses, and they then found Shaul and his three sons fallen dead by the Gilboa Mountain. They cut off his head and removed his garments and weapons and trophied them around all the cities of the Philistines to show their people and their G-d. They placed the garments and weapons of Shaul in the house of Ashtoros, and his body was showcased by the wall of Beis Shan [hanging on a nail, and his head was placed in Beit Dagan].
  • The body of Shaul and his sons are captured and cremated: The residence of Yaveish Gilad heard of all that the Philistines had done to Shaul, and all of their soldiers got up and traveled throughout the night and captured the body of Shaul and the body of the sons from the wall of Beis Shan, and they brought it to Yaveisha and they cremated them there [i.e. their weapons and clothing and the flesh of their bodies[2], as it is permitted to burn the property of a king[3]]. They took the bones and buried them under the Eshel tree in Yaveisha and they fasted for seven days.

[1] See Radak and Ralbag and Metzudos Dovid on 31:5 that he did not fully die when he threw himself upon the sword and an Amalakite convert is the one who finished him off and killed him.

[2] See Radak and Metzdudos Dovid on 31:12

[3] Rashi 31:12

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