2Samuel 1

 

2Samuel 1:1–1

A Post-Mortem and an Ode to Saul


These studies are designed for believers in Jesus Christ only. If you have exercised faith in Christ, then you are in the right place. If you have not, then you need to heed the words of our Lord, Who said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son, so that every [one] believing [or, trusting] in Him shall not perish, but shall be have eternal life! For God did not send His Son into the world so that He should judge the world, but so that the world shall be saved through Him. The one believing [or, trusting] in Him is not judged, but the one not believing has already been judged, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son of God.” (John 3:16–18). “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through [or, by means of] Me!” (John 14:6).


Every study of the Word of God ought to be preceded by a naming of your sins to God. This restores you to fellowship with God (1John 1:8–10). If there are people around, you would name these sins silently. If there is no one around, then it does not matter if you name them silently or whether you speak aloud.


Outline of Chapter 1:

 

         vv.     1–13         An Amalekite Claims to Have Killed Saul

         vv.    14–16         David Executes the Amalekite Based on his own Testimony

         vv.    17–27         David’s Ode to Saul and Jonathan


Charts, Maps, and Short Doctrines:

 

         Introduction         2Samuel 1 Summarized by Great Theologians of the Past

         v.      10              Matthew Henry Believes the Amalekite’s Story

         v.      10              Matthew Henry Does Not Believe the Amalekite’s Story

         v.      10              Why Does the Story Told by the Amalekite not Ring True?

         v.      10              Why We Think This Amalekite is a Mercenary Fighting on the Philistine Side

         v.      12              Why David Mourns for Saul

         v.      13              Is this Young Amalekite Lying about His Citizenship Status?

         v.      14              We are not Allowed to Harm God’s Anointed Ones

         v.      15              Commentary About David’s Sentencing of this Young Amalekite

         v.      16              Is David a Vigilante?

         v.      16              What Really Happened on Mount Gilboa?

         v.      16              Who Witnessed Saul’s Death and Why is it Accurately Recorded?

         v.      17              Why is Saul Honored in God's Word?

         v.      18              The Doctrine of the Book of Jashar

         v.      18              The Relationship between this Psalm and the Book of Jasher

         v.      23              The Two Interpretations of 2Sam. 2:23

         v.      25              Definition of the Word Bâmâh (High Places)

         v.      25              A Comparison of vv. 19 and 25

         v.      26              How Are David and Jonathan Brothers?

         v.      26              Gays Distort the Relationship between David and Jonathan

         v.      27              The Bow—A Psalm Dedicated to Saul and Jonathan


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

The Book of Jashar

 

High Places

 


Scriptural Excursions

 

1Chronicles 12

 


I ntroduction: 2Sam. 1 is a fascinating chapter. In it, David finds out about Saul’s death from an Amalekite, which is quite interesting, as David had just finished slaughtering the Amalekites which had invaded his camp and taken his women (1Sam. 30). This Amalekite claims that Saul asked him to kill him and that he brought some of Saul’s personal effects to prove that this is true. David orders the execution of this man, as he struck down the Lord’s anointed.


The second half of this chapter is a lament by David for Saul and Jonathan, which the author/editor of 2Samuel apparently found in the book of Jasher.


Let’s break down this chapter even more. David has just returned to Ziklag from defeating the Amalekites who had invaded his camp and taken his women and things (weapons, food, ipods, x-boxes, etc.). Bear in ind that all of this was simultaneous with Saul’s final battle against the Philistines where the Philistines soundly defeated Saul’s army. We established a parallel time line for this back in the introduction to 1Sam. 31.


On the third day of David’s being in camp, a man with torn clothes and dust on his head comes to David, saying that he had come out of Saul’s camp, and that the Israelites retreated, and Saul and Jonathan were killed (vv. 1–4). David asks this young man how he knows that Saul and Jonathan are dead, and the young man tells David that he just happened to be on Mount Gilboa when this battle was taking place (vv. 5–6). According to the young man’s story, Saul calls over to the man and asks him to kill him, as he was in great pain (vv. 7–9). The young man killed Saul, and then took his crown and royal arm bracelet for proof, which he has brought to David (v. 10).


David then goes into a period of mourning, with the rest of the camp, during which time he possibly composes an ode to Saul and Jonathan (vv. 11–12). After this period of mourning (apparently), David tries the man and has him executed for killing Saul (vv. 13–16).


