1 Sam 31:5: was Saul necessarily dead?

Niels Peter Lemche npl at teol.ku.dk
Fri Dec 31 11:04:33 EST 1999


You cannot maintain this point. You are simply arguing against the wording
of the Hebrew text. You are also arguing against the logic of the narrative.
Why should anybody believe that an Amalekite would tell the truth. He is in
the eyes of the narrator a foreigner and lies, of course, and is punished
because of his stupidity. There is not even an inner narrative problem. So
forget the nonsense and see what you can read in the text, and not in
whatever extraneous ideas you may about this event.

I think I mailed earlier today why your interpretation is impossible and
that you have totally misunderstood the scenery of 2 Sam 1:6ff. Saul is not
hanging on his spear and pierced by it, he is supporting himself by his
spear, that is the sense of the Hebrew verb used in that connection and it
cannot be understood otherwise. 

NPL who will be back in another year

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	peter_kirk at sil.org [SMTP:peter_kirk at sil.org]
> Sent:	Friday, 31 December, 1999 23:41
> To:	Biblical Hebrew
> Subject:	Re[2]: 1 Sam 31:5: was Saul necessarily dead?
> Ian asked:
>      Would you doubt that Jacob was dead in Gen 50:15 (which uses 
>      quite similar wording and progression of verb forms)? What about 
>      Nabal's death in 1Sam25:39?
> The difference in both of these cases is that the narrative has 
> already stated that the person in question has died (Gen 49:33, 1 Sam 
> 25:38). This is not actually stated in 1 Samuel 31:4-5 - especially 
> if M"T may be a participle not a QATAL form, as Dave has pointed out. 
> It is clear that both Saul and the armour-bearer died, but not clear, 
> I think, that Saul died before the armour-bearer fell on his sword.
> Peter Kirk
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