I have a question about Saul’s death. His first occurs in 1st Samuel 31 verse 4-5….he fell upon his sword and died. However in 2nd Samuel 1:6-10, it says a young malachite soldier killed him. Please clarify this for me.
As we read from scripture we need to recognize first the similarities of the verses and then ponder the differences. The differences may result from two different writers, from their vantage point, or from what they were told and then wrote.
A similarity of these verses is that Saul fell upon his weapon to kill himself. The weapon Saul chose to fall upon was either a sword (1 Samuel 31:4) or a spear (2 Samuel 1:6). The description in vs. 6 – 10 of Second Samuel give further light, that Saul was not actually killed after he fell upon his weapon. An Amalekite actually sees him, Saul begs for him to finish him off by leaning on him, and note the words of the Amalekite, “because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen.” In other words, instead of allowing Saul to suffer the Amalekite chose to assist him to finish him off, although he probably would have died anyways from his self-inflicted wound.
What I see is one story being delivered in two different ways. The first, short-hand version, “Saul saw he was in trouble. Instead of waiting to be abused by his enemies, he fell upon his own weapon (sword), and died (the Amalekite is meaningless to the short-hand version because the individual is letting us know he died — nothing more).
The longer version, “Saul saw he was in trouble. He then decided to kill himself by falling on his weapon (spear, which author is right?). Saul recognized he wasn’t dead and would endure more suffering before he died; thus, he asked the Amalekite to finish the job. The Amalekite recognized he was going to die anyway and said, “Sure,” and leaned against him until Saul was run through.”
Movie examples, ever watch a movie where the knight receives a fatal wound from battle, and asks his friend to deliver a final blow so that he will not endure more suffering? In this case, who killed the knight? His friend, or the wound from battle? I would specify the war killed the knight, the wound from the enemy, not the friend.
In both scenarios, however, Saul actually killed himself. Even the Amalekite recognized Saul’s self-inflicted wound was fatal. As pertaining to the weapon, eh, which one do you think fits the story better? I like the spear myself. I think a person would fall upon a spear rather than fall upon a sword, but that is just me.