Sunday, October 21, 2007

Who Killed Saul, Or How Did Saul Die? Contradiction or No Contradiction?

Here are four passages that seem to contradict themselves in the Bible.

1. Saul committed suicide. A. I Sam 31:4-6
Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. So Saul died. B. I Chronicles 10:4
Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

2. Saul was killed by an Amalekite. 2 samuel 1:8-10
And he [Saul] said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me. So I stood upon him, and slew him.

3. Saul was killed by the Philistines. 2 Samuel 21:12. The Philistines had slain Saul.

4. God killed him. I Chronicles 10:14. So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.


There is no contradiction in these passages. It is simply that there are different points of views and narrations. It is right to say God killed him because he was to be protected by God and when God abandons him, it is synonymous to passing his death warrant. Saul, having been wounded in the war against the Philistines saw that he would not survive, then committed suicide by killing himself with his own sword. Yet he was wounded by the philistines, and he would not have survived even if they left him alive, so the Philistines killed him.

However, before he dies slowly, the philistines would meet him and cut off his head; thereby, brandishing it as a trophy. That was unacceptable to Saul, and so he prefers to do the job faster. So we say the philistines killed him.

Yet the guy who said he was an Amalekite is dramatic irony since we know he is not, and that he is from Israel. But knowing that Saul was a staunch enemy of King David, he decided to tell a lie so that he could benefit from the largesse of the king or consider a hero for killing the king’s enemy. His actions backfired and led to his death. Therefore, there is no contradiction.

Lesson 1: If you forsake God, he will forsake you (2 Chr 15:2). Saul forsook the Lord and visited a witch at Endor rather than seek God. (I Sam 28). He was left in the battle because he had abandoned the statutes of the Lord. (2 Chr 7:19-22).

Lesson 2: Never assist in wrong doing. The armourbearer refused to kill him because it was wrong to kill the Lord’s anointed even if the anointed asked you to do it.

Lesson 3: Do not touch the Lord’s anointed. Even though the Israelite was telling a lie that he was an Amalekite, verse 3 of 2 Samuel 1 reveals that he was from the camp of Israel. As you know, the Amalekites were neither helping the Israelites to fight the philistines nor were they fighting the Israelites, so he would not have been involved in the war. He knew that Saul and David had great animosity for each other, consequently he wanted to cash upon that. Unfortunately, it backfired because David knew deep in him that though Saul did not like to see him, he was still the anointed of the Lord and no one for no circumstances should lay their hands on him. That is why even when he had the opportunity to kill Saul, he spared Saul’s life twice (1 Sam 24: 1-26; I Sam 26:1-23).

Lesson 4: Your enemy is out to kill you (2 Sam 21:12). Jesus confirmed it in John 10:10.

Therefore, it does not matter how we die but in what condition we die. Do we die in God or out of felicity? If we forsake the Lord, we die in the hands of the enemy and will still have to face the consequences of our sins.

Until then, prepare to meet your Maker when you die.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk

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