Front Matter The Story of a Beautiful Garden The First Baby in the World and His Brother The Great Ship That Saved Eight People The Tower That Was Never Finished The Story of a Long Journey How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing The Angel by the Well The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City The Boy Who Became an Archer How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life The Story of a Journey after a Wife How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing Jacob's Wonderful Dream A Midnight Wrestling Match The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave From the Prison to the Palace How Joseph's Dream Came True A Lost Brother Found From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River The Voice from the Burning Bush The River That Ran Blood The Night When a Nation Was Born How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It The Tent Where God Lived Among His People How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons The Scapegoat in the Wilderness The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land The Story of Job The Story of a Scarlet Cord How the River Jordan Became Dry The Story of a Wedge of Gold How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge The Story of an Altar Beside the River The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon How a Woman Won a Great Victory Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz The Little Boy with a Linen Coat How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark The Last of the Judges The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh The Brave Young Prince Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows Where David Found the Giant's Sword How David Spared Saul's Life The Last Days of King Saul The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King The Sound in the Treetops The Cripple at the King's Table The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah Solomon on This Father's Throne The Wise Young King The House of God on Mount Moriah The Last Days of Solomon's Reign The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom The King Who Led Israel to Sin The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount The Wounded Prophet and His Story What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard The Arrow That Killed a King Elijah's Chariot of Fire A Spring Sweetened by Salt The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison The Little Boy at Shunem How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper The Chariots of Fire around Elisha What the Lepers Found in the Camp Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh How the Ten Tribes Were Lost The First Four Kings of Judah The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King Three Kings and a Great Prophet The Good King Hezekiah The Lost Book Found in the Temple The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again The Writing upon the Wall Daniel in the Den of Lions The Story of a Joyous Journey The New Temple on Mount Moriah The Beautiful Queen of Persia The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem The Angel by the Altar The Manger of Bethlehem The Star and the Wise Men The Boy in his Father's House The Prophet in the Wilderness Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast The Stranger at the Well The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot A Net Full of Fishes The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea "Peace, Be Still" The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It The Answer to a Mother's Prayer The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus At the Feast of Tabernacles The Man with Clay on His Face The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan Lazarus Raised to Life Some Parables in Perea The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man Jesus at Jericho Palm Sunday The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple The Parables on the Mount of Olives The Last Supper The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall The Crown of Thorns The Darkest Day of All the World The Brightest Day of All the World The Stranger on the Shore The Church of the First Days The Man at the Beautiful Gate The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way Stephen with the Shining Face The Man Reading in the Chariot The Voice That Spoke to Saul What Peter Saw by the Sea How the Iron Gate Was Opened The Earliest Missionaries The Song in the Prison Paul's Speech on the Hill Paul at Corinth Paul at Ephesus Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem The Speech on the Stairs Two Years in Prison The Story That Paul Told to the King Paul in the Storm How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There The Throne of God The City of God

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

The Last Days of King Saul

Once more the Philistines gathered together to make war on King Saul and the land of Israel. The king of the Philistines, Achish, sent for David, and said to him, "You and your men shall go with me in the army, and fight against the men of Israel."

For David was now living in the Philistine country and under their rule. So David came from Ziklag, with all his six hundred men, and they stood among the armies of the Philistines. But when the lords of the Philistines saw David and his men, they said, "Why are these Israelites here? Is not this the man of whom they sang,

'Saul slew his thousands,

But David his ten thousands.'

Will not this man turn from us in the battle, and make his peace with his king by fighting against us? This man shall not go with us to the war."

Then Achish, the king of the Philistines, sent away David and his men, so that David was not compelled to fight against his own people. But when he came to his own city, Ziklag, he found it had been burned and destroyed; and all the people in it, the wives and children of David's men, and David's own wives also, had been carried away by the Amalekites into the desert on the south.

The Lord spoke to David through the high-priest, Abiathar, saying, "Pursue these men, and you will overtake them, and take back all that they have carried away."

So David followed the Amalekites into the wilderness. His march was so swift that a part of his men could not endure it, but stopped to rest at the brook Bezor, while four hundred men went on with David. He found the Amalekites in their camp, without guards, feasting upon the spoil that they had taken. And David and his men fell upon them suddenly and killed all of them, except four hundred men who escaped on camels far into the desert, where David could not follow them. And David took from these robbers all the women and children that they had carried away from Ziklag, and among them David's own two wives; also he took a great amount of treasure and of spoil, not only all that these men had found in Ziklag, but what they had taken in many other places.

David divided all these things between himself and his men, giving as much to those who had stayed at the brook Bezor as to those who had fought with the Amalekites. This treasure taken from the Amalekites made David very rich; and from it he sent presents to many of his friends in the tribe of Judah.

