2 Samuel 1:9
He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.
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(9) Anguish is come upon me.—The word for “anguish” occurs only here, and probably does not have either of the meanings given to it in the text and margin of our version. The Rabbis explain it of cramp, others of giddiness, and the ancient versions differ as to its sense. It indicates probably some effect of his wound which incapacitated him for further combat.

2 Samuel 1:9. For anguish is come upon me — The Hebrew word שׁבצ shabats, here rendered anguish, seems to be wrongly translated in this place. It is rendered ocellata chlamys, by Buxtorf, a wrought, embroidered, or speckled coat of mail: a translation which is countenanced by Exodus 28:4, and Psalm 14:14, where words of the same derivation are rendered broidered coat and raiment of needle-work. The sense of the sentence seems to be, my coat of mail hinders the spear from entering far enough to produce instant death, though my wound is mortal. Thus it is understood by many interpreters. This Amalekite pretended therefore that Saul desired him to draw out the spear from his wound, and to run it through his body with force where the coat of mail would give it a passage.

1:1-10 The blow which opened David's way to the throne was given about the time he had been sorely distressed. Those who commit their concerns to the Lord, will quietly abide his will. It shows that he desired not Saul's death, and he was not impatient to come to the throne.Anguish - The Hebrew word used here occurs nowhere else, and is of doubtful meaning (compare the margin). The rabbis interpret it as a cramp or giddiness. 2-12. a man came out of the camp from Saul—As the narrative of Saul's death, given in the last chapter, is inspired, it must be considered the true account, and the Amalekite's story a fiction of his own, invented to ingratiate himself with David, the presumptive successor to the throne. David's question, "How went the matter?" evinces the deep interest he took in the war, an interest that sprang from feelings of high and generous patriotism, not from views of ambition. The Amalekite, however, judging him to be actuated by a selfish principle, fabricated a story improbable and inconsistent, which he thought would procure him a reward. Having probably witnessed the suicidal act of Saul, he thought of turning it to his own account, and suffered the penalty of his grievously mistaken calculation (compare 2Sa 1:9 with 1Sa 31:4, 5). Stand upon me, i.e. lean upon me by thy weight and force, that the spear may come through me; or, stay by me, i.e. stop thy flight, and tarry so long with me till thou hast killed me.

Anguish is come upon me, i.e. I am in great pain of body, and anguish of mind. Or thus, my coat of mail, or embroidered coat, hath hindered me, that the spear could not pierce into me. Thus divers both Hebrew and other learned expositors understand it.

My life is yet whole in me; I am heart-whole, and not likely to die, as well as not willing to live.

And he said unto me again, stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me,.... Which it can hardly be thought Saul would say; since he might as well have died by the hands of the uncircumcised Philistines, which he endeavoured to avoid, as by the hands of an Amalekite:

for anguish is come upon me; or trembling, as the Targum, not through fear of death, but through fear of falling into the hands of the Philistines, and of being ill used by them. Some render the words, "my embroidered coat", or "breastplate", or "coat of mail", holds me (g), or hinders me from being pierced through with the sword or spear; so Ben Gersom (h):

because my life is yet whole in me: for though he had been wounded by the archers, yet he did not apprehend he had received any mortal wound, but his life was whole in him; and therefore feared he should fall into their hands alive, and be ill treated by them.

(g) "tunica scutulata", Braunius; "ocellata chlamys", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "thorax villosus seu pelliceus", Texelii Phoenix, p. 210. (h) Vid. Braunium de Vest. Sacredot. Heb. l. 1. c. 17. sect. 9.

He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my {d} life is yet whole in me.

(d) I am sorry, because I am yet alive.

9. Stand … upon me] Rather, Stand by me, or, Rise up against me, and similarly in 2 Samuel 1:10. Saul is represented in 2 Samuel 1:6 as still upright, not as lying prostrate on the ground.

anguish] The Heb. word occurs nowhere else, and its sense is doubtful. The Targum renders it agony; the LXX. terrible darkness; the Vulg. distress (angustiae). Probably it means giddiness or cramp, which made it impossible for him to defend himself any longer. The marg. renderings, my coat of mail, or, my embroidered coat, are improbable.

because my life is yet whole in me] A second reason for the request to slay him. He feared that he might fall alive into the hands of the Philistines. Cp. 1 Samuel 31:4.

Verse 9. - Anguish. This word, which occurs only in this place, comes from a root signifying to entwine or knot together. On this account Jewish commentators explain it of cramp, which often follows upon loss of blood; but it is equally possible that it means vertigo, or giddiness, when things seem to dance or interweave themselves together before the eyes. The next words signify, For yet is my life whole within me, and give the reason why Saul asked the Amalekite to slay him. The story is at least plausible. It represents the king as deserted by his army, even to the last man, and with the Philistine cavalry and chariots in close pursuit. He is not mortally wounded, but, as giddiness prevents his escape, there is danger of his falling alive into the enemy's hand; and as they would probably not have killed him, but carried him in triumph through their cities, the way would still have been blocked against David's succession. The fear of this indignity would account for Saul's earnest appeal to the Amalekite to slay him, and, so requested, it seemed right to put him to death, instead of trying to carry him off to a place of safety. But all this was merely to keep up appearances, and in his heart he doubted not that David would regard it as a signal service that his enemy was put out of the way. 2 Samuel 1:9To David's further inquiry how he knew this, the young man replied (2 Samuel 1:6-10), "I happened to come (נקרא equals נקרה) up to the mountains of Gilboa, and saw Saul leaning upon his spear; then the chariots (the war-chariots for the charioteers) and riders were pressing upon him, and he turned round and saw me, ... and asked me, Who art thou? and I said, An Amalekite; and he said to me, Come hither to me, and slay me, for the cramp (שׁבץ according to the Rabbins) hath seized me (sc., so that I cannot defend myself, and must fall into the hands of the Philistines); for my soul (my life) is still whole in me. Then I went to him, and slew him, because I knew that after his fall he would not live; and took the crown upon his head, and the bracelet upon his arm, and brought them to my lord" (David). "After his fall" does not mean "after he had fallen upon his sword or spear" (Clericus), for this is neither implied in נפלו nor in על־חניתו נשׁען ("supported, i.e., leaning upon his spear"), nor are we at liberty to transfer it from 1 Samuel 31:4 into this passage; but "after his defeat," i.e., so that he would not survive this calamity. This statement is at variance with the account of the death of Saul in 1 Samuel 31:3.; and even apart from this it has an air of improbability, or rather of untruth in it, particularly in the assertion that Saul was leaning upon his spear when the chariots and horsemen of the enemy came upon him, without having either an armour-bearer or any other Israelitish soldier by his side, so that he had to turn to an Amalekite who accidentally came by, and to ask him to inflict the fatal wound. The Amalekite invented this, in the hope of thereby obtaining the better recompense from David. The only part of his statement which is certainly true, is that he found the king lying dead upon the field of battle, and took off the crown and armlet; since he brought these to David. But it is by no means certain whether he was present when Saul expired, or merely found him after he was dead.
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