Setting of King Saul’s Final Battle

1 Sam. 28:4: “So the Philistines gathered together and came and camped in Shunem; and Saul gathered all Israel together and they camped in Gilboa.”

The horizontal cluster of white buildings in the upper center of photo mark the spot of ancient Shunem, the site of the Philistine encampment referenced in our text.

Shunem, note white buildings upper center. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Shunem, note white buildings upper center. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Saul and the forces of Israel were encamped at Gilboa. This view of Gilboa is from Beth Shan.

Gilboa as seen from Beth Shan. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Gilboa as seen from Beth Shan. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

As the 1 Samuel narrative continues, the next chapter states, ” Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek, while the Israelites were camping by the spring which is in Jezreel” (29:1) We have previously posted photos/articles on Aphek here and here, where the Philistines at this time gathered all their armies. At Jezreel one can see the spring mentioned here in 1 Sam. 29:1.

Jezreel Spring. Note greenery at center.  Tel Jezreel is in foreground. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Jezreel Spring. Note greenery at center. Tel Jezreel is in foreground. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Saul and his three sons (including David’s best friend Jonathan) died at Mt. Gilboa, a great victory for the Philistines. It was a sad day for Israel:

8 It came about on the next day when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off his head and stripped off his weapons, and sent them throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10 They put his weapons in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. (1 Sam. 31:8-10).

We are told that also the bodies of Saul’s sons were nailed to the walls of Beth Shan (1 Sam. 31:12).

Beth Shan, where the Philistines nailed the bodies of Saul & sons. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Beth Shan, where the Philistines nailed the bodies of Saul & sons. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

These photos may be used along with maps to show where the events of 1 Sam. 28-31 transpired. Click on images for larger view.

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One Response to Setting of King Saul’s Final Battle

  1. Thanks, Leon. This is fantastic.

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