1 Sam 31:5: was Saul necessarily dead?

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Dec 31 17:19:18 EST 1999

Niels wrote: 
> Peter
> 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. 

Interpretively, I tend to agree with NPL on this.  My own personal 
view is that the Amalekite lied, expecting a reward from David 
whom he considered Saul's enemy, and when he saw how David 
actually reacted, his final thoughts were "Oh, !@#$"...

Grammatically, the verse taken in isolation could go either way 
since there is no visual difference between the qatal and the 
participle.  All things considered, though, I think it's safe to say 
that Saul was dead at least by the time the Amalekite came upon 
him (an event that is not actually reported by the narrator).

Dave Washburn
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.
                                   Psalm 86:11

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