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From Eternity Past

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    The Sad End of the “Anointed of the Lord”

    The armies of Israel and the Philistines closed in mortal combat. Though the fearful scene in the cave of Endor had driven all hope from his heart, Saul fought with desperate valor. But it was in vain. “The men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in Mount Gilboa.” Saul had seen his soldiers falling around him and his three princely sons cut down by the sword. Himself wounded, he could neither fight nor flee. Escape was impossible and, determined not be taken alive by the Philistines, Saul took his own life by falling upon his sword.EP 493.6

    Thus the first king of Israel perished, with the guilt of self-murder on his soul. His life had been a failure, and he went down in dishonor and despair.EP 494.1

    The tidings of defeat spread far and wide, carrying terror to all Israel. The people fled from the cities and the Philistines took undisturbed possession. Saul's reign, independent of God, had well-nigh proved the ruin of his people.EP 494.2

    On the day following, the Philistines discovered the bodies of Saul and his three sons. They cut off the head of Saul and stripped him of his armor. Then the head and the armor, reeking with blood, were sent to the country of the Philistines as a trophy of victory, “to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people.” Thus the glory of victory was ascribed to the power of false gods, and the name of Jehovah was dishonored.EP 494.3

    In Beth-shan the bodies of Saul and his sons were hung up in chains, to be devoured by birds of prey. But the brave men of Jabesh-gilead, remembering Saul's deliverance in earlier and happier years, now manifested their gratitude by rescuing the bodies of the king and princes and giving them honorable burial. Thus the noble deed performed forty years before, secured for Saul and his sons burial by tender and pitying hands in that dark hour of defeat and dishonor.EP 494.4

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