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The Battle of Mount Gilboa was a battles that occured during the last year of king Saul. It is considered significant because of the series of events that transpired.


The LORD's message through the Medium[]

After the Philistines has mustered their forces at Aphek and advanced to Shunem in the Jezreel Valley, the Israelites encamped near Jezreel[1]. Saul trembled greatly in fear, instead of strengthening himself in God. Although he enquired of God, and his prophets, he did not answer[2]. He then commanded his servant to send him a woman that is a medium. They found a woman in En-dor with the occupation[3]. Then Saul disguised himself and put on another raiment with his men, ignoring the fact that he has brought a curse upon himself.

Saul asks the woman to enquire the spirit of whom he shall asks[4]. The woman aware of the punishment of the law, asks for her life to be spared, Saul pronounces an oath not to take her life[5], Saul’s oath in the name of the LORD reminds us that spiritual jargon means nothing. Then he asks the medium for the spirit of Samuel, when she saw Samuel she cried out in a loud voice, and realized that the man was Saul in fact[6].

Saul calmed the woman and ask of what she saw, and the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth,” (The Hebrew word translated by “spirit” in the New King James Version is actually the Hebrew word elohim - literally "gods", which commonly used that word of one person; or after the language and custom of the heathens.) Saul perceived Samuel, though not visible to them, but a real appearance[7]. God allowed this strange appearance of Samuel because it accomplished two things. It re-confirmed the coming judgment upon King Saul in a dramatic way, and it taught the medium a powerful lesson about the danger of her occult craft.

Then Samuel said, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up? Saul's reply that he was in distress, "the Philistines make war against me, God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore." Saul then revealed why he called for Samuel: that you may reveal to me what I should do[8]. "Why do you ask me, seeing the LORD has departed from you and has become your enemy?" Said Samuel, Samuel was on the LORD’s side, so if the LORD wouldn’t tell Saul what he wanted, he didn’t have any reason to believe that Samuel would tell him. Perhaps Saul kept seeking, hoping that the news would get better, but it never did[9].

"For the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day." Samuel explains that his rejection of God went he did not obey him in the killing of the Amalekites, torn his kingdom away from him, and given to David[10]. “Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.” Saul learned from Samuel that he would die the next day[11].

Fulfilment of God's Judgement[]

When the Philistines fought against Israel, the men of Israel fled to mount Gilboa, perceived no glimpse of hope. And David wanted to be part of this group of Philistines[12] It was the Lord’s mercy that did not allow David to join these enemies of the Lord. The Philistines killed Saul's sons, Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchi-shua[13]. The battle went sore against Saul, seeing his sons dead, and the archers of the Philistines hitting him[14].

Saul, not wanting to die by the hand of these pagans, asked his armour bearer to slay him with the sword, but be his loyal servant he would deny his request, therefore Saul killed himself, so did the armor bearer seeing his death, that day all of his sons and his men fell[15]. As sad as anything was in this account, sad is the absence of any kind of sorrow or repentance or crying out to God at all on Saul’s part. He was told the previous day that he would die (1 Samuel 28:19), yet he did not seem to prepare his soul to meet God in any way.

The Defeat of Israel[]

And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley, and those who were on the other side of the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them[16].

The Philistines saw the leaders dead bodies, they made a disgrace out of it, to proclaim it in the temple of their idols and among the people, then they put his body on the wall of Beth-shan[17].

Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men arose and traveled all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth Shan; and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days[18], perhaps as repayment for Saul’s rescue of the town from the Ammonites many years earlier[19].


  1. 1 Samuel 28:4-5 (Link)
  2. 1 Samuel 28:5-6 (Link)
  3. 1 Samuel 28:7 (Link)
  4. 1 Samuel 28:8 (Link)
  5. 1 Samuel 28:9-10 (Link)
  6. 1 Samuel 28:11-12 (Link)
  7. 1 Samuel 28:13-14 (Link)
  8. 1 Samuel 28:15 (Link)
  9. 1 Samuel 28:16 (Link)
  10. 1 Samuel 28:17-18 (Link)
  11. 1 Samuel 28:19 (Link)
  12. 1 Samuel 29:2,8 (Link)
  13. 1 Samuel 31:1-2 (Link)
  14. 1 Samuel 31:3 (Link)
  15. 1 Samuel 31:4-6 (Link)
  16. 1 Samuel 31:7 (Link)
  17. 1 Samuel 31:8-10 (Link)
  18. 1 Samuel 31:11-13 (Link)
  19. 1 Samuel 11:1-11 (Link)