Methods in biblical scholarship (Peter)

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Fri Dec 31 17:50:54 EST 1999

It seems you are right here. I got confused between spears and swords. 
But how about this scenario for "third time lucky":

Saul falls on his sword and wounds himself severely.
Armour-bearer sees that Saul is dying and/or thinks that he is dead.
Armour-bearer falls on his sword and kills or mortally wounds himself.
Saul partly recovers, sees chariots approaching.
He tries to get up, leaning on his spear, perhaps hoping to escape.
He realises that he is too badly wounded and cannot escape.
Amalekite comes along and kills Saul.
Armour-bearer, if not already dead, dies of his wounds.

Are there any contradictions left with the Hebrew text? This may seem 
implausible, but stranger things have happened. And then we have the 
alternative that the Amalekite has twisted the history for his own 

So where now is the evidence for multiple source documents?

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[11]: Methods in biblical scholarship (Peter)
Author:  <npl at> at Internet
Date:    31/12/1999 09:50

> >
> >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 sttzen auf 2. Sich aufgesttzt legen, es sich bequem machen 3. 
sich sttzen auf, sich verlassen auf. PK's interpretation is totally 

> This is your second attempt at explaining away the conflict between the 
> two
> 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 
> that
> Saul was dead.
> Your approach though is quite fruitful. The Amalekite instead may have 
> been
> 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.
> Cheers,
> Ian
> ,
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