The Death Of Saul


2 Samuel 1-4


2 Samuel 1:2-10. We have just read the account of the death of Saul in 1 Samuel 31, and in the continuation chapter, 2 Samuel 1, an Amalekite tells his account to David. The accounts do not match . Commentators trip over themselves reconciling the first account (the Philistines wound Saul, and he fell on his own sword) to the second account (Saul was leaning on his sword and about to fall on it. But just before he fell, Saul requested that a nearby Amalekite do it for him). Some of the reconciliations get bizarre. One reads that Saul fell on his sword and missed, and Saul was trying to do it again.


I see no need to reconcile the accounts. They don’t match because the Amalekite lied. His motive was obvious. “Sir David, you are King because of me. I will accept any reward you find suitable.” What a turn of fortune! He would never get another chance like this to have a King so highly indebted to him.


Actually, he never got another chance to eat dinner. David ordered the Amalakite to be executed for his having admitted he killed the anointed of the Lord.


Many commentators do not like to suggest that somebody lied. They see a verse that reads “So I stood beside him and killed him,” and feel obliged to their commitment to an inerrant Bible. So they would rather conclude that King Saul threw himself to the ground and missed. But the Bible does not say “The Amalekite stood beside him and killed him.” What the Bible says is “The young man who told him said, ‘… So I stood beside him and killed him.’” And that is the faithful recording of a lie.




True or False?

The Bible says it?

I [The Amalekite] stood beside him and killed him.



The young man who told him said, “[portions deleted] So I stood beside him and killed him.’





To complicate this a little, 2 Samuel 21:12 provides a third account, and this one says that a Philistine killed Saul. Depending on the focus of the account, the Philistine having wounded Saul and starting the process that death can also be counted as the one who killed Saul.


2 Samuel 2:1. The first thing David does after the grieving period is inquire of the Lord.


2 Samuel 2:8-10. I think Ish-Bosheth was incompetent. Abner, a Saul loyalist, probably used his own capacities, combined with Ish-Bosheth’s lineage to act as a de facto King of Israel.


1)                  Though of battle age, he was neither killed nor cited as surviving the battle of 1 Samuel 31, which makes me wonder if he was even invited to participate;


2)                  The battle to be King was between David and the house of Saul (2 Samuel 3:1). Ish-Bosheth himself seemed rather uninvolved; and


3)                  Ish-Bosheth ended his claim to be King when Abner switched his loyalty to David (2 Samuel 4:1).


4)                  The meaning of Ish-Bosheth reads, “I am ashamed he is a man.” Another parent who needed a name-the-baby book.


2 Samuel 2:10-11. There is a five (and a half) year gap between the time Ish-Bosheth died and the time David became King over a united Israel. The Bible does not say who was King of non-Judah during this period. When Ish-Bosheth died, two opportunists sought reward for having killed Ish-Bosheth (2 Samuel 4:5-12). (And David, always a fair man, rewarded them just as he rewarded the Amalekite of 2 Samuel 1.) But David did not become King of all Israel until the other tribes requested it of him in 2 Samuel 5.


David was a skilled warrior. But he never battled for the throne. From David to Jeconiah (19 generations of Kings), no King was ordained as the spoils of battle. Their ascent to King was God’s work alone.


2 Samuel 3:2-5. While King of Judah only, David had six sons:


1)                  Amnon. Amnon would later rape his half-sister Tamar, and be killed by Tamar’s full-brother Absalom, son #3.


2)                  Chiliab (Daniel in Septuagint). Probably incompetent. He did not become crown prince when Amnon died.


3)                  Absalom. Crown prince when Amnon died. Absalom set himself up as King and prepared for battle to overthrow David. But David had him killed.


4)                  Adonijah. Might have been King when David died. But David left orders that his selection was Solomon.


5)                  And 6) Shephathiah and Ithream. No further mention in scripture.


