Samuel Chapter 1
Memory verses for this week: Deu 4:31
(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee,
neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which
he sware unto them..
Introduction to II
Samuel: The book of II
Samuel is also known by the Hebrews as the second book of the kings.
Though it is traditionally ascribed to Samuel, it is clear that
Samuel could not have written the book for he was long dead. It is
more likely that Nathan, the prophet, and Gad, the seer, were the
writers thereof based upon I Chronicles 29:29. The book covers a
period of about thirty-eight years.
Whereas I Samuel provided the background of David and God’s
providential preparation for him to be king, II Samuel records the
history of David as king. During David’s reign, Jerusalem became
both the religious as well as political center of the nation. The
book records such momentous events as the Davidic Covenant, David’s
great sin, the bitter harvest of David’s sin, and the conclusion of
Overview of II Samuel 1:
The first chapter of II Samuel presents the details of David hearing
of Saul’s death and his reaction.
I. Death of Saul
2 Sam 1:1 Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David
was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had
abode two days in Ziklag;
2 Sam 1:2 It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a
man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth
upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to
the earth, and did obeisance.
chapter begins with David hearing the news of Saul’s demise. This
was less than three days after David had returned to Ziklag, his
home base after defeating the marauding Amalekites. We studied about
this in chapter 30 of our earlier study of I Samuel (1Samuel 30:17).
One of the men from Saul’s camp arrives and bows down to David and
shows respect. The fact his clothes were rent and dirt was upon his
head indicated he was in a state of distress.
2 Sam 1:3 And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And
he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped
2 Sam 1:4 And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray
thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from the
battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul
and Jonathan his son are dead also.
2 Sam 1:5 And David said unto the young man that told him, How
knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?
Verses 3-5 The messenger informs David of the defeat of
Israel at the hand of the Philistines and of seemingly more
importance, that Saul and Jonathan were dead. David presses this man
to find out how he knew that Saul and Jonathan were dead.
2 Sam 1:6 And the young man that told him said, As I happened by
chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and,
lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him.
2 Sam 1:7 And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called
unto me. And I answered, Here am I.
2 Sam 1:8 And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him,
I am an Amalekite.
2 Sam 1:9 He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and
slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole
2 Sam 1:10 So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure
that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the
crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm,
and have brought them hither unto my lord.
Verses 6-10 The
young Amalekite naively informed David of his chance encounter with
the dying Saul. He thinks that David would be pleased with the news
of Saul’s death, so not only does he speak of it, but he has brought
Saul’s crown and bracelet as proof of his claims.
Some have claimed that there is a discrepancy between the account
of Saul’s death here and in I Samuel 31. What is recorded here
complements and does not contradict the former record.
II. The Amalekite is put to Death.
2 Sam 1:11 Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them;
and likewise all the men that were with him:
2 Sam 1:12 And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for
Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and
for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.
Rather than being delighted to hear of the death of his
adversary, David immediately went into mourning. Saul had sought
David’s life so many times, but I believe all along that David had a
love for the man who desired to kill him. Not only was David grieved
over the loss of Jonathan, but also for Saul as well. Moreover, he
grieved over the death of his own brethren, other Israelites, and
the defeat of his homeland in battle. A great leader is concerned
about all of his people, and David was definitely a great leader.
Although David not long before had been willing to fight with the
Philistines against Saul, the reality of what had happened reminded
him of his true loyalties.
This gives us insight into the righteous character of David. As I
said earlier, David was a good man the vast majority of the time,
and he was said to be a man after God’s heart.
1 Sam 13:14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath
sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded
him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that
which the LORD commanded thee.
Though Saul had been an unjust adversary to David, he remained
God’s anointed. The sobering reality of what had happened caused
David to grieve for him and especially for Jonathan. David and
Jonathan were close and dear friends, and had a true love one for
2 Sam 1:13 And David said unto the young man that told him,
Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an
2 Sam 1:14 And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to
stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD'S anointed?
