The Response of Saul’s Death

Clark Clifford shares this reminiscence of his former boss, Harry S. Truman: Every morning at 8:30 the President would have a staff meeting. One day the mail clerk brought in a lavender envelope with a regal wax seal and flowing purple ribbons. Opening it, the President found a l … More


In spike of all that Saul had done in trying to kill David for many years, David did not rejoice when he learned of his death. He had every reason to hate Saul, but he chose not to. Instead he chose to look at all the good Saul had done and ignore the times when Saul had attacked him. He decided to write a poem and put it to music, expressing the grief and sorrow over the deaths of Saul and his son Jonathan (vv. 17-18). The title of this whole poem was, “The bow.” In it he refers poetically to Saul and Jonathan as glorious heroes who were the means of salvation from the Philistines. David loved Jonathan as a brother and he would have given his own life for him if he could have. Music played an important role in history of Israel. David was a talented musician. He played the harp (I Sam. 16:23) and brought music into the services of the temple.

He called for Mt. Gilboa to remain barren to mark the tragedy (vv. 19-22). There the royal shields were defiled in spite of the fact that both Saul and Jonathan had been valiant in battle. David’s lament continued by describing the loving relationship between Saul and Jonathan in life (vv 23-24). They were not separated in their death. David described their physical prowess as “swifter than eagles” and “stronger than lions.” The lament concluded with a special word about Jonathan (vv. 25-27). David was especially distressed over the death of this man that he considered a “brother.” His relationship with Jonathan brought David more satisfaction and joy than a relationship with any woman.


It takes courage to lay aside hatred and hurt and to respect the positive side of someone who has deeply hurt you. Can I think of someone I need to do this with as David did?

II Samuel 1:17-27 (English Standard Version)

And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and Jonathan his son, and he said it should be taught to the people of Judah; behold, it is written in the Book of Jashar. He said: "Your glory, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised exult. "You mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew or rain upon you, nor fields of offerings! For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. "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. "Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles; they were stronger than lions. "You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. "How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! "Jonathan lies slain on your high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women. "How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!"

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