Then the men of Judah came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.”
David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said to them, “May you be blessed of the Lord because you have shown this kindness to Saul your lord, and have buried him.
– Second Samuel 2:4-5
The first thing David did as king was to bless the men of Jabesh Gilead who had bravely retrieved Saul’s body and the bodies of his sons (1 Sam. 31:11–13; 2 Sam. 2:4–7). Jabesh Gilead was the city Saul had saved from the Ammonites when he first became king. These men were better toward Saul than those of Keilah were toward David. When Saul died, the men of that city retrieved his body and buried it in their city. David blessed them for this.
It seems the Lord did not utterly give Saul up. His burial at Jabesh Gilead shows him resting upon his victory there, and David the king, as a type of Christ, recognized that.
Adapted from David: After God’s Heart, page 88.