1 Samuel 28-31
Man this is one harsh way to end a book! I've complained that some of the previous books had weak endings. 1 Samuel makes up for it in spades!
Saul goes to a witch/psychic to talk to the dead Samuel. Even though this is a parable, it says allot about what the Israelites believed.
A) They believed that people survived in some form after death.
B) They believed that the living could communicate with the dead.
C) The dead could predict the future.
Saul doesn't like what Samuel has to say but his fate is sealed, along with his sons and the army of Israel in general.
Meanwhile, David isn't allowed to fight the Israelites with the Philistines, lest he become a turncoat during the battle. To make matters worse, the previously "utterly destroyed" Amalekites have invaded and taken David's wives. David chases them down and destroys them once again (except for the 400 that escape on camels).
We finish with Saul and his sons being defeated in battle, Saul, not wanting the Philistines to have the honor of taking his life does it himself. Is this the first literary instance of someone "falling on his sword"? The Philistines don't treat the dead very well.
Again, I have to comment that this feels very Shakespearian to me. I think it would be a safe assumption to say that he used the Bible as an influence. I've also seen pieces that say the Bard helped translate the KJ Bible but there seems to be debate on the amount of involvement.
The sequel starts tomorrow. David's revenge?