2 Samuel Chapter 1


Tidings brought to David of the death of Saul. (Verse 1-10.)

The Amalekite is put to death. (Verse 11-16.)

David’s lamentation for Saul and Jonathan. (Verse 17-27.)

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.

The book of II Samuel literally picks up where I Samuel left off. As I Samuel records the failure of Israel’s
choice of a king, II Samuel records the victory and enthronement of God’s choice for king over the nation of Israel and the establishment of “the House of David.” The family of David eventually blessed the whole world by producing one great king who will eventually rule the entire world – the Lord Jesus Christ. Many dozens of verses throughout the latter half of the OT make it very clear that a king would arise from the house of David who would be king over all the earth and reign eternally.

The first four chapters of this book record David’s rise to power over his own tribe of Judah; the following
chapters show how he then became king over all of the tribes of Israel and discuss his reign. David was a man after God’s own heart – not because of boasted perfection, but because of confessed imperfection. He was a wise and generous king who brought together twelve relatively weak tribes and formed them into a prosperous, powerful nation. Under his reign, music, poetry and history sprang to life as is recorded in the Psalms. David appointed scribes and court recorders so that the national records could be systematically kept. He likewise began preparations for the building of the temple which replaced the tabernacle and for many centuries was the center of Jewish worship.

At the height of his power, David sinned in a scandalous way and from then on had trouble with his own family and nation. This story reminds us that with God there is no respect of persons and that sin always causes grief. David shows us that the measure of a person’s greatness is found in the amount of their submission to God.

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;

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.

And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped.

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.

And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?

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.

And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.

And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.

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 in me.

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.

compare with what actually happened in I Sam. 31:4-6; this Amalekite was clearly lying in hopes of getting some reward out of David (see David’s comment in 4:10)

11 Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him:

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.

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 Amalekite.

14 And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine 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 that he died.

16 And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the Lord‘s anointed.

17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:

18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)

“the book of Jasher” – there is no clear explanation in scripture as to what this book is or who Jasher is. By
comparing the only other reference, Joshua 10:13, all we know is that someone named Jasher recorded some items of Jewish history in a book. Some would argue that maybe this book is more of the Bible yet to be found in the sands of Palestine; fortunately this is not a concern to the Bible believer as the NT documents for us quite clearly that the OT as we have it today is complete!

19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!

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.

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.

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.

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 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.

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.

his verse aptly describes the close friendship between Jonathan and David. This verse is perverted by the modern sodomite community in an attempt to prove that David and Jonathan were homosexuals and thereby show that God approves of the sin of sodomy.

27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Verse 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.

Verse 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.

Verse 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.