2 Samuel 1:2-16
It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth on his head…
1. A scrutiny touching the veracity of this Amalekite's long harangue: Though I find some learned men patronising this Amalekite, and purging him from lying to David, saying his story was a real truth, for Saul had indeed fallen upon his own weapon, but his coat of mail had hindered it from piercing deep enough to be so speedily a mortal wound, but that the Philistines might come and catch him alive and abuse him; and though it be said (when his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead) he slew himself (1 Samuel 31:5). Which yet Dr: Lightfoot senseth thus: When he saw Saul had given himself so deadly a wound, he did the like, and died indeed, but Saul's wound was not of so quick a dispatch, therefore he desired this man to kill him outright. Notwithstanding all this, yet upon a more serious inquest into particulars, this whole story seems more probably to be a pack of lies, one stitched to another for these reasons: — 'Tis altogether improbable, either that Saul, after he had given himself such a deadly wound, whereof he was ready to die, should be able to call him, and spend so many words in talking with him; or that this man should dare to stay so long in this discourse with Saul, seeing he also was fleeing (with the whole army) to save his own life, which he might have lost by making this halt, had the Philistines overtaken him in their pursuit (which Saul feared for himself) during this parley. Nor can it be probable that Saul should desire to die rather by the hands of an uncircumcised Amalekite, than of the uncircumcised Philistines which he so much feared. He could not put any such difference between them, seeing Amalek was more accursed and devoted to destruction than the Philistines. 'Tis expressly said, that Saul fell upon his own sword (1 Samuel 31:4), but this fellow saith, he fell upon his own spear (ver. 6). 'Tis as expressly said, that Saul's armour-bearer, being yet alive, saw that Saul was dead (1 Samuel 31:5), which doubtless he would thoroughly know before he did kill himself. Had the armour-bearer been yet alive when Saul called this Amalekite to dispatch him, he would certainly have hindered him from doing that which himself durst not do (1 Samuel 31:4). Nor could that be more probable, which he told David, "I took the crown that was upon his head" (ver. 10), but looked rather like a lie, for it is not likely Saul would wear his crown upon his head in battle; this would make him a fair mark to his enemies, whom they chiefly aimed at. A wise general will rather disguise himself (1 Kings 22:30) than be so fondly exposed, etc. The scripture of truth does manifestly ascribe Saul's death to be his own action (1 Samuel 31:4, 5), even to his failing upon his own sword, which must be of more credit with us, than an artificially composed speech of an accursed Amalekite, who had taught his tongue to tell lies (Jeremiah 9:5), and all to curry favour with David, from whom he promised to himself some great preferment by thus glozing with him.
2. A just hand of God on this Amalekite for his lying.
Parallel VersesKJV: It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance.
WEB: it happened on the third day, that behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul, with his clothes torn, and earth on his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance.