About Mount Gilboa

Mount Gilboa is a ridge above the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel. The formation extends from southeast to northwest, bordering the highlands of the West Bank and the Beit She'an valley; the 'Green Line' between Israel and the West Bank traverses the ridge. The Gilboa range is also the setting in the Books of Samuel of a battle between Saul and the Philistines

Battle of Gilboa and the death of Saul


The Battle of Gilboa, the biblical text states that David felt insecure, and so made an alliance with the Philistines, becoming their vassal. Emboldened by this, the Philistines prepared to attack Israel, and Saul led out his army to face them at Mount Gilboa, but before the battle decided to secretly consult the witch of Endor for advice. The witch, unaware of who he is, reminds Saul that the king (i.e. Saul himself) had made witchery a capital offence, but after being assured that Saul wouldn't harm her, the witch conjures up the ghost of Samuel. Samuel's ghost tells Saul that he would lose the battle and his life.

Broken in spirit, Saul returns to face the enemy, and the Israelites are duly defeated. To escape the ignominy of capture, Saul asks his armour bearer to kill him, but is forced to commit suicide by falling on his sword when the armour bearer refuses. An Amalekite then claims to have killed Saul, and the Amalekite tells David. Infuriated, David orders the Amalekite to be put to death as punishment for killing the God's anointed, despite Saul's earlier assassination attempt against him. The body of Saul, with those of his sons, were fastened to the wall of Beth-shan, and his armor was hung up in the house of Ashtaroth (an Ascalonian temple of the Canaanites). The inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead (the scene of Saul's first victory) rescue the bodies and take them to Jabesh-gilead, where they burn their flesh and bury the bones (Sam.I 31,13).