Methods in biblical scholarship (Peter)
Niels Peter Lemche
npl at teol.ku.dk
Fri Dec 31 03:50:51 EST 1999
> >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?
[Niels Peter Lemche]
There is nothing about being impaled on his spear. He is supported
by his spear, as I wrote evidently badly wounded, a kind of Custer's last
stand--in the Flynn version.
The phrase vehinne shaul nish´an ´al chanito cannot be translated
'pierced by his spear'. The verb sh´n has totally diffferent connotation. I
quote from HALAT German version p. 1489, nif. (no evidence of qal) 1: with
´al: Sich stützen auf 2. Sich aufgestützt legen, es sich bequem machen 3.
sich stützen auf, sich verlassen auf. PK's interpretation is totally
> This is your second attempt at explaining away the conflict between the
> stories. This time it is based on the notion that not only the
> armour-bearer but also the writer was mistaken in his first account. The
> text reads:
> 4 ... So Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.
> 5 When his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead...
> 6 So Saul... and all his men died...
> 7 ... Saul and his sons were dead...
> Clearly both the armour-bearer and the writer, even 1Chr10, understand
> Saul was dead.
> Your approach though is quite fruitful. The Amalekite instead may have
> mistaken. Seeing as the man he saw was leaning on a spear, not a sword, he
> probably didn't finish off Saul at all, but someone else. Whenever anyone
> has something inconvenient to say, we can simply take this approach: they
> were mistaken.
> Perhaps a third time you'll be lucky, or perhaps you might decide that
> these are two irreconcilable accounts involving the death of Saul that,
> taken together, indicate different sources.
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