1 Samuel 31:4
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me." But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.

New Living Translation
Saul groaned to his armor bearer, "Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to run me through and taunt and torture me." But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it.

English Standard Version
Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.

New American Standard Bible
Then Saul said to his armor bearer, "Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised will come and pierce me through and make sport of me." But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it.

King James Bible
Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through with it, or these uncircumcised men will come and run me through and torture me." But his armor-bearer would not do it because he was terrified. Then Saul took his sword and fell on it.

International Standard Version
Saul told his armor bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through with it, or these uncircumcised people will come and run me through and make sport of me." But his armor bearer did not want to do it because he was very frightened, so Saul took the sword and fell on it.

NET Bible
Saul said to his armor bearer, "Draw your sword and stab me with it! Otherwise these uncircumcised people will come, stab me, and torture me." But his armor bearer refused to do it, because he was very afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it.

New Heart English Bible
Then Saul said to his armor bearer, "Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me." But his armor bearer would not; for he was terrified. Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell on it.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Saul told his armorbearer, "Draw your sword! Stab me, or these godless men will come, stab me, and make fun of me." But his armorbearer refused because he was terrified. So Saul took the sword and fell on it.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Then said Saul to his armour-bearer: 'Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and make a mock of me.' But his armour-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell upon it.

New American Standard 1977
Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and pierce me through and make sport of me.” But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword and thrust me through with it lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not, for he was sore afraid. Therefore, Saul took his sword and fell upon it.

King James 2000 Bible
Then said Saul unto his armorbearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armorbearer would not; for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

American King James Version
Then said Saul to his armor bearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armor bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell on it.

American Standard Version
Then said Saul to his armorbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armorbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell upon it.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Then Saul said to his armourbearer: Draw thy sword, and kill me: lest these uncircumcised come, and slay me, and mock at me. And his armourbearer would not: for he was struck with exceeding great fear. Then Saul took his sword, and fell upon it.

Darby Bible Translation
Then said Saul to his armour-bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through with it; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armour-bearer would not; for he was much afraid. So Saul took the sword and fell on it.

English Revised Version
Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell upon it.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then said Saul to his armor-bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through with it; lest these uncircumcised should come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armor-bearer would not; for he was exceedingly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

World English Bible
Then Saul said to his armor bearer, "Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me!" But his armor bearer would not; for he was terrified. Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell on it.

Young's Literal Translation
and Saul saith to the bearer of his weapons, 'Draw thy sword, and pierce me with it, lest they come -- these uncircumcised -- and have pierced me, and rolled themselves on me;' and the bearer of his weapons hath not been willing, for he is greatly afraid, and Saul taketh the sword, and falleth upon it.
Study Bible
Saul's Overthrow and Death
3The battle went heavily against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was badly wounded by the archers. 4Then Saul said to his armor bearer, "Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised will come and pierce me through and make sport of me." But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him.…
Cross References
Judges 9:54
Then he called quickly to the young man, his armor bearer, and said to him, "Draw your sword and kill me, so that it will not be said of me, 'A woman slew him.'" So the young man pierced him through, and he died.

Judges 14:3
Then his father and his mother said to him, "Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?" But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she looks good to me."

1 Samuel 14:6
Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, "Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the LORD will work for us, for the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few."

1 Samuel 17:26
Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?"

1 Samuel 17:36
"Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God."

1 Samuel 31:5
When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him.

2 Samuel 1:6
The young man who told him said, "By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and behold, Saul was leaning on his spear. And behold, the chariots and the horsemen pursued him closely.

2 Samuel 1:10
"So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown which was on his head and the bracelet which was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord."

2 Samuel 21:12
then David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the open square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them on the day the Philistines struck down Saul in Gilboa.

1 Kings 16:18
When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the king's house and burned the king's house over him with fire, and died,
Treasury of Scripture

Then said Saul to his armor bearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armor bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell on it.

