Monday, June 12, 2017

The Death of King Saul Quiz



Analytical Question:  How did King Saul die?

Methodology:  Statement Analysis of the interview and interrogation conducted by David.  

I had some fun recently in challenging some analysts on the historical death of King Saul of ancient Israel. I've received some fine work from analysts including an instructor from whom I will post some of his work later.  

Background 

From Answers in Genesis:

"The Bible was written over a period of roughly 2,000 years by 40 different authors from three continents, who wrote in three different languages. These facts alone make the Bible one of a kind, but there are many more amazing details that defy natural explanation. 

Shepherds, kings, scholars, fishermen, prophets, a military general, a cupbearer, and a priest all penned portions of Scripture. They had different immediate purposes for writing, whether recording history, giving spiritual and moral instruction, or pronouncing judgment. They composed their works from palaces, prisons, the wilderness, and places of exile while writing history, laws, poetry, prophecy, and proverbs. In the process they laid bare their personal emotions, expressing anger, frustration, joy, and love. 
Yet despite this marvelous array of topics and goals, the Bible displays a flawless internal consistency. It never contradicts itself or its common theme."
But how would it stand to the scrutiny of Statement Analysis?  Some of you are familiar with "Linguistic Archeology", the brilliant book by Avinoam Sapir.  But what about other passages?


Here is the Statement Analysis Quiz that I presented.  

The book of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel have what appears to be a conflicting account of how King Saul died.  

I asked analysts to avoid all commentaries and instruction in languages, and seek an answer solely using the principles of Statement Analysis.  

A.  The first account says that King Saul committed suicide. 
B.  The second account says that King Saul died of "assisted suicide" or murder at the hands of a reluctant enemy.  

I asked the analysts to keep in mind the following:

1.  The difference could be the Parenthetical View.  

This is where we are given a conclusive account but later the author revisits it with more detail, or "amplification."  We see this not only in the Bible but in truthful accounts within statements.  It is where one feels the necessity of revisiting and amplifying a response. 

2.  The difference could be an error in the Bible.  This is something that would challenge the Scripture's own claim of Divine origin as well as centuries of research.  

3.  The answer could be...something else. 

I asked them to focus upon David's interview and interrogation of the enemy combatant who claimed to have assisted Saul in suicide.  This male did, in fact, bring to David evidence of Saul's death. 

I received back some excellent work.  

After you've had a chance at it, I will post analysis.  


I.  The Statements
II.  The Interview and Interrogation by David 






I.  The Statements


1.  The historical account.  

1 Samuel 31:1 - 6
Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.
And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul's sons.
And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers.
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.
And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.
So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.

This account is your reference point.  Please note that it has specific details along with the report of communication.  The italics show the transcript of the statement.  
We later learn that the Philistines did, in deed, mutilate and parade Saul's body until Israeli soldiers bravely recaptured it.  

2.  The Second Account is the next chapter, divided for us as 2 Samuel 1: 1- 16.  
For context:  The Amalekites were sworn enemies of Israel and known for extreme brutality.  
Also important to know:  Saul had made various attempts at murdering David, but David repeatedly spared Saul's life, including coming upon Saul while Saul slept.  Had David killed Saul, he would have been safe from the murderous king, but he may have also ascended to the throne that had been promised him.  
David was a complex character and a good example of humanity as we see his great successes as well as his most humiliating failures.  His life is not a typically written biography, but an account of his highs, lows, greatness and crimes, with no glossing nor sugar coating. 
At this point, I asked analysts to avoid debating David's pronounced punishment of the subject of his interview and interrogation, though it will be useful later in profiling.  I have added italics for the purpose of identifying the transcript.  

2 Samuel 1: 1-16 

 Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag;
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.
And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? 
And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped.
And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me
And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.
And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?
And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him.
And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.
And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.
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.
10 So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.
11 Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him:
12 And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.
13 And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite.
14 And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?
15 And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died.
16 And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the Lord's anointed.


Here is the same passage as transcripts.  Please note that the record itself is important as it uses "said" and "told" which should be recognized in communication analysis. 

David:  From whence comest thou? 
Subject: Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped.
 David:  How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me

Subject:   That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.
David:  How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?
Subject:   As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I. And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.
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.
So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.

(break)  This is now a follow up interview.  This is where we often get our confessions.  Some are done 24-48 hours later, but I have had success with even shorter time frames.  The key is to allow the subject time to process.  

Note the change in communication.  The interview now includes accusation (interrogation) 

Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him:
And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.
 David:  Whence art thou? 
Subject:  I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite.
 David:  "How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?"

David (to a soldier)  Go near, and fall upon him
David:  Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the Lord's anointed.


If you wish, you can use a modern English translation.  This is to echo some of the work we do in second language analysis where close detail nuance is sometimes avoided in exchange for broader general principles.  

Next up, Statement Analysis to learn how King Saul died. 

















4 comments:

Amyl Nitrite said...

Saul was in mount Gilboa. This individual happened “by chance” to come upon him there. He stated that Saul leaned upon his spear. Then the individual stated that “the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him”. He was aware that the chariots and horsemen were following hard after him. How would he know this if he came upon Saul by chance. He stated that Saul “looked behind him”, the exact place where the horsemen and chariots were placed by the individual. He called unto him and when Saul asked him who he was, he said he was an Amalekite.
Then he stated that Saul “said” unto him again. (This is softer than “told”) except he indicated that Saul had “said” this “again”. This means there was a conversation between the two that he did not share with David. This person indicated that he came out of Israel and escaped and knew there were many dead and many that had left.
The individual found it important to let David know that he had come upon Saul by chance. If he was escaping too and came upon Saul by chance, it may not have entered his language immediately, he would have eventually been asked by David where he was from, and at that point he would have explained that he was an Amalekite. Except he knew he would be asked and it was important to him to explain that he came upon Saul “by chance”. I don’t believe this was a chance encounter though.
Saul called out to him by looking back, the same location where the chariots and horsemen were following after him. At this point there is a lot of sensitivity as he started explaining why he slew him.
“So” I “stood” upon him and slew him, “because” I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen.
This person knew that Saul was already wounded by an archer. Not only that, but he never explained how he knew that Saul’s son was dead too. Because David asked a compound question, the individual only responded how he came to know that Saul was dead.
When David asked him again “where” he was from, he responded that he was the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. He did not answer the question.
Is there a possibility that Saul was killed at his request, but not by a reluctant Amalekite?

Miranda said...

SCAN would highlights tons if stuff in this section regarding the need to explain WHY something happened.
"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.
So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord."

My conclusion: He was outright murdered.

"Because my life is still whole in me"...something's not right with this line, why would a "still-alive" person feel the need to explain that they are still alive after already in conversation with the person?
I think the 2nd guy killed Saul & robbed him of his jewels.

Anonymous said...

To clarify, I think the 2nd guy shows a need to convince that he only "assisted" an already dying Saul to commit suicide. Methinks the 2nd guy outright murdered him and seemed to have actually sought Saul out since he says he happened upon Saul "by chance".

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the second guy witnessed Saul and his armor bearer kill themselves, then went and stood over Saul and took the jewels. He never mentions the armor bearer in his account to David.