2 Samuel 1

David Hears of Saul’s Death

1 After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days.
2 On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.
3 “Where have you come from?” David asked him. He answered, “I have escaped from the Israelite camp.”
4 “What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.” “The men fled from the battle,” he replied. “Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”
5 Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”
6 “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit.
7 When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’
8 “He asked me, ‘Who are you?’ “ ‘An Amalekite,’ I answered.
9 “Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’
10 “So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.”
11 Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them.
12 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
13 David said to the young man who brought him the report, “Where are you from?” “I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,” he answered.
14 David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed?”
15 Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died.
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.’ ”

David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan

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[a] 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.
21 “Mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, may no showers fall on your terraced fields.[b]For there the shield of the mighty was despised, the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.
22 “From the blood of the slain, from the flesh of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.
23 Saul and Jonathan— in life they were loved and admired, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
24 “Daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.
25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.
27 “How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war have perished!”

2 Samuel 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

This book is the history of the reign of king David. It relates his victories, the growth of the prosperity of Israel, and his reformation of the state of religion. With these events are recorded the grievous sins he committed, and the family as well as public troubles with which he was punished. We here meet with many things worthy of imitation, and many that are written for our warning. The history of king David is given in Scripture with much faithfulness, and from it he appears, to those who fairly balance his many virtues and excellent qualities against his faults, to have been a great and good man.

Tidings brought to David of the death of Saul. (1-10) The Amalekite is put to death. (11-16) David's lamentation for Saul and Jonathan. (17-27)

Verses 1-10 The blow which opened David's way to the throne was given about the time he had been sorely distressed. Those who commit their concerns to the Lord, will quietly abide his will. It shows that he desired not Saul's death, and he was not impatient to come to the throne.

Verses 11-16 David was sincere in his mourning for Saul; and all with him humbled themselves under the hand of God, laid so heavily upon Israel by this defeat. The man who brought the tidings, David put to death, as a murderer of his prince. David herein did not do unjustly; the Amalekite confessed the crime. If he did as he said, he deserved to die for treason; and his lying to David, if indeed it were a lie, proved, as sooner or later that sin will prove, lying against himself. Hereby David showed himself zealous for public justice, without regard to his own private interest.

Verses 17-27 Kasheth, or "the bow," probably was the title of this mournful, funeral song. David does not commend Saul for what he was not; and says nothing of his piety or goodness. Jonathan was a dutiful son, Saul an affectionate father, therefore dear to each other. David had reason to say, that Jonathan's love to him was wonderful. Next to the love between Christ and his people, that affection which springs form it, produces the strongest friendship. The trouble of the Lord's people, and triumphs of his enemies, will always grieve true believers, whatever advantages they may obtain by them.

