Lesson 9: The Death of King Saul – Dying Well
Discussion Starter: Have any of you ever known someone who committed suicide?
How do you feel about suicide? Is that something that’s okay to do?
How do you feel about assisted suicide, or euthanasia?
Case 1. Suicide
Read Matthew 27:1-5.
Why did Judas hang himself? Judas hung himself because he felt guilty and felt that there was no hope for himself. He didn’t think he could live with the knowledge of what he had done.
What are some reasons for why other people kill themselves? Many people commit suicide out of remorse, a low self-esteem, a chemical imbalance or mental breakdown, or a belief that things will never improve for them.
Does the Scripture give any indication that Judas should have hanged himself? Of course the Bible does not condone Judas’ action here.
What should Judas have done instead of hanging himself? Our God is one of hope and restoration. If only Judas would have sought God’s forgiveness, he would have discovered healing for his soul and new life in the one he had betrayed. Suicide is never the way out of our problems. The way out is to give our problems to God and to put our trust in Him.
Case 2. Euthanasia (Assisted Suicide)
Read 2 Samuel 1:1-16.
Does the Scripture say that Saul could have lived after being wounded in battle?
Even though Saul was going to die, what is David’s reaction to the man who helped Saul die?
Reasoning from this passage, should people who are critically injured or terminally ill be helped to die?
What can be done for those who are near death? (Read Proverbs 31:4-7)
Is there any difference in the matter of euthanasia between a conscious person and a person who is in a persistent coma?
It’s pretty clear that Saul was going to die, yet the man who assisted Saul in his death is himself condemned. The indication seems to be that we can comfort those who are dying and try to ease their pain as much as possible (as seen in the Proverbs passage), but God has not left it up to us to decide when we or someone else dies. Only God is sovereign over life and death and we cannot assist in someone’s request to die. This is the same for persons who are in persistent vegetative states. God has not given us the right to decide when it is time for ourselves or another to die, no matter what the circumstances.
Case 3. The Death Penalty
David killed the man who killed Saul. Was that right or wrong?
Read Genesis 9:6.
What does God say should happen to anyone who kills someone else? They should be killed.
Read John 8:2-11.
Did the woman commit a crime?
Was the woman deserving of death?
Why didn’t Jesus allow her to be killed?
Is there any difference between this woman and convicted criminals today who are facing the death penalty?
The woman was guilty and she did deserve death under the Old Testament Law. Jesus does not dispute these facts. He does, however, prevent her death for two reasons. One is that He knows that the sinful crowd around her were not competent judges. They were using her death merely as a means to carry out their own attack on Jesus’ character. Secondly, Jesus was looking for this woman’s repentance more than her punishment. She can’t repent and turn back to God if she’s dead! The same is true for criminals today. There are many who deserve death, but wouldn’t it be more Godly to let them live out their lives and give them as much time to repent as possible? Remember, God does not seek our punishment (If He did, we’d all be dead already), but our reconciliation.
Perhaps the difference between the Old and New Testaments in this regard is that the Old Testament is more focused on Law whereas the New is more focused on grace.