2 Samuel 1:18

18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):

2 Samuel 1:18 in Other Translations

18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)
18 and he said it should be taught to the people of Judah; behold, it is written in the Book of Jashar. He said:
18 and he commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in
18 and gave orders that everyone in Judah learn it by heart. Yes, it's even inscribed in The Book of Jashar.
18 and he ordered that the Judahites be taught [The Song of] the Bow. It is written in the Book of Jashar:

2 Samuel 1:18 Meaning and Commentary

2 Samuel 1:18

(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah [the use] of
the bow
These words, with what follow in this verse, are rightly put into a parenthesis, since they do not begin nor make any part of the elegiac song, or lamentation of David; and are here inserted to show, that, amidst his sorrow and lamentation, he was not unmindful of the welfare of the people, and to provide for their defence and security; and therefore gave orders that care should be taken, especially in the tribe of Judah, which was his own tribe, and where he had the greatest authority, and for whom he might have the chiefest concern, that they should be trained up in military exercises, learn the art of war, and the use of every weapon of war, particularly of the bow, which, being a principal one, may be put for all; and which may be the rather mentioned, because the Philistines were expert in the use of it, and seemed to have done much execution with it in the recent battle, see ( 1 Samuel 31:3 ) . They are said F16 to be the inventors of it; though Pliny F17 ascribes it to others; and it may be the people of Israel and of Judah had of late neglected to learn the use of it, and to make use of it, and instead of that had taken to other sort of arms in fighting; for that that was not unknown to them, or wholly disused, is clear from this song, ( 2 Samuel 1:22 ) ; see also ( 1 Chronicles 12:2 ) . Moreover, as the Philistines, especially the Cherethites, were expert in archery, David found ways and means to get some of them afterwards into his service, and by whom he might improve his people in the art, see ( 2 Samuel 8:18 ) ; though some F18 are of opinion that the word "keshet", or bow, was the title of the following lamentation or song, taken from the mention of Jonathan's bow in it; which song the children of Judah were to be taught to sing; but then, as has been observed by some, for this there would have been no need of the following reference, since the whole this song is here recorded:

behold, it is written in book of Jasher);
which the Targum calls the book of the law; and Jarchi and Ben Gersom restrain it to the book of Genesis, the book of the upright, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and suppose respect is had to the prophecy concerning Judah, ( Genesis 49:8 Genesis 49:9 ) , but Kimchi, extending it to all the five books of Moses, adds his blessing, in ( Deuteronomy 33:7 ) . In the Arabic version it is explained of the book of Samuel, interpreted the book of songs, as if it was a collection of songs; which favours the above sense. Jerom F19 interprets it of the same book, the book of the righteous prophets, Samuel, Gad, and Nathan: hut this book seems to have been a public register or annals, in which were recorded memorable actions in any age, and had its name from the uprightness and faithfulness in which it was kept; and in this were set down the order of David for the teaching the children of Judah the use of the bow, and perhaps the method which he directed to for instruction in it; (See Gill on Joshua 10:13).


F16 Bedford's Chronology, p. 245.
F17 Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 56.
F18 See Gregory's Notes and Observations ch. 1. and Weemse of the Judicial Laws, c. 44. p. 171.
F19 Trad. Heb. in 2 lib. Reg. fol. 77. D.

2 Samuel 1:18 In-Context

16 For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the LORD’s anointed.’ ”
17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan,
18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):
19 “A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel. How the mighty have fallen!
20 “Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.

Cross References 1

  • 1. Joshua 10:13; 1 Samuel 31:3
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