Draw

Judges 9:54 Then he called hastily to the young man his armor bearer, and said …

1 Chronicles 10:4 Then said Saul to his armor bearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me …

uncircumcised

1 Samuel 14:6 And Jonathan said to the young man that bore his armor, Come, and …

1 Samuel 17:26,36 And David spoke to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall …

2 Samuel 1:20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest …

Jeremiah 9:25,26 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will punish all them …

Ezekiel 44:7-9 In that you have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised …

abuse me. or, mock me
he was sore

2 Samuel 1:9,10 He said to me again, Stand, I pray you, on me, and slay me: for anguish …

2 Samuel 17:23 And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled …

1 Kings 16:27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he showed…

a sword. Eth hacherve, rather, `the sword,' i.e, his armour bearer's, who, according to the Jews, was Doeg; and if so, when Saul and his executioner fell by the same sword with which they massacred the priests of God.

(4) His armourbearer.--Jewish tradition tells us that this faithful armourbearer was Doeg, the Edomite, and that the sword which Saul took apparently from the hand of the armourbearer was the sword with which Doeg had massacred the priests at Gibeon and at Nob.

Lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me.--"Even in Saul's dying speech there is something of that religious formalism which marked his character after his fall from God, and which is a striking sign of spiritual blindness. He censures the Philistines as 'uncircumcised.'"--Wordsworth.

Saul had a strong consciousness of the sacredness of his person as the Lord's anointed; as it has been well said of him, no descendant of a long line of so-styled Christian or Catholic sovereigns has held a loftier claim of personal inviolability.

And abuse me.--He remembered how these same Philistines in former years had treated the hero Samson when he fell into their hands.

His armourbearer would not.--Love and devotion to his master we can well imagine stayed his hand from carrying out his fallen master's last terrible command. If the armourbearer--as the Jewish tradition above referred to asserts--was indeed Doeg the Edomite, the two, the king and his confidential officer, had been fast friends for years. Some dread of the after consequences, too, may have weighed with the royal armour-bearer, as he was to a certain extent responsible for the king's life. What possibly he dreaded actually came to pass in the case of the Amalekite who told David that he was the one who inflicted the fatal stroke when the king was dying; as a guerdon for his act, David had him at once put to death for having put forth his hand to destroy the Lord's anointed.

A sword.--It was a heavy weapon, a war sword, answering to the great epe d'armes of the Middle Ages. This he took from the reluctant hands of his faithful follower, and placing the hilt firmly on the ground, he threw the weight of his body on the point.

In 2Samuel 1:6-10 we have another account of the death. There an Amalekite bearing the royal insignia of the late king, the crown royal and the well-known bracelet of Saul, comes to David at Ziklag after the fatal fight, and recounts how, finding the king leaning on his spear--possibly, as Bunsen supposes, "lying on the ground propping his weary head with the nervously-clutched spear," exhausted and seized with "cramp" (this is the Rabbinical translation of the word rendered "anguish"), at his urgent request, slew him. Most commentators--for instance, Kiel, Lange, Bishop Hervey, &c.--regard the Amalekite's story as an invention framed to extract a rich gift from David, who, the savage Arab thought, would be rejoiced to hear of his great enemy's fall. If this be so, then we must suppose that the Amalekite wandering over the field of battle strewn with the slain on the night which succeeded the battle, came upon the body of Saul, and, attracted by the glitter of the golden ornaments, stripped off the precious insignia, and hastened with his lying story to David. Ewald, however, sees no reason to doubt the trustworthiness of the Amalekite's story; in fact, the two accounts may well be harmonised. Stanley graphically paints the scene after he had fallen on his sword, and his faithful armourbearer had in despairing sorrow killed himself also. "His armourbearer lies dead beside him; on his head the royal crown, on his arm the royal bracelet; . . . the huge spear is still in his hand; he is leaning peacefully on it. He has received his death-blow either from the enemy (1Samuel 31:3), or from his own sword (1Samuel 31:4). The dizziness and darkness of death is upon him. At that moment a wild Amalekite, lured probably to the field by the hope of spoil, came up and finished the work which the arrows of the Philistines and the sword of Saul himself had all but accomplished."--Jewish Church, Lect. 21. The words of the next verse (5) do not contradict this possible explanation. The armourbearer, seeing the king pierced with the arrows and then falling on his own sword, may well have imagined his master dead, and so put an end to his own life. But Saul, though mortally wounded, may have rallied again for a brief space; in that brief space the Amalekite may have come up and finished the bloody work; then, after the king was dead, he probably stripped the royal insignia from the lifeless corpse.

