Methods in biblical scholarship (Peter)

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Thu Dec 30 12:32:18 EST 1999

Dear Ian,

I have reread 1 Samuel 31 and 2 Samuel 1, and I realise that it is 
saying something rather different.

31:4 The armour-bearer refuses to kill Saul, so Saul sticks his own 
spear in the ground and impales himself on it.

31:5 The armour-bearer thinks Saul is dead and falls on his sword. 
Both die. At this stage the author does not mention the Amalekite as 
he is irrelevant.

1:6-10 The Amalekite found Saul after he had impaled himself but not 
yet quite dead. Presumably the armour-bearer was dead already, a sword 
being more deadly than a spear. So the Amalekite kills Saul to put him 
out of his misery, and walks off with his crown and armlet. David 
believes the story as how else would the Amalekite have got the crown 
and armlet?

So where is the contradiction?

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[9]: Methods in biblical scholarship (Peter)
Author:  <mc2499 at> at Internet
Date:    30/12/1999 01:11


>.. Nevertheless, would you like to contemplate a single author who wrote in 
>one chapter that Saul, after failing to get his armour-bearer to kill him, 
>finally kills himself and is followed by the armour-bearer in death, wrote 
>in the chapter immediately following that Saul was killed by a just happened 
>to be there resident alien Amalekite stranger who came and told David and 
>who David in turn immediately killed?...
>PK: Obvious. The Amalekite was obviously lying in the hope of a 
>reward. Anyway, your objection applies equally to a redacted version.

While David clearly seems to believe the Amalekite, I'm impressed that you 
can divine that the Amalekite was lying. On what grounds? It would seem to 
me that you are rationalising the conflict of the two accounts, not dealing 
with them.


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