Dave Burnette's Commentary

2 Samuel Chapter 1

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Nathan, Zabud, & Gad 
Date Penned: (930 BC)
Overview: A Record of David's Reign (c 1-24)
Theme: David's Successes (c 1-10)
Message: David Mourns for Saul and Jonathan (v 1-27)

2 Samuel 1 Commentary

(1:1) David Has Faith in God - David had great faith in God. He patiently waited for God to fulfill his promises. The book of I Samuel tells of David's struggles as he waited to become king of Israel (Samuel had anointed David as king of Israel many years earlier; see 1 Samuel 16:3). King Saul became jealous of David because the people kept praising him for his military accomplishments. Eventually, Saul's jealousy became so intense that he tried to kill David several times. As a result, David had to escape. For many years David hid from Saul in enemy territory and in the vast wilderness south and east of Jerusalem. David may have wondered when God's promise that he would be king would come true, but his struggles prepared him for the great responsibilities he would later face. The book of 2 Samuel tells how David was finally rewarded for his patience and consistent faith in God.

(1:2) David is in Ziklag -  When Saul died, David and his men were still living in Ziklag, a Philistine city. Because Saul had driven him out of Israel, David had pretended to be loyal to Achish, a Philistine ruler (1 Samuel 27). There God had kept him safe from Saul.

(1:11-12) David Mourns for Saul - David and his men were visibly shaken over Saul's death: "They mourned, and wept, and fasted until even." Their actions showed their genuine sorrow over the loss of their king, their friend Jonathan, and the other soldiers of Israel who had died that day. They were not ashamed to grieve. Today, some people consider expressing emotions to be a sign of weakness. Those who wish to appear strong try to hide their feelings. But expressing our grief can help us deal with our intense sorrow when a loved one dies.

(1:13) The Amalekites - The Amalekites were a fierce, nomadic tribe that frequently conducted surprise raids on Canaanite villages. They had been Israel's enemies since Moses' time. David had just destroyed an Amalekite band of raiders who had burned his city and kidnapped its women and children (1 Samuel 30:1-20). This man was probably unaware of David's recent confrontations with the Amalekites, or he may not have come. Instead, he incurred David's wrath by posing as an enemy of Israel and claiming to have killed God's chosen king

(1:14) The Amalekite Scavenger - The man identified himself as an Amalekite from Saul's camp (1:2). He may have been an Amalekite under Israelite jurisdiction, but more likely he was a battlefield scavenger. Obviously the man was lying both about his identity and about what had happened on the battlefield. (Compare his story with the account in 1 Samuel 31-3-4.) Because he had Saul's crown with him, something the Philistines wouldn't have left behind, we can infer that he had found Saul dead on the battlefield before the Philistines had arrived ( Samuel 31:8). As it happened for the Amalekite, a life of deceit often leads to grave consequences for the liar, even for things he or she may not have done. This man lied, most likely to gain some personal reward for killing David's rival, but he misread David's character. If David had rewarded him for murdering the king, David would have shared his guilt. Instead, David had the messenger killed. This may seem to be an overly severe punishment, but there are few crimes more serious than killing the Lord's anointed king, a crime David himself had refused to commit a number of times.

(1:15-16) David Maintains Respect for Saul - Although Saul had been trying to kill David for many years, David did not celebrate Saul's death. In spite of all that Saul had done against him, David maintained respect for Saul's position as God's anointed servant. Since David believed that God had anointed Saul, it followed that only God was in a position to remove him from office. If it became casual or commonplace to assassinate the king, the whole society would become chaotic. It was God's job, not David's, to judge Saul's sins (Leviticus 19:18). When looking at our own leaders, religious or civil, we may be tempted to become angry, despairing, or fearful. But despite their shortcomings, we must realize that God has placed rulers in authority over us, and we should maintain respect for the positions they hold (Romans 13;1-5).

(1:17-27) David Plays a Memorial Song - David was a talented musician. He played the harp (1 Samuel 16:23), he organized musicians and music for worship at the tabernacle, later to be used at the temple (1 Chronicles 25), and he wrote many of the psalms. Here we are told that he wrote a lament in memory of Saul and his son Jonathan, David's closest friend. Music played an important role in Israel's history. Saul had caused much trouble for David, but when he died, David composed a lament in memory of the king and his son. David had every reason to hate Saul, but he chose not to.Instead, he chose to look at the good Saul had done and to ignore the times when Saul had attacked him. It takes courage to lay aside hurt and painful memories and to respect the positive side of another person, especially an enemy.

(1:26) David Honors His Friendship to Jonathan - By saying that Jonathan's love was "wonderful, passing the love of women," David was not implying that he had a sexual relationship with Jonathan. Practicing homosexuality was forbidden in Israel (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13). David was simply describing the deep brotherhood and faithful friendship he had with Jonathan. For more on their friendship, see 1 Samuel 18:1-4.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Respecting God's Man

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we start the book of 2nd Samuel with Chapter 1. In our text, we see David's mourning for Saul and Jonathan and his song for the man who hunted to kill him in the wilderness. In applying, we see that David had great respect and faith for God and God's Anointed, Saul. David could have killed Saul in self-defense, but his love of God caused him to respect God's Man even when he acted unGodly. Today we have the Church and a Pastor as the flock's leader. God anoints your Pastor to do the work the Lord has called him to perform. The Pastor has a set of criteria in the Bible to follow. If he does, your Pastor deserves the same amount of respect that David gave Saul. Pastors aren't perfect, but as long as he follows Biblical principles, we should follow their direction as the Lord directs them. How about you? Do you respect and follow your Pastor? Let us learn from our text today and the life of David to respect the Lord's Anointed so they can instruct us in the Lord.


2 Samuel 1

2 Samuel 1

1Now 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;

2It 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.

3And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped.

4And 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.

5And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?

6And 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.

7And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.

8And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.

9He 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.

10So 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.

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

12And 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.

13And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite.

14And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD'S anointed?

15And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died.

16And 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.

17And 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.)

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

20Tell 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.

21Ye 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.

22From 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.

23Saul 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.

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

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

26I 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.

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