I was reading 1 and 2 Samuel this morning and I found two different
accounts in the way Saul dies. Did he killed himself or did the Amalekite
who Saul asked to kill him do it? This is found at the the end of 1Sam and
beginning of 2 Sam.
Good question. I had never heard this one before. I believe that both
accounts are true and that they do not contradict. It is a general rule
that when the Bible gives two different accounts with different details,
the two stories complement rather than contradict one another.
Here is what I gather from reading the two accounts of the death of Saul.
From 1 Samuel 31:4-6, I gather that the armor bearer was unable to force
himself to murder Saul, despite his master?s request. In desperation,
Saul fell on his own sword. The armor-bearer, assuming that Saul was dead
or about to die, took his own life.
From 2 Samuel 1:6-10 we have additional information from an eye-witness.
Apparently, when the Amalekite man came to the place on MountGilboawhere
Saul had fallen on his sword, he found that Saul was not dead yet. I am
no expert on this, but I can imagine that it can be difficult to kill
oneself with a sword. Saul had fallen on his sword, yet was still leaning
on his spear. What a tragic scene! Saul begged the Amalekite man to put
him out of his misery. Apparently when the Saul?s armor bearer killed
himself he assumed that Saul was either dead or as good as dead. Saul did
not die right away, but he was “in the throes of death.” The Amalekite
man took mercy on Saul in his agony and killed him.
John Oakes, PhD