Samuel had died and all Israel had mourned for him and had buried him in his own town Ramah. Saul, too, had put the mediums and those who had messages from the spirits of the dead out of the land.
Then the Philistines came and camped in Shunem, and Saul gathered all the Israelites and camped in Gilboa. But when he saw the army of the Philistines, he was terrified and filled with fear. So he asked of Jehovah whether he should go against them, but Jehovah did not answer him either by dream or by lot or by the prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Find for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go and ask through her.” His servants said to him, “There is such a woman at Endor.”
So Saul did not let any one know who he was, but put on other clothes and went, taking two men with him. And they came to the woman at night. He said, “Ask for me through some departed spirit and bring up for me the one for whom I shall ask.” The woman said to him, “You know what Saul has done, how he has driven from the land the mediums and those who have messages from the spirits of the dead. Why then are you trying to catch me, to put me to death?” But Saul swore to her by Jehovah, saying, “As surely as Jehovah lives, no punishment will come to you from this act.” Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up to you?” Saul said, “Bring up Samuel.”
When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me, for you are Saul?” Saul replied, “Do not be afraid! What do you see?” The woman said to Saul, “I see a god coming out of the earth.” Saul asked, “What does he look like?” She said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a cloak.” Then Saul knew that it was Samuel; and he bowed with his face to the earth and worshipped.
Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great trouble, for the Philistines are making war against me, and God has turned from me and answers me no more, neither by prophets nor by dreams. So I have called you to tell me what I shall do.” Samuel said, “Why do you ask of me when Jehovah has turned from you and become your enemy? He has taken the authority from your hand and given it to another, even to David. To-morrow you, with your sons beside you, shall fall, and Jehovah will deliver the army of Israel into the power of the Philistines.”
Then Saul fell at full length upon the earth, for the words of Samuel filled him with fear, so he had no strength left, for he had not eaten any food all that day and night. When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was in great trouble, she said to him, “See, I have taken my life in my hand and have done what you asked me. Now therefore, listen also to my advice and let me set before you a little food, and eat that you may have strength to go on your way.” Saul refused and said, “I will not eat”; but his servants, as well as the woman, urged him, until he listened to their advice. Then he rose from the earth and sat upon the couch. And the woman had a fat calf in the house which she quickly killed. And she took flour and kneaded it and baked from it bread without yeast. She set it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they rose up and went away that night.
The Philistines fought against Israel, but the Israelites fled from them and fell dead on Mount Gilboa. Then the Philistines closely followed Saul and his sons; and they killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. So the battle went against Saul, and when the archers found out where he was, he was severely wounded. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me with it, so that these heathen Philistines may not come and make sport of me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he was very much afraid. Saul, therefore, took his own sword and fell upon it. When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer died on the same day.
When the Israelites who were in the towns of the lowland and across the Jordan saw that the Israelites had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they left their towns and fled, and the Philistines came and took them.
On the next day, the Philistines came to rob the dead, and found that Saul and his three sons had fallen on Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers through all the land of the Philistines to bring the good news to their idols and to the people. And they put his armor in the temple of Ashtarte and fastened his body on the wall of Bethshan.
When the inhabitants of Jabesh in Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, their brave men rose up and marched all night, and they took the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Bethshan and brought them to Jabesh and mourned over them there. Then they took their bones and buried them under the oak-tree in Jabesh and ate no food for seven days.
On the third day after David returned to Ziklag, after defeating the Amalekites, a man came from the camp of Saul with his clothes torn and with earth upon his head. When he came to David, he fell on the ground before him. David said to him, “Where do you come from?” He answered, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” David said to him, “How did the battle go? Tell me.” He answered, “The people fled from the battle-field, and many of them fell, and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead!”
Then David and all the men who were with him tore their clothes and mourned and wept and went without food until evening, because Saul and Jonathan his son and the people of Jehovah had fallen by the sword.
David then sang this dirge over Saul and Jonathan:
“Weep, O Judah!
Grieve, O Israel!
On your heights are the slain!
How the mighty have fallen!
“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were never parted;
They were swifter than eagles,
They were stronger than lions.
“O Jonathan, your death has mortally wounded me,
O Jonathan, my brother, for you I am sorrowing.
You were ever a friend to me most dear,
Your love meant far more than the love of women!
“How the mighty have fallen,
And the weapons of war vanished!”