2 Samuel 3:7. When Ish-Bosheth accused Abner of an affair with Saul’s wife, he was probably also accusing Abner of plans to overthrow him as King – which in turn probably had more to do with Abner’s change in loyalty than the accusation itself. When Absalom challenged David for the throne (2 Samuel 17), the first thing he did was have open affairs with David’s concubines (2 Samuel 16:22).


2 Samuel 4:4. This verse is a flashback account from two years prior. When Saul died, he left two living heirs: the incompetent Ish-Bosheth and a five year old grandson, Mephibosheth. (“bosheth” means “shame.”) The nursemaid swiped Mephibosheth in order that he not be killed in a throne war with Ish-Bosheth.


The key to 2 Samuel 4:4 is what it does NOT say. 54 words is lengthy for a single verse. But the key is that after Ish-Bosheth had died, nobody dragged out the now-seven-year-old boy now lame and attempted to make him a puppet king.

Psalm 43 – and I miss the KJV word “disquieted”


Maybe some day I will take the initiative to edit a hymnal. Why not? I took a one-credit course in Hymns one time. Hymn #42 might read:


O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder Consider all The world Thy Hand hath made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy pow'r throughout The universe displayed;


Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art! Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art!


When through the woods And forest glades I wander I hear the birds Sing sweetly in the trees; When I look down From lofty mountain grandeur And hear the brook And feel the gentle breeze;


Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art! Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art!


When Christ shall come, With shouts of acclamation, And take me home, What joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow In humble adoration And there proclaim, "My God, how great Thou art!"


Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art! Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art!


I remember the late Joe Cody’s teachings well enough that he would slam the hymnal closed in anger. Not only would I have lost the sale. But also, I would have lost the right ever again to address him. Ever again. On any topic.


You do NOT skip verse three of How Great Thou Art.


But perhaps Joe would reconsider his anger if he were first to glance over to Hymn #43:


And when I think, That God, His Son not sparing; Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in; That on the Cross, My burden gladly bearing, He bled and died To take away my sin.


Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art! Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art!


Some of you may see where I am headed with this. Others may ask, Why separate verse 3 into its own hymn? The answer is: To emphasize its greatness.


Psalm 42:5, 42:11 and 43:5 betray that Psalms 42 and 43 are a single work. The first verse is a cry of desperation: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God;” the second verse is a cry of despair: “I say to God, my rock: ‘Why have you forgotten me?’”


The third verse is a cry of victory: “Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy.” By the time we get to the refrain of the third verse, the refrain appears no longer to apply. Psalm 43 provides no evidence that my soul is cast down. Repeating the refrain is a simple reminder of what God has lifted us from. Never skip verse three.

Psalms 49, 84, 85, 87


The Sons of Korah


The last time we saw Korah, he was challenging Moses for the job of the leader of Israel in Numbers 16. Korah died in that rebellion, but his sons continued to live. It didn’t seem a major mention at the time, but when God dedicated a verse (Numbers 26:11) to point out that the sons of Korah did not die, that should have served notice that we would hear from the sons of Korah once again. Korah himself was a first cousin of Moses, and his descendant Heman – no relation to He-Man from Masters of the Universe – became the lead singer in the choir of the House of the Lord (1 Chronicles 6:21-27). Other descendants of Korah – collectively known as The Sons of Korah – composed eleven (or twelve) of our Psalms – those listed above, plus Psalms 42 (and 43), 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 and 88.


From reading the Psalms of the Sons of Korah, we get some insights into what motivated Korah to rebel as he did: the greed for wealth. Jude (verses 8-11) in part confirms this when he says that Korah relied on his dreams, and thereby rejected authority.


Heman and his band seem to be saying to God: Message received. The common thread of the four Psalms listed above is the inferior status of seeking wealth that comes from man….


Psalm 49:5-6 - Why should I fear… those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches?


Psalm 84:10 - I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell (“abundantly” implied) in the tents of wickedness.


…. and the superior status of treasuring the wealth that comes from God:


Psalm 84:4 - Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!


Psalm 84:11 - No good thing does [H]e withhold.


Psalm 85:12 - Yes, the Lord will give what is good.


Psalm 87:7 - Singers


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