Then David teaches the sons of Judah an ode that he has written—an ode to Saul and Jonathan (vv. 17–18). David first asks that the deaths of Saul and Jonathan not be proclaimed in the Philistine territories, lest they celebrate their deaths (vv. 19–20). David apparently asks for a time of mourning in the mountains of Gilboa, and then praises the bravery of Saul and Jonathan (vv. 21–23). The women whose freedom has been protected for all of these years by Saul and Jonathan are called upon to mourn (v. 24). Finally, David proclaims his great sorrow over the death of Jonathan, a man whose love for him was greater than that even of women (vv. 25–27). So ends this first chapter of 2Samuel.


If you went through 1Samuel with me, you heard me complain incessantly about the division of chapters and verses. Well, here we have a division of this book of Samuel, but I have no complaints. If someone had to divide this book in any way, then as we find it divided makes the most sense. Saul, Jonathan and Samuel have all died in 1Samuel and now we begin 2Samuel with David and how he will take the power given him by God. Bear in mind, that the original book of Samuel was one book, and that there is no book or chapter division between 1Sam. 31:13 and 2Sam. 1:1. However, if one desires to break up the book, this is the place to do it.


Let me include a couple of additional summaries of this chapter:

2Samuel 1 Summarized by Great Theologians of the Past

Clarke: An Amalekite comes to David, and informs him that the Philistines had routed the Israelites; and that Saul and his sons were slain (2Sam. 1:1–4). And pretends that he himself had despatched Saul, finding him ready to fall alive into the hands of the Philistines, and had brought his crown and bracelets to David (2Sam. 1:5–10). David and his men mourn for Saul and his sons (2Sam. 1:11–12). He orders the Amalekite, who professed that he had killed Saul, to be slain (2Sam. 1:13–16). David’s funeral song for Saul and Jonathan (2Sam. 1:17–27).

Matthew Henry: In the close of the foregoing book (with which this is connected as a continuation of the same history) we had Saul's exit; he went down slain to the pit, though we was the terror of the mighty in the land of the living. We are now to look towards the rising sun, and to enquire where David is, and what he is doing.

In this chapter we have,

I. Tidings brought him to Ziklag of the death of Saul and Jonathan, by an Amalekite, who undertook to give him a particular narrative of it (2Sam. 1:1-10).

II. David's sorrowful reception of these tidings (2Sam. 1:11–12).

III. Justice done upon the messenger, who boasted that he had helped Saul to dispatch himself (2Sam. 1:13–16).

IV. An elegy which David penned upon this occasion (2Sam. 1:17–27). And in all this David's breast appears very happily free from the sparks both of revenge and ambition, and he observes a very suitable demeanor.

Keil and Delitzsch: David received the intelligence of the defeat of Israel and the death of Saul in the war with the Philistines from an Amalekite, who boasted of having slain Saul and handed over to David the crown and armlet of the fallen king, but whom David punished with death for the supposed murder of the anointed of God (vv. 1–16). David mourned for the death of Saul and Jonathan, and poured out his grief in an elegiac ode (2Sam. 1:17–27). This account is closely connected with the concluding chapters of the first book of Samuel.

Even though this is fairly repetitive, I want you to at least see that, in the language of these ancient scholars, most of them saw the story of the Amalekite as being a fabrication.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


There are a couple of issues that I need to deal with. How and when did David know what happened in 1Sam. 31? Also, we have to deal with the differences between the account of Saul’s death in this chapter and the previous one. My thinking is, this Amalekite was there, watching what transpired, hiding. After all, he seemed to have a pretty good idea as to what happened. How he avoided the onslaught of the Philistines is unknown; we might assume that he had a well-hidden place to hide in; something which may have been the result of some amount of time living on that mountain in the midst of the Jews. David, in retrospect, may have sorted all of this out in his own mind as to what really transpired.


Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index


An Amalekite Claims to Have Killed Saul


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so he is after a death of Saul, and David returned from an assaulting of the Amalekite; and so remains David in Ziklag days two.

2Samuel

1:1

And it was after the death of Saul, after [lit., and] David returned from defeating the Amalekites, that he [lit., David] remained in Ziklag for two days.

After the death of Saul and after David returned from defeating the Amalekites, he had been in Ziklag for a couple of days,...


