2 Samuel 1:1-7

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?’

2 Samuel 1:1-7 Meaning and Commentary

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 1:1-7 In-Context

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.

Cross References 8

  • 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