Sha’ul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through with it. Otherwise these uncircumcised men will come, run me through and make sport of me.” But his armor-bearer refused, he was too frightened. So Sha’ul took his sword and fell on it.
Sha’ul may have been an enemy to David who had tried to kill him several times, but his death doesn’t feel like a victory. The realities of war in the ancient world and indeed today are more grizzly than most people realize. It is easy to feel like it is always something over there that those people are doing. We imagine, especially in the United States that the brutality of war is confined to the past. The truth is that we are sheltered from this harshness by merit of geography and unwarranted blessings from the Father. The fear and terror that seized Sha’ul and spurred him to take his own life should give us pause. The demonic treatment of him and his sons by the P’lishtim after the battle is another warning of the excesses of war. Man was made to battle for the Divine spark within himself, to subdue this reality and elevate the world, not to subjugate it and plant seeds of despair that would beset all life. May the Father humble and strengthen us to pursue our mission of bringing more light into the world, starting with ourselves.