Here is how others have translated this verse:

 

Ancient texts:                       Note: I compare the Hebrew text to English translations of the Latin, Syriac and Greek texts (using the Douay-Rheims translation; George Lamsa’s translation, and Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton’s translation, respectively). When there are serious disparities between my translation and Brenton’s, I look at the Greek text of the Septuagint (the LXX) to see if a substantive difference actually exists (and I reflect these changes in the English rendering of the Greek text). Now and again, I update these texts with non-substantive changes (e.g., you for thou, etc.).

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he is after a death of Saul, and David returned from an assaulting of the Amalekite; and so remains David in Ziklag days two.

Septuagint                              And it came to pass after Saul was dead, that David returned from smiting Amalec, and David abode two days in Sekelac.

 

Significant differences:           No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Saul was dead. Meanwhile, David had defeated the Amalekites and returned to Ziklag.

The Message                         Shortly after Saul died, David returned to Ziklag from his rout of the Amalekites.

NJB                                        Saul was dead and David, returning after his victory over the Amalekites, had been at Ziklag for two days.

NLT                                        After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         After Saul died and David returned from defeating the Amalekites, David stayed in Ziklag two days.

HCSB                                     After the death of Saul, David returned from defeating the Amalekites and stayed at Ziklag two days.

JPS (Tanakh)                         After the death of Saul—David had already returned from defeating the Amalekites—David stayed two days in Ziklag.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And it happened after the death of Saul, David returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David stayed two days in Ziklag,...

Young’s Updated LT             And it comes to pass, after the death of Saul, that David has returned from striking down the Amalekite, and David dwells in Ziklag two days,...

 

The gist of this verse?          The scene is set for us: Saul has died; David has just defeated the Amalekites who had invaded his camp and he was in Ziklag, his camp, for a couple of days.


2Samuel 1:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Without a specific subject and object, the verb hâyâh often means and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive). Generally, the verb does not match the gender whatever nearby noun could be the subject (and, as often, there is no noun nearby which would fulfill the conditions of being a subject).

achărêy (י̤רֲח ַא) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

hinder parts; behind, after; following; after that, afterwards

preposition; plural form

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

mâveth (ת∵וָמ) [pronounced MAW-veth]

death, death [as opposed to life], death by violence, a state of death, a place of death

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4194 BDB #560

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: And it was after the death of Saul,... In 1Sam. 31, we saw Saul commit suicide prior to an attack which would have probably left him dead anyway. His armor bearer also committed suicide. When we begin this chapter, Saul’s death is news. That is, it took time for the results of the battle between Saul and the Philistines to be noised abroad. It was not until the next day after Saul died that his body had been identified by the Philistines. It probably was another day or so after that before they hung his headless body in Bethshan (his head and weapons were taken to Philistia in celebration of their victory). At this point, it is likely that David does not know all that happened. He did know that the Philistines and Saul were about to face off, as he was a part of the Philistine army for a short time (1Sam. 29); but the results of the war were probably not yet available to him (this would have been perhaps a day or two after Saul was killed).


2Samuel 1:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

shûwb (בש) [pronounced shoobv]

to return, to turn, to turn back, to reminisce, to restore something, to bring back something, to revive, to recover something, to make restitution

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #7725 BDB #996

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to smite, to assault, to hit, to strike, to strike [something or someone] down, to defeat, to conquer, to subjugate

Hiphil infinitive construct

Strong #5221 BDB #645

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳Amâlêq (ק̤לָמ-ע) [pronounced ģah-maw-LAYK]

transliterated Amalek

masculine proper noun; used as an gentilic adjective here; with the definite article

Strong’s #6002 BDB #766


Translation: ...after [lit., and] David returned from defeating the Amalekites,... David had been pressed into service by the king of Gath and had joined up to ride with the Philistine army. However, the other Philistine leaders were not about to enter into a war against Israel with David riding next to them, so they demanded that he be sent back. When David returned to his camp in Ziklag, he found that the Amalekites had raided his camp and had taken the women, children and the possessions of David and his men. You may recall that David tracked the Amalekites and slaughtered them, retrieving all that they had taken. As amazing as it might seem, none of their women or children had been harmed yet. This paragraph, by the way, is a summary of 1Sam. 29–30.


