The Death of Saul

Posted: September 4, 2014 in Ma-Papel (Paperworks), Theology

In 1 Samuel 31 it says that Saul died by falling on his own sword.

In 2 Samuel, it says that an Amalekite killed Saul. How do you explain this?

Here is how I approach this topic.

First, The book of Samuel is a narrative, which means, it tells a story the way it happened. It is my firm conviction that Saul died by his own sword. However, the Amalekite thought he could gain something from Saul’s death. Here are other considerations as well.

Second, his death was reported by an Amalekite. The question I have in mind is “what is an Amalekite doing in the battlefield between the Philistines and the Israelites?” Just like in any battle aftermath, there are scavengers or those who would loot the dead. I believe this Amalekite was not there as a combatant, but as a scavenger. The Amalekite’s statement, “by chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa” (2 Sam. 1:6) is the key that he wasn’t there as a combatant. No one goes to a place with the knowledge of a battle and say “I happened to be there by chance”.

Third, He stumbled upon Saul’s body before the Philistines did (1 Sam. 31:8). The Philistines found Saul’s body the next day. The Amalekite had time to strip the crown on his head and the armlet on his arm. He had the time to be able to go to David with the items in his hands.

Fourth, his lie is something that cost him his life. A parallel story is found in 1 Sam. 4:10. The Amalekite thought of enriching himself at the cost of Saul’s death. He thought David would reward him. He was wrong in his assumption. David respected the anointing of Saul, and respected Saul even in death. He punished the Amalekite by executing him.

 

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