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He said to me, ‘Please stand beside me and kill me, for dizziness has seized me because my life is yet whole in me.’ Bible

“dizziness has seized me.” The meaning of the Hebrew word shabats (#07661 שָׁבָץ) is debated. It only occurs here in the Old Testament, but is related to “mix” or “interweave.” The meaning “dizziness” is derived from the Aramaic targums, Peshitta, and Septuagint, and fundamentally agrees with Josephus, who says Saul was so “weak” he could not kill himself (Antiquities, Book 7.1.1). The NET reads, “I’m very dizzy.” The Schocken Bible has “for dizziness has come upon me” (cp. P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., The Anchor Bible: 2 Samuel).

In this story made up by this Amalekite, Saul’s wounds had made him so disoriented and confused he could not successfully kill himself. What really happened is told in 1 Samuel 31:3-5. Saul was wounded so he committed suicide.


Commentary for: 2 Samuel 1:9