2 Sam 1:15 And David called one of the young men, and said, Go
near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died.
2 Sam 1:16 And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head;
for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the
David now turns his attention to the foolish Amalekite. This
young man had not estimated David aright. He presumed that David
would be delighted to know he had dispatched his mortal enemy. This
man freely confessed that he had killed Saul. That was all that
David needed to know. He ordered him executed for touching God’s
David full well understood the significance of harming one whom
God had placed into leadership. He would not tolerate one who in
such a cavalier fashion had violated that sacred principle.
III. David's Lamentation for Saul and
2 Sam 1:17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and
over Jonathan his son:
2 Sam 1:18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use
of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)
2 Sam 1:19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places:
how are the mighty fallen!
In this noble poem, David forgets all his injuries and considers
only the good and pleasant things. If human love can impute only
good to the object of its affections, what will not God’s love in
Christ impute to believers for whom He gave His precious life! He
loved us even when we were dead in trespasses and sins.
David publicly mourned the loss of Saul and Jonathan. We have
here presented the heartbreaking eulogy of David. Before recording
his moving tribute, the writer makes mention in verse 18,
he bade them teach the children of Judah
the use of
the bow: behold,
the book of Jasher.”
evidently is to Saul and how that during his reign as king, he
taught his fledgling kingdom the art of war. The implication is that
David viewed that favorably.
One of the good things done by Saul was the beginnings of a
national system of defense for Israel. David as the later king would
fully develop what Saul had begun. The reference to the “book of
Jasher” is unclear. The word rendered as
is one of the basic, Old Testament words for righteousness. It
simply means ‘upright’ or ‘righteous.’
The book of Jasher therefore may be a reference to chronicles of
righteous men. If that be the case, David ascribed Saul as righteous
notwithstanding all his faults. Others claim the book of Jasher
refers to the book of Genesis or even the greater law of Moses in
general. However, there does not seem to be any scriptural support
David’s eulogy to Saul and Jonathan is in this next verse.
beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty
Notice the magnanimity of David in describing Saul (as well as
Jonathan) as the “beauty of Israel.” Their death at Mount Gilboa is
described as a high place. David therefore movingly notes, “how are
the mighty fallen!”
2 Sam 1:20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of
Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the
daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
2 Sam 1:21 Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither
let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the
shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as
though he had not been anointed with oil.
2 Sam 1:22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the
mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul
returned not empty.
2 Sam 1:23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their
lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter
than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
2 Sam 1:24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed
you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold
upon your apparel.
David directed that the dishonorable end of Saul not be
publicized in Philistia lest they further rejoice over his decease.
He called upon the mountains of Gilboa to allow neither dew nor rain
in mourning for their lost king, manifesting his grief. David
recounts how that Saul had been carelessly slain as if he were not
God’s anointed. (1 Samuel 10:1.) He further paid tribute to the
courage of Jonathan and the success of Saul.
David paused in the midst of his lofty eulogy to directly honour
Saul and Jonathan.
pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided:
they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.”
Though Saul had been his mortal enemy, David never the less
honored him. He had only good to say about his adversary and his
dear friend. He ascribed both tender virtues as well as majestic
strength to them both.
David therefore directed his own people Israel to mourn for Saul.
daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet,
who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel”.
The implication is that Saul brought prosperity to his people.
David therefore urged them to pay tribute to their fallen leader.
2 Sam 1:25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!
O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.
2 Sam 1:26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very
pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful,
passing the love of women.
2 Sam 1:27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war
David’s heartfelt sorrow was finally focused upon his dear
friend, Jonathan, and his demise. David thus expresses his pure
friendship for his fallen friend. He concludes his great eulogy with
a burst of moving heart-rending anguish.
Conclusion: He that is deeply concerned for the honor of God
cannot rejoice in the afflictions that come upon his enemies. In the
disgrace that comes upon them let us not forget their former
successes and real service.
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