Narrator: Now Samuel had died and all Israel mourned for him. He was buried in Ramah, his hometown. Once again the Philistines gathered for war, and Saul was frantic with fear…
Saul: Lord… Lord God Jehovah… please answer me. Enemies of Israel are setting up camp and Lord; they are great in number. What is our battle plan? How do we proceed?
Saul: Summon my advisors! (they enter; Saul is agitated) Come, come…approach the throne. Find someone who talks with the spirits so I can ask them what to do.
Advisors: (they discuss) We know of a medium in the town of Endor.
Narrator: So at nightfall, Saul took off his royal robes and wore a commoner’s clothes so he wouldn’t be noticed. He knocked on the door of the woman’s house.
Saul: I have to talk with a spirit; will you call one up for me?
Witch: You know the king has outlawed all those who consult the spirits of the dead. Are you setting a trap for me?
Saul: As surely as the Lord lives, nothing bad will happen to you. I am desperate!
Witch: Whose spirit do you want me to call up?
Saul: Call up Samuel.
Witch: You have tricked me! You are Saul. Only you would want to speak with him.
Saul: Do your witchery! Summon him and tell me what you see.
Witch: (as if in a trance) I see an old man wrapped in a robe. He’s coming up…
Samuel: Why have you disturbed me by calling me back?
Saul: Samuel, I am in serious trouble. The Philistines have assembled a huge army and Jehovah God will not respond to my pleas. I beg of you; tell me what God is thinking.
Samuel: The Lord has torn the kingdom from you because you disobeyed his orders. What’s more, he will hand over the army of Israel to your enemy tomorrow and you and your sons will join me and the rest of the dead. The Lord will bring you down in defeat.
Narrator: Saul, paralyzed with fear, went stumbling into the night. The battle the next day went as Samuel said it would. Three of Saul’s sons were killed in the fighting – Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua. Saul, wounded by the Philistine archers, took his life by falling on his sword. When word got back to David, he wept and fasted many days for Saul, his son Jonathan, and the nation of Israel. He remembered the words of Jonathan in their last farewell.
Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the Lord’s name. The Lord is the witness of a bond between us. (1Samuel 20: 42)
Jonathan’s death in battle alongside his father and two other brothers was a crushing blow to David. He eulogized them in song as the whole country grieved their loss:
“Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen…How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan! They were together in life and in death. They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions…How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan! Oh, how much I loved you! And your love for me was deep, deeper than the love of women!” (2 Samuel 1)