So Saul died.--This is one of the very rare instances of self-destruction among the chosen people. It seems to have been almost unknown among the Israelites. Prior to Saul the only recorded example is that of Samson, and his was a noble act of self-devotion--the hero sacrificed his life in order to compass the destruction of a great crowd of men, powerful and influential foes of his dear country. His death in the great Dagon Temple at Gaza ranks, as it has been well said, with the heroism of one dying in battle rather than with cases of despairing suicide. There is another instance after the days of Saul--that of the wise privy councillor of King David, Ahithophel, who, in a paroxysm of bitter mortification, we read, went and hanged himself. There is another in the Gospel story familiar to us all. Theologians are divided in their judgment on King Saul. S. Bernard, for instance, thinks that Saul was lost for ever. Corn, Lapide, followed by Bishop Wordsworth, has no kindly thought for the great first king. The Jewish historian Josephus, on the contrary, writes in warm and glowing terms of the patriotic devotion with which Saul went to meet his end. Many of the Rabbis sympathise with Josephus in his estimate of the unhappy monarch. Without in any way justifying the fatal act which closed the dark tragedy of his reign, we may well plead in extenuation the awful position in which the king found himself that evening after Gilboa had been fought and lost, and we may well remember the similar conduct of Brutus, Cassius, and the younger Cato, and call to our minds what posterity has said of these noble heathens, and how far they have judged them guilty of causeless self-murder.

Well would it be for men when they sit in judgment on Saul, and on other great ones who have failed, as they think, in the discharge of their duties to God as well as to man--well would it be for once to imitate what has been rightly called "the fearless human sympathy of the Biblical writers," and to remember how the "man after God's own heart," in strains never to be forgotten, wrote his touching lament over King Saul, dwelling only on the Saul, the mighty conqueror, the delight of his people, the father of his beloved and faithful friend, like him in life, united with him in death; and how with these words--gentle as they are lovely, inspired by the Holy Spirit--the Bible closes the record of the life, and leaves the first great king, the first anointed of the Lord, in the hands of his God.

Then said Saul unto his armourbearer,.... Who, the Jews (b) say, was Doeg the Edomite, promoted to this office for slaying the priests:

draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; for if he was wounded, yet not mortally, and it is certain he did not so apprehend it. It is much the sword of the armourbearer should be sheathed in a battle; but perhaps he was preparing for flight, and so had put it up in its scabbard:

lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me; lest they should not dispatch him at once, but put him to a lingering and torturing death, and insult him, and mock at him, as they did Samson:

but his armourbearer would not, for he was sore afraid; to lay his hand on the king the Lord's anointed, to take away his life, being more scrupulous of doing that, if this was Doeg, than of slaying the priests of the Lord; or he might be afraid of doing this, since should he survive this action, he would be called to an account by the Israelites, and be put to death for killing the king:

therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it; or rather "the sword", the sword of his armourbearer, and so was a suicide: the Jews endeavour to excuse this fact of Saul, because he knew he should die in battle from the words of Samuel; and being pressed sore by the archers, he saw it was impossible to escape out of their hands and therefore judged it better to kill himself than to fall by the hands of the uncircumcised; but these excuses will not do. Josephus (c) denies he killed himself; that though he attempted it, his sword would not pierce through him, and that he was killed by the Amalekite, and that that was a true account he gave to David in the following chapter; though it seems rather to be a lie, to curry favour with David, and that Saul did destroy himself.

(b) Hieron. Trad. Heb. in lib. Reg. fol. 77. B. (c) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 14. sect. 7. 31:1-7 We cannot judge of the spiritual or eternal state of any by the manner of their death; for in that, there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked. Saul, when sorely wounded, and unable to resist or to flee, expressed no concern about his never-dying soul; but only desired that the Philistines might not insult over him, or put him to pain, and he became his own murderer. As it is the grand deceit of the devil, to persuade sinners, under great difficulties, to fly to this last act of desperation, it is well to fortify the mind against it, by a serious consideration of its sinfulness before God, and its miserable consequences in society. But our security is not in ourselves. Let us seek protection from Him who keepeth Israel. Let us watch and pray; and take unto us the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
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OT History: 1 Samuel 31:4 Then said Saul to his armor bearer (1Sa iSam 1 Sam i sa) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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