Cross References 41

  • 1. S 1 Samuel 26:10; 1 Chronicles 10:13; 1 Samuel 31:6
  • 2. S Joshua 22:8; S 1 Samuel 30:17
  • 3. S Genesis 14:7; Numbers 13:29
  • 4. 2 Samuel 4:10
  • 5. S 1 Samuel 4:12; Job 2:12; Ezekiel 27:30
  • 6. S 1 Samuel 20:41
  • 7. S Genesis 37:7
  • 8. ver 21; S 1 Samuel 28:4; 1 Samuel 31:2-4
  • 9. ver 13; S 1 Samuel 15:2; S 1 Samuel 27:8; 1 Samuel 30:13,17
  • 10. S Judges 9:54
  • 11. Judges 9:54; 2 Kings 11:12
  • 12. S Genesis 37:29; S Numbers 14:6; 2 Samuel 3:31; 2 Samuel 13:31
  • 13. S ver 8; S 1 Samuel 14:48
  • 14. S 1 Samuel 12:3; 1 Samuel 24:6; S 1 Samuel 26:9
  • 15. 2 Samuel 4:12
  • 16. 2 Samuel 4:10
  • 17. S Leviticus 20:9; 2 Samuel 3:28-29; 1 Kings 2:32; Matthew 27:24-25; Acts 18:6
  • 18. S Genesis 50:10; S Ezekiel 32:2; 2 Chronicles 35:25
  • 19. ver 26
  • 20. Joshua 10:13; 1 Samuel 31:3
  • 21. 2 Samuel 23:8; Psalms 29:1; Psalms 45:3
  • 22. ver 27; 2 Samuel 3:38
  • 23. Micah 1:10
  • 24. S Joshua 13:3
  • 25. 1 Samuel 31:8
  • 26. Exodus 15:20; S 1 Samuel 18:6
  • 27. S ver 6; 1 Samuel 31:1
  • 28. S Genesis 27:28; S Isaiah 18:4
  • 29. Deuteronomy 11:17; 1 Kings 8:35; 1 Kings 17:1; 1 Kings 18:1; 2 Chronicles 6:26; Job 36:27; Job 38:28; Psalms 65:10; Psalms 147:8; Isaiah 5:6; Jeremiah 5:24; Jeremiah 14:4; Amos 1:2
  • 30. Jeremiah 12:4; Ezekiel 31:15
  • 31. Isaiah 21:5
  • 32. Isaiah 34:3,7; Isaiah 49:26
  • 33. Deuteronomy 32:42; 1 Samuel 18:4
  • 34. S Deuteronomy 28:49; Jeremiah 4:13
  • 35. Judges 14:18
  • 36. S Judges 5:30
  • 37. Jeremiah 22:18; Jeremiah 34:5
  • 38. ver 17
  • 39. S 1 Samuel 20:42
  • 40. S 1 Samuel 18:1
  • 41. ver 19,25; S 1 Samuel 2:4

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. "Gazelle" here symbolizes a human dignitary.
  • [b]. Or "/ nor fields that yield grain for offerings"

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO SECOND SAMUEL

This book, in many copies of the Hebrew Bible, is carried on without any new title put unto it; the reason of it is, because, by some, this, with the preceding, has been reckoned but one book: hence the Jews say {a}, Samuel wrote his book, not his books; in others it is called Samuel Second; and by the Vulgate Latin the Second Book of Samuel, which we call the Second of Kings; though why his name should be put to it at all I see not, since it neither concerns him, nor could it be written by him, being an history of events after his death. The Greek version calls it the Second of Kings; and the Syriac version, the Second Book of the Kings of Israel; whereas there is but one king of Israel it makes mention of, and of whose actions only it is an history; and therefore with greater propriety it is called, as the Arabic version, the Book of David the Prophet, of whose reign, from the beginning to the end of it, it gives an account: wherefore Isidore {b} thinks it was written by David; and if so, it has this mark of simplicity and integrity, that the writer does not spare himself, nor conceal his own faults, and particularly that very capital one, the affair of Bathsheba, and also his numbering of the people; but it is most probable that it was written by Nathan and Gad {c}, see 1Ch 29:29; but whoever was the penman of it, there is no doubt to be made of its being written by inspiration, or that it is canonical; which has never been questioned, since there stands in it a famous prophecy concerning the building of the temple by a son of David, which had an exact accomplishment, 2Sa 7:12,13; as well as of the family of David, for a great while to come, which also was fulfilled, 2Sa 7:19; and an eminent passage concerning the Messiah, the son of David, and of his divine sonship, 2Sa 7:14; quoted by the Apostle Paul in proof of it, Heb 1:5. It contains an history of about forty years, for so long David reigned, seven years and six months in Hebron, over Judah, and thirty three years in Jerusalem, over all Israel and Judah; and this book relates his last words.

{a} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2. {b} Origin. l. 6. c. 2. {c} Alting. Theolog. Hist. loc. 2. p. 86.

\\INTRODUCTION TO SECOND SAMUEL 1\\

This chapter contains an account of the death of Saul and Jonathan, as related to David by an Amalekite, 2Sa 1:1-10; of the sorrow he and his men were filled with at the news of it, 2Sa 1:11,12; of his order to put to death the messenger that brought the tidings, for his concern in the death of Saul, according to his own testimony, 2Sa 1:13-16; and of a lamentation composed by David on this occasion, 2Sa 1:17-27.

2 Samuel 1 Commentaries