Meanwhile, as the Philistines are gearing up for battle against Saul’s army, David and his men approach them from the rear. The surprised Philistines recognize him and want to know why he is there. For years David had been hiding in the land of the Philistines from the hand of Saul, who sought to kill him. Even though he had to act as if he were insane, he survived for 1 year and 4 months (1 Samuel 27:7) in the hotbed of Israel’s worst enemy and ended up collecting his elite fighting group of “mighty men.” David leaves from the immediate land of the Philistines and goes to Gath. He tells the king there (Achish) that he has come in peace and sets up camp. But then he raids the sounding lands of all those who were set against Israel. When David returns, Achish inquires where he has been raiding. David lies and tells him he has been in the south country, which belonged to the Israelites. Achish believes that David is purely anti-Israel now, and trusts him.
Achish is aligned with the Philistines and thus, musters for battle against Saul. David is unaware whom specifically the Philistines were fighting against. But he must keep up the façade with Achish in order to keep his cover. However, when he rides up with Achish to the battle camp, the Philistines recognize him and begin to inquire why he is there. The Philistines do not trust David to stay true in the fight and believe it is too risky to have him along. Achish then appeals to David to hang back because of the friction.
David departs the battlefront and comes back to his camp in Ziklag, only to find that it has been raided by the Amalekites while he was gone. They took everyone captive (which included David’s wives and children) and all their possessions and then burned the rest to the ground. The people started to turn against David, but he pulled himself together and consulted the Lord for direction. He receives word from the Lord to pursue the marauders and rescue his people. After finding an abandoned Egyptian that had been fighting for the Amalekites, he finds the location of the enemy and lays them waste. All of David’s people and possessions are rescued, including his wives and children.
Meanwhile back at Mount Gilboa, the Philistines are roundly defeating the Israelites (1 Samuel 31:1). The sons of Saul are killed and the Philistines are now in pursuit of him. Archers manage to mortally wound him and Saul begs his armor bearer to finish him off. The armor bearer refuses, so Saul falls on his own sword and commits suicide. The armor bearer sees this, panics, and does likewise to himself. Later the Philistines find the bodies of Saul and his sons. They stripped Saul’s body of his weapons and decapitated him. His weapons were stored in the temple of Ashtaroth and they fastened his body, along with the bodies of his sons, to walls of the city of the site we visit here,Beth-Shan (Shean).