The Report of Saul’s Death

In his excellent little book “When Loved Ones Are Taken in Death,” Lehman Strauss made some interesting comments about the Greek word translated “departure.” He wrote, “It is as when a vessel pulls up anchor to loose from its moorings and set sail, or as … More


When Saul died David and his men were still living in Ziklag where he had been hiding from Saul (v. 1). This was a dark day in the history of Israel. War and defeat had come to these people because they were out of the will of God. Three days after Saul’s death an Amalikite arrived at David’s doorstep with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. He bowed in front of David attempting to show deep respect (v. 2). Immediately David began to question him as to why he had come (v. 3). This Amalikite began by telling how he had escaped from the Israeli Army after the fierce battle in which Saul and Jonathan had been killed (v. 4). David asked how he knew for sure that Saul was dead (v. 7). The Amalikite replied that he had found Saul leaning against his spear begging for someone to put him out of his misery (vv. 5-9). He said that he then killed Saul and brought his crown and one of his bracelets as proof (v. 10).

Having heard this David and his men were visibly shaken and mourned and wept and fasted till evening. They showed genuine sorrow over the loss of their king, even though Saul had been trying to kill David for many years (v. 11-12). Then David asked the Amalikite how he could kill God’s chosen king and told him that upon his own confession he must be put to death. Immediately one of David’s men put a sword through him and he died. David believed that God anointed Saul as king and only God could remove him from office (vv. 13-16).


It seems that David thought the Amalikite was lying, both about his identity and what happened on the battlefield, thinking he could gain some personal award for killing David’s rival. How much respect do I maintain for my leaders, in spite of their shortcomings. I must always remember that lying can bring disaster like it did to this man.

II Samuel 1:1-16 (English Standard Version)

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