A Biblical Assisted Suicide, and the Consequences (2 Samuel 1:6-10, 14-16)

2 Samuel 1:6-10, 14-16

6 And the young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear, and behold, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him. 7 And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 8 And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ 9 And he said to me ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’ 10 So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”


14 David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” 15 Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go, execute him.” And he struck him down so that he died. 16 And David said to him, “Your blood be on your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord’s anointed.’ ”


            Here is a passage that I have never personally heard cited in the debate over assisted suicide, but which might indeed apply.  A young Amalekite claims to have come across King Saul who was wounded, but not dead.  (It is possible, by the way, that this man is lying to make himself look good.)  The Amalekite says that Saul cried out to him to be merciful to him and end his life before the Philistines reach him.  Apparently thinking he is doing something good, the Amalekite claims to have put Saul out of his misery and then come to report to David.


            David, for his part, pronounces immediate judgment upon the Amalekite.  Saul was alive according to the claims of this young man, and the Amalekite reached out and took Saul’s life.  David seems to have no room in his thinking for this to be OK, even if Saul was miserable, even if Saul was already dying, even if it would prevent Saul’s further suffering.  What mattered in this instance, according to David, was that the young man had slain the Lord’s anointed, and this was simply unacceptable, regardless of circumstances.


            Of course, one might try to argue that this was a special circumstance because of Saul’s rank as King.  I would counter, however, that, according to the testimony, the king had requested this assistance.  The problem is, this assistance should not be sought nor should it be rendered.  The Amalekite falls as a murderer because he stretched out his hand to take another life without there being any of the extenuating circumstances in which the Lord will allow this to be done (i.e. in battle, for justice, in self-defense, etc). 


            It seems that, if David is acting as God would have him act (which seems to be the intended teaching of the author of 2 Samuel), we should learn that God does not want us to take action to end the life of another person made in his image simply because that person wants us to.  God is the Master of life and death.  God has written every last one of our days that he has ordained for us (Psalm 139:16).  It is right to leave this issue in the hands of our God.


            It is always possible that you are reading this after having chosen to assist another’s death, and you feel incredibly guilty over what you have done.  Remember that the Lord’s mercy is great.  Jesus Christ died as an atoning sacrifice for all of the sins of all of God’s people.  If you will repent of your sin, confess it to Christ, turn to Jesus and trust in him for mercy, he will forgive you.  This does not excuse anything, but it will result in you being cleansed for your sins and made into a child of God.