The Second Book of Samuel

Chapter 1

The Amalekite who brought tidings of the overthrow and accused himself of Saul's death is slain, 1-16. David laments Saul and Jonathan with a song, 17-27.

1 Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David had returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites and David had stayed two days in Ziklag, 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. 3 And David said to him, "From where did you come?" And he said to him, "Out of the camp of Israel I have escaped." 4 And David said to him, "How did the matter go? I pray you, tell me." And he answered, "The people have fled from the battle and many of the people have also fallen and are dead. And Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also." 5 And David said to the young man who told him, "How do you know that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead?" 6 And the young man who told him said, "As I happened by chance to be upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear, and behold, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. 7 And when he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I answered, 'Here I am.' 8 And he said to me, 'Who are you?' And I answered him, 'I am an Amalekite.' 9 He said to me again, 'Stand, I pray you, upon me and slay me, for anguish has come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.' 10 So I stood upon him and slew him because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was upon his head and the bracelet that was on his arm and have brought them here to my lord."

11 Then David took hold of his clothes and rent them. And all the men who were with him did likewise. 12 And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son, for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 13 And David said to the young man who told him, "Where are you from?" And he answered, "I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite." 14 And David said to him, "How were you not afraid to stretch forth your hand to destroy the LORD'S anointed?" 15 And David called one of the young men and said, "Go near and fall upon him." And he smote him so that he died. 16 And David said to him, "Your blood is upon your head, for your mouth has testified against you, saying, 'I have slain the LORD'S anointed.'"

17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son 18 (He also told them to teach the children of Judah the song of the bow, as it is written in the book of Jasher):

19 "The beauty of Israel is slain upon your high places./
How the mighty have fallen!

20 Do not tell it in Gath,/
do not publish it in the streets of Askelon,/
lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,/
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

21 "You mountains of Gilboa,/
let there be no dew, neither 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.

22 "From the blood of the slain,/
from the fat of the mighty,/
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,/
and the sword of Saul did not return empty.

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.

24 "You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,/
who clothed you in scarlet with other delights,/
who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

25 "How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle!/
O Jonathan you were slain in your high places.

26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan./
Very pleasant you have been to me./
Your love to me was wonderful,/
passing the love of women.

27 "How the mighty have fallen/
and the weapons of war perished!"


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Samuel, Chapter 1[➚]


[v.1] - "the death of Saul" - Reference, 1st Samuel 31:1-6.

[v.4] - Reference, 1st Samuel 31:7.

[v.6] - "Saul leaned upon his spear" - Reference, 1st Samuel 31:4. That verse tells of Saul falling upon his sword, rather than his spear. This slight discrepancy is trivial, as the point is that Saul had attempted to take his own life so that the Philistines would not be able to take him and have their way with him. Now, this Amalekite proceeds to tell the story that he was the one who actually took Saul's life, which was not accounted for in the previous book. This, as Matthew Henry states, shows that Saul's attempt on his own life was unsuccessful and that he needed assistance to end his life. Moreover, Henry also adds that this Amalekite was, "a passenger, not as a soldier, and therefore an indifferent person... [And Saul]... enquired what countryman he was, for, provided he was not a Philistine, he would gladly receive from his hand the coup de grace (as the French call it concerning those that are broken on the wheel)-the merciful stroke, that might dispatch him out of his pain. Understanding that he was an Amalekite (neither one of his subjects nor one of his enemies), he begs this favour from him (v. 9): Stand upon me, and slay me."

[v.24] - "delights" - Or, luxuries.

[v.26] - Reference, 1st Samuel 18:1, 3.