David Finds Out about Saul's Death
1Saul was dead.
Meanwhile, David had defeated the Amalekites and returned to Ziklag. 2Three days later, a soldier came from Saul's army. His clothes were torn, and dirt was on his head.#1.2 His clothes … his head: People tore their clothes and put dirt on their heads to show they were sad because someone had died. He went to David and knelt down in front of him.
3David asked, “Where did you come from?”
The man answered, “From Israel's army. I barely escaped with my life.”
4“Who won the battle?” David asked.
The man said, “Our army turned and ran, but many were wounded and died. Even King Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”
5David asked, “How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?”
1 S 31.1-6; 1 Ch 10.1-6. The young man replied:
I was on Mount Gilboa and saw King Saul leaning on his spear. The enemy's war chariots and cavalry were closing in on him. 7When he turned around and saw me, he called me over. I went and asked what he wanted.
8Saul asked me, “Who are you?”
“An Amalekite,” I answered.
9Then he said, “Kill me! I'm dying, and I'm in terrible pain.”#1.9 in terrible pain: Or “very weak.”
10So I killed him. I knew he was too badly wounded to live much longer. Then I took his crown and his arm-band, and I brought them to you, Your Majesty. Here they are.
11At once, David and his soldiers tore their clothes in sorrow. 12They cried all day long and would not eat anything. Everyone was sad because Saul, his son Jonathan, and many of the Lord's people had been killed in the battle.
13David asked the young man, “Where is your home?”
The man replied, “My father is an Amalekite, but we live in Israel.”
14-16David said to him, “Why weren't you afraid to kill the Lord's chosen king? And you even told what you did. It's your own fault that you're going to die!”
Then David told one of his soldiers, “Come here and kill this man!”
David Sings in Memory of Saul
17David sang a song in memory of Saul and Jonathan, 18#Js 10.13. and he ordered his men to teach the song to everyone in Judah. He called it “The Song of the Bow,” and it can be found in The Book of Jashar.#1.18 The Book of Jashar: This book may have been a collection of ancient war songs. This is the song:
19Israel, your famous hero
lies dead on the hills,
and your mighty warriors
20Don't tell it in Gath
or spread the news
on the streets of Ashkelon.
The godless Philistine women
will be happy
and jump for joy.
21Don't let dew or rain fall
on the hills of Gilboa.
Don't let its fields
grow offerings for God.#1.21 Don't let its fields … for God: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
There the warriors' shields
were smeared with mud,
and Saul's own shield
was left unpolished.#1.21 unpolished: Some shields were made of leather and were polished with olive oil.
22The arrows of Jonathan struck,
and warriors died.
The sword of Saul cut
the enemy apart.
23It was easy to love Saul
Together in life,
together in death,
they were faster than eagles
and stronger than lions.
24Women of Israel, cry for Saul.
He brought you fine red cloth
and jewelry made of gold.
25Our warriors have fallen
in the heat of battle,
and Jonathan lies dead
on the hills of Gilboa.
26Jonathan, I miss you most!
I loved you
like a brother.
You were truly loyal to me,
more faithful than a wife
to her husband.#1.26 You … husband: Or “You loved me more than a wife could possibly love her husband.”
27Our warriors have fallen,
and their weapons#1.27 weapons: This may refer to Saul and Jonathan.