Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 1

The man who killed and robbed Saul

2 Samuel 1:5-10

In his account of the battle in verse 4, the young man put the deaths of Saul and Jonathan last. Perhaps he wanted to show that he considered their lives of little value. Saul had tried to kill David several times; probably, the young man thought that David hated Saul.

However, David truly respected Saul as the king of Israel. For David, the report of Saul’s death was a matter of the greatest importance.

We already have an account of Saul’s death in 1 Samuel chapter 31. In that account, Saul suffered a terrible injury in the battle, so he killed himself. The young man’s account seems to add further information about the final moments of Saul’s life.

The young man says that he found Saul in a truly desperate state. Saul had already tried to kill himself, but he was not yet dead. Saul had previously asked his own guard to kill him, but that guard was too afraid to do it (1 Samuel 31:4). So now Saul made the same request to this young man.

The young man was an Amalekite. The Amalekites were a nation of robbers, who lived by their cruelty. In 1 Samuel chapter 15, God told Saul to carry out his (God’s) judgement against them, and to destroy their nation completely. Saul did attack them, but he would not obey God: he refused to destroy completely the Amalekite nation. In the end, it was an Amalekite who killed Saul.

Perhaps the young man even considered it an act of kindness to murder Saul before he robbed his body. Or perhaps he thought that David might give a special reward to Saul’s killer.

Next part: David weeps because of Saul's death (2 Samuel 1:11-12)


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