The Opportunist 

2 Samuel 1:8
“And he said to me, ‘Who are you? ’ So I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’”

Some confusion has arisen from the two seemingly contradictory records of the death of Saul. 1 Samuel closes by recording the incident, and explaining that a wounded Saul, no doubt fearful of being captured, tortured, and brutally killed, fell upon his sword, taking his own life. Now, as 2 Samuel begins, we read that in agony, Saul pleaded for a young Amelekite to end his life. The law of contradiction is not broken by joining the two accounts, and concluding that when Saul fell on his sword he did not die immediately. So he pleaded with the young man to end his suffering. However, based upon the account in 2 Samuel there seems a more likely conclusion. This young Amalekite was something of an opportunist, and lied about what actually happened.

The Amalekites were enemies of Israel dating as far back as the wilderness journey. They were a nomadic group that survived by raiding and plundering the unsuspecting. While David and his men were out fighting, it was the Amalekites who attacked their camp, and took the women and children captive. They were known for attacking the weak, and for looting the battlefields. A more likely account of what happened, is the record of 1Samuel. It relates how the incident really went down, and this young man simply looted the dead. When he came across the body of Saul, the crown and bracelet were not enough of a prize, and he was hoping for a reward from David.

In short, this young man was pretending to be something he was not, in order to gain favor with the people of God. The New Testament warns of such men, calling them wolves or hypocrites. We might call them sharks or opportunists. We need to beware of their tactics so we are not led astray by them. More importantly, we need to be sure we are not one of them. It is wrong to play the Christian game, in order to get something. If you have a Christian emblem on your business, but you have no real desire to do business that glorifies the Lord, you are much like this Amalekite. If you are going to church, pretending to be a Christian, in order to find a date, you are acting like the Amalekite. Instead of being an opportunist, seeking to get something by pretending to follow Christ, why not surrender all to Him and become a true follower of His today.

Pastor Jim


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