2 Samuel 1:17-27

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 1:17 in Other Translations

KJV
17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:
ESV
17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and Jonathan his son,
NLT
17 Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan,
MSG
17 Then David sang this lament over Saul and his son Jonathan,
CSB
17 David sang the following lament for Saul and his son Jonathan,

2 Samuel 1:17-27 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 1:17-27 In-Context

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.’ ”
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.
21 “Mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, may no showers fall on your terraced fields.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!”

Cross References 24

  • 1. S Genesis 50:10; S Ezekiel 32:2; 2 Chronicles 35:25
  • 2. ver 26
  • 3. Joshua 10:13; 1 Samuel 31:3
  • 4. 2 Samuel 23:8; Psalms 29:1; Psalms 45:3
  • 5. ver 27; 2 Samuel 3:38
  • 6. Micah 1:10
  • 7. S Joshua 13:3
  • 8. 1 Samuel 31:8
  • 9. Exodus 15:20; S 1 Samuel 18:6
  • 10. S ver 6; 1 Samuel 31:1
  • 11. S Genesis 27:28; S Isaiah 18:4
  • 12. 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
  • 13. Jeremiah 12:4; Ezekiel 31:15
  • 14. Isaiah 21:5
  • 15. Isaiah 34:3,7; Isaiah 49:26
  • 16. Deuteronomy 32:42; 1 Samuel 18:4
  • 17. S Deuteronomy 28:49; Jeremiah 4:13
  • 18. Judges 14:18
  • 19. S Judges 5:30
  • 20. Jeremiah 22:18; Jeremiah 34:5
  • 21. ver 17
  • 22. S 1 Samuel 20:42
  • 23. S 1 Samuel 18:1
  • 24. 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"
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