While David was pursuing his enemies in the south, the Philistines were gathering a great host in the middle of the land, on the plain of Esdraelon, at the foot of Mount Gilboa. Saul and his men were on the side of Mount Gilboa, near the same spring where Gideon's men drank, as we read in Story Ten in Part Second. But there was no one like Gideon now, to lead the men of Israel, for King Saul was old, and weakened by disease and trouble; Samuel had died many years before; David was no longer by his side; Saul had slain the priests, through whom in those times God spoke to men; and Saul was utterly alone, and knew not what to do, as he saw the mighty host of the Philistines on the plain. And the Lord had forsaken Saul, and would give him no word in his sore need.

Saul heard that there was living at En-dor, on the north side of the Hill Moreh, not far from his camp, a woman who could call up the spirits of the dead. Whether she could really do this, or only pretended to do it, we do not know, for the Bible does not tell. But Saul was so anxious to have some message from the Lord, that at night he sought this woman. He took off his kingly robes and came dressed as a common man, and said to her, "Bring me up from the dead the spirit of a man whom I greatly long to meet."

And the woman said, "What spirit shall I call up?"

And Saul answered, "Bring me up the spirit of Samuel, the prophet."

Saul asks the woman to call up Samuel


Then the woman called for the spirit of Samuel; and whether spirits had ever arisen from the dead before or not, at that time the Lord allowed the spirit of Samuel to rise up from his place among the dead, to speak to King Saul.

When the woman saw Samuel's spirit she was filled with fear. She cried out, and Saul said to her, "Do not fear; but tell me whom you see."

For Saul himself could not see the spirit whom the woman saw. And she said, "I see one like a god rising up. He is an old man, covered with a long robe."

Then out of the darkness a voice came from the spirit whom Saul's eyes could not see. "Why have you troubled me, and called me out of my rest?"

And Saul answered Samuel, "I am in great distress, for the Philistines make war upon me, and God has forsaken me. He will not speak to me either by a prophet, or a priest, or in a dream. And I have called upon you that you may tell me what to do." And the spirit of Samuel said to Saul, "If the Lord has forsaken you and has become your enemy, why do you call upon me to help you? The Lord has dealt with you as I warned you that he would do. Because you would not obey the Lord, he has taken the kingdom away from you and your house, and has given it to David. And the Lord will give Israel into the hands of the Philistines; and to-morrow you and your three sons shall be as I am, among the dead." And then the spirit of Samuel the prophet passed from sight. When Saul heard these words he fell down as one dead, for he was very weak, as he had taken no food all that day. The woman and Saul's servants who were with him raised him up, and gave him food, and tried to speak to him words of cheer. Then Saul and his men went over the mountain to their camp.

On the next day a great battle was fought on the side of Mount Gilboa. The Philistines did not wait for Saul's warriors to attack them. They climbed up the mountain, and fell upon the Israelites in their camp. Many of the men of Israel were slain in the fight, and many more fled away. Saul's three sons were killed, one of them, the brave and noble Jonathan.

When Saul saw that the battle had gone against him, that his sons were slain, and that the enemies were pressing closely upon him, he called to his armor-bearer, and said, "Draw your sword and kill me; it would be better for me to die by your hand than for the Philistines to come upon me and slaughter me."

But the armor-bearer would not draw his sword upon his king, the Lord's anointed. Then Saul took his own sword and fell upon it, and killed himself among the bodies of his own men.

The death of Saul


On the next day the Philistines came to strip off the armor and carry away the weapons of those who had been slain. The crown of King Saul and the bracelet on his arm had been already carried away; but the Philistines took off his armor and sent it to the temple of their idol, Dagon; and the body of Saul and those of his three sons they fastened to the wall of Beth-shan, a Canaanite city in the valley of the Jordan.

You remember how Saul, in the beginning of his reign, had rescued the city of Jabesh-gilead from the Ammonites. (See Story One in this Part.) The men of Jabesh had not forgotten Saul's brave deed. When they heard what had been done with the body of Saul they rose up in the night and went down the mountains and walked across the Jordan, and came to Beth-shan. They took down from the wall the bodies of Saul and his sons, and carried them to Jabesh; and that they might not be taken away again, they burned them and buried their ashes under a tree; and they mourned for Saul seven days. Thus came to an end the reign of Saul, which began well, but ended in failure and in ruin, because Saul forsook the Lord God of Israel.

Saul had reigned forty years. At the beginning of his reign the Israelites were almost free from the Philistines, and for a time Saul seemed to have success in driving the Philistines out of the land. But after Saul forsook the Lord, and would no longer listen to Samuel, God's prophet, he became gloomy and full of fear, and lost his courage, so that the land fell again under the power of its enemies. David could have helped him, but he had driven David away; and there was no strong man to stand by Sal and win victories for him. So at the end, when Saul fell in battle, the yoke of the Philistines was on Israel heavier than at any time before.

Women grinding grain in Bible times