The Men Of Jabesh Gilead


But when the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their mighty warriors traveled through the night to Beth-shan and took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall. They brought them to Jabesh, where they…buried their bodies under a tamarisk tree.

~I Samuel 31:11-12, NLT


Honor is simply the morality of superior men.

~Henry Mencken

Saul lived a very disappointing life. He was tormented with fear and he never lived up to his potential. Just months into his reign as king of Israel, Samuel laments his decision and grieves for Saul. Samuel realized the office and the responsibility that accompanied this high position was too much for Saul. I suppose Saul would have made a great captain but he was no commander-in-chief. I Samuel 31 tells us about Saul’s death. He was wounded in battle and then he fell on his own  sword to keep from being captured alive. He and three of his sons died on the same day. The Philistines found their body lying on the battle field; they decapitated Saul and his sons. They hung Saul’s head on one of their pagan temples and hung his body and his sons on the wall at Beth Shan. When the valiant men of Jabesh-Gilead heard what had happened, they marched all night to retrieve the bodies and give them an honorable burial. Saul’s first act as king was to rescue Jabesh-Gilead from the wicked Ammonites and they never forgot Saul’s intervention. They buried Saul and his sons under a Tamarisk Tree at Jabesh.

The Tamarisk Tree is a unusual tree. It provided the best shade in Israel because during the night, the tree collects moisture on his leaves this become water droplets. This creates a natural air conditioner. The moisture does not evaporate until the middle of the evening. These are the trees Abraham planted all over the holy land. They produced great shade and they could survive on little water. In I Samuel 22:6, Saul is enjoying the shade of the Tamarisk tree. What a kind and magnanimous thing the brave men of Jabesh-Gilead did: they risked their lives to give Saul and honorable burial and they buried his remains under the very tree that had given Saul some brief pleasure during his otherwise tragic life. I think the men of Jabesh-Gilead are to be applauded:

  1. They remembered the good that Saul did. Saul’s bad far outweighed his good but they remembered the good.
  2. They were men of courage: they risk their lives to save the honor of a man who was already dead. Most of us would not risk our lives for the living.
  3. They were men of gratitude. Saul did one thing for them, he saved them from slavery and they never forgot his intervention.


Jack Freeman was in critical condition. Three other local pastors were very sick: Jesse Higginbotham {Lebanon}, Bob Williams {New Center} and E.T. Waddell {Central Park}.

Great day yesterday, Praise Jesus, DBC was knocking on the 400 door and it is not Easter. I left after LCBS to preach in Cullman County. We had exactly 379 less than DBC. The LORD provided me with a lot of opportunities last week and we are thankful. I learned a long time ago that you cannot trust your feelings. I felt the presence of God Saturday eveing during Mrs. Berryman’s COLS. It was an unusual moving of the Holy Spirit. I got to present the gospel to a lot of folks. I didn’t feel that great about yesterday. I don’t mind small crowds but I am not use to preaching to 12 people. I changed my message after I got there but I did not feel great about either presentation yesterday but feeling mean nothing. I shared God’s word and it always produces a harvest. The people in Cullman County were very gracious and kind. I felt at home but I just could not break free. I’ve been chewing the bits to preach, perhaps this is God’s way of making me content where I am.

I do love retirement but I am not getting a lot done. Today, I am going to try once again to get some small projects completed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *