VERSES: 1 Samuel 31:1-13
MEMORY VERSE: 1 Samuel:31:6 "So Saul died and his three sons..."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: Review all 66 books of the Bible.
PRAYER: Thank God for his protection and providing us with things we need like food and shelter. May we always stay close to God and His Word.
SPECIAL SONG: Read, Read Every Day (see February - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #1 on this blog)
VISUAL AID: Draw a picture of the tree at Jabesh (see Activity below)
- As we have learned in a past lesson, King Saul was at war with the Philistines all the days of his life (1 Samuel 14:52), and it happened that at the end of his life, he was fighting them again. Remember last time we learned that King Saul was greatly afraid of the number of Philistines that had gathered to fight, yet King Saul and his sons and all the great army of Israel went to fight anyway.
- The soldiers of Israel were outnumbered because the LORD was not with them. The Israelite soldiers grew weary and became afraid and some even ran away, leaving a smaller number to fight a great fight. King Saul was on the battleground that day and the Philistines knew it. The Bible says that the Philistines followed King Saul and his sons very closely.
- The Philistines killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Melchishua, King Saul's sons. The Philistines were great archers with bows and arrows and a soldier hit and wounded King Saul. It was a very bad battle for Israel and, in the end, King Saul fell on his sword and died.
- As we look back on King Saul's life, King Saul started out his reign as King of Israel pretty well. Remember how he stood head and shoulders taller than anyone in the kingdom and everyone loved him because the people told Samuel that they wanted a king and not prophets anymore? King Saul was brave and helped the people in Jabesh. He fought the Philistines many, many times. He enjoyed harp music and threw javelins. But King Saul made a big mistake when he disobeyed God concerning Agag and the Amalekites. That mistake cost him the kingdom. Perhaps Saul did not realize the God says what He means and means what He says. When the LORD left Saul, his life was miserable and, in the end, he died fighting the enemy, the Philistines.
- After King Saul's death, we will see that David is the chosen King of Israel.
"Older Student" Tips:
- War gets pretty gruesome. This Bible teacher usually uses generic terms for death, war, and terrible things that enemies do to their enemies when they die, etc. when telling war stories to small children. In this story, the tragic end of King Saul and his three sons goes beyond their death. Reading on from 1 Samuel 31:8 through verse 13, the lesson is very graphic and may be unsuitable for small children. Perhaps, you have older students who need to hear how the Philistines went through the battlefield, looking at the fallen soldiers, and what they when they find King Saul and his sons. You may choose to include these verses in your lesson, but you might want to read them first to see if they are appropriate for your children.
ACTIVITY: A Tree At Jabesh
Materials needed: 9" x 12" blue construction paper, 4" x 12" light green paper, 4" x 6" green construction paper, scraps of brown, white, yellow, orange, scissors, glue, marker or crayon.
- Hand out blue paper to students. This the foundation.
- Hand out light green paper.
- Glue light green paper to the bottom edge of the blue paper. These are the hills.
- Cut a large brown triangle. This is the tree trunk.
- Glue trunk in the middle of the picture.
- Hand out dark green paper.
- Tear large oval out of dark green paper. These are the leaves of the trees.
- Glue dark green paper onto the top of the trunk.
- Cut four squares out of white scrap paper.
- Round the tops of two corner on each square. These are four headstones.
- Glue headstones under tree.
- Write "All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul...and his sons...and buried them under a tree at Jabesh..." and "1 Samuel 31:12, 13" at the top of the paper.
- Write "A Tree At Jabesh" in the middle of the tree trunk.
- Write "Jonathan," "King Saul," "Abinadab," and "Melchishua" on each headstone.
- Decorate with flowers.