The second book of Samuel begins where the first ended, the death of Saul, but the stories disagree. In both accounts, the Philistine victory over Saul is imminent. Saul, wounded with arrows, instructs his armor-bearer to finish the job. “Kill me,” he says. But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it (1Samuel 31:4). However, turn the page and an Amalekite soldier tells it differently. When Saul said, “Kill me,” according to the Amalekite, “I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord” (2Samuel 1:10). Which is it? How did Saul die?
Here’s the situation: while Saul and his army were fighting the Philistines, the Amalekites had attacked the city where David lived. The Amalekites were a sworn enemy of Israel. They had plundered the city and taken the women and children. David and his men pursued them, caught them, and killed them. It was not a good day to be an Amalekite. The second story-teller is an Amalekite.
It is likely this Amalekite knew both David and Saul had claim to the throne and believed the death of Saul would be the delight of David. He did not, however, know David’s God. If he had, he would not have boasted of killing God’s anointed. He inserted himself into the story of Saul’s death anticipating a happy David and a possible reward. Instead, “David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword” (2Samuel 1:11-12). The surprised Amalekite was rewarded with execution because by his own mouth he claimed, “I have killed the Lord’s anointed.” He changed the story because he feared David. He should have feared David’s God.
Lord God Almighty, You are on the throne. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth, in my life, here and now, and forever. May Your Name be known, may every knee bow and confess You Lord. God, you are most terrifying to those who do not fear You.
God, I serve You and only You. May my love for You be seen in my obedience to Your ways, my allegiance to Your will. May I see sin as You do, and may it grieve me, as well. May I find no pleasure in it. Rather, when I serve You, I serve the highest good, so may I delight in Your pleasure. May I never lose sight of who truly is my God and my Savior. May I keep my eyes on You.