RE: [asa] (euthanasia) morals/ethics

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Thu Oct 22 2009 - 16:35:21 EDT

Hi David-

Good catch. Maybe the guy lied (it looks that way). In any case, David killed him based on his testimony. But I think based on the guys testimony, David should have praised him for serving King Saul.

In reading the previous chapter as you say, 1 Sam. 31, again we see Saul asking his armor bearer to finish him off. So it is basically the same story. The guy wouldn't do it, so Saul did suicide. If the guy did do it, and survived, David would have killed him for the same reason, based on David's judgment.

You say Saul is not a good example, yet it wasn't condemned, which leads one to think it was standard practice for war (kill yourself if wounded to deny the enemy the pleasure and avoid torture). Oh my, what would a Catholic say? Who knows what would have happened if he would have tried to live? Maybe God would have came through with a miracle?

1 Samuel 31
Saul Takes His Life
 1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines pressed hard after Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. 3 The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically.
 4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me."
      But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. 6 So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.

-----Original Message-----
From: David Campbell []
Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2009 1:20 PM
To: Dehler, Bernie
Subject: Re: [asa] (euthanasia) morals/ethics

Check the previous chapter, which indicates that this guy was lying
and that Saul actually committed suicide. However, the principle for
David was to distance himself from any appearance of having condoned
violence against Saul, not whether mercy killing is appropriate.
There is an actual case of "mercy" killing in the case of Gideon's son
Abimelech, in Judges ca. ch. 9. However, the reason he gives for
requesting to be killed is to dodge the ignomy of being killed by a
woman rather than to be put out of physical misery. Neither Saul not
Abimelech are good examples, but that doesn't make them 100% wrong, so
these texts don't help.

Confidently deciding that someone would be better off dead is highly
problematic, and cannot be glibly assumed in the argument. People
apparently beyond hope of recovery do sometimes revive. People who
are functional but who feel like there's nothing to live for might
benefit more from treatment for depression (one of the best being
getting involved in something worthwhile) than from assisted suicide.

But perhaps here, as in the case of creationism, the problem is in
looking to the Bible superficially as a source of laws rather than as
a call to self-examination. Whether to pull the plug is less central
than whether it's done to get an inheritance quicker or to save on
bills or to avoid the bother of providing care, or in a genuine belief
that it is what's best. The definition of "best" is also key-physical
comfort is not the most important thing.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Oct 22 16:35:29 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Oct 22 2009 - 16:35:29 EDT