2Samuel 1:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay; to dwell, to live, to inhabit; to sit

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Tsiqelag (ג-לק̣צ) [pronounced tzihke-LAHG]

transliterated Ziklag

Proper noun; location

Strong’s #6860 BDB #862

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, a set of days; time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

shenayim (ם̣י-נש) [pronounced sheNAH-yim]

two (the cardinal number);

both, double, twice; second; (the ordinal number); [and with other numbers]: both

masculine dual numeral; pausal form

Strong’s #8147 BDB #1040


Translation: ...that he [lit., David] remained in Ziklag for two days. You may recall that David and his men were completely exhausted after these things—going up to join the Philistines, being sent back; and then going to battle against the Amalekites that invaded their camp. Some of David’s men were so exhausted that they could not even continue with David into battle against the Amalekites. Therefore, David and his men are resting, enjoying the return of their women and property.


It might be instructive to review what we know about Ziklag: Ziklag is even with the lower third of the Dead Sea, but much closer to the Mediterranean Sea. It is about midway on the diagonal line between Ashkelon and Beer-Sheba. It was originally Judæan property, gained by Joshua and first deeded over Judah and then to Simeon in the great land distribution (Joshua 15:31 19:5). Given the location of Ziklag and the nature of Philistine aggression, and this passage, we would expect this city to have fallen into Philistine possession. It is also possible that the Judæans never really took control of it; however, Judges 1:17–18 seems to imply that they did (Ziklag is not named specifically; but it would have been in that general area). No matter what the case, this city is under the control of Achish during this time period. Given the nature of the relationship between Israel and Philistia, it is reasonable to suppose that some border cities and territories changed hands one or more times.


Even after defeating the Amalekites, there was a great deal which needed to be done. First of all, David and his men required rest, as they had been on the move for several days without rest. Secondly, their camp in Ziklag had been burned down, so some sort of makeshift shelter had to be devised. More than likely, they simply slept out under the stars for the first night. However, recall that these men had just defeated a large camp of Amalekites; therefore, they very likely had all the tents that they needed. Other exegetes suggest that they were able to secure some sort of lodging by the locals; however, I don’t see that as likely. Recall that David made some unauthorized raids all over this southern area and lied about it to the King of Gath; and if his associations were too close with the locals of Ziklag (assuming that there are people living in a city here), then the King of Gath would have known the truth about what David was doing. For this reason, I see David as taking an unoccupied portion of land outside the city of Ziklag (again, assuming that there is a functioning city here at this time). Thirdly, there was all of the booty seized from the Amalekites—more than David and his men could possibly use (I would assume that this would primarily be flocks and herds of animals). David had to organize the distribution of these things throughout Judah (1Sam. 30:26–31). We do not know how far along David was on this third task when the events of this chapter unfold. There was a fourth thing which was also occurring: men from all over Israel were coming down to David, their hearts moved by God, to be in service to David—primary as a military force for Israel (1Chron. 12). Keep in mind an historical perspective here: the Philistines have just defeated Saul, his sons, and the Israeli army. At this point, there are not a lot of options. The Philistines will set up garrisons throughout Israel (primarily central Israel), as they had before, and probably exact tribute from the local Israelites. Those men who are able to fight cannot just attack the Philistines in groups of a dozen or so; therefore, they know of David, they know where he is (remember the gifts from David?), and they are coming down to him, to pledge their allegiance to him. This will take place primarily between this chapter and the next, so I will exegete 1Chron. 12 at the end of this chapter.


And so he is in the day the third and behold, a man came from the camp from with Saul; and his clothes torn and ground upon his head. And so he is in his coming unto David and so he falls ground-ward and so he bows down.

2Samuel

1:2

And it is on the third day that [lit., and behold] a man came from the camp from being with Saul, and his clothes were torn and there was dirt on his head. And it is, when he comes in to David that he falls to the ground and prostrates himself.

On the third day, a man from Saul’s encampment came to David—his clothes were torn and he had dirt on his forehead. When he came in to David, he fell to the ground, prostrating himself.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he is in the day the third and behold, a man came from the camp from with Saul; and his clothes torn and ground upon his head. And so he is in his coming unto David and so he falls ground-ward and so he bows down.

Septuagint                              And it came to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came from the camp, from the people of Saul, and his garments were rent, and earth was upon his head: and it came to pass when he went in to David, that he fell upon the earth, and did obeisance to him.

 

Significant differences: In the LXX, this man comes from the people of Saul, rather than simply from being with Saul. The Syriac and Latin are in agreement with the Hebrew (as usual).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Three days later, a soldier came from Saul's army. His clothes were torn, and dirt was on his head. He went to David and knelt down in front of him.

The Message                         Three days later a man showed up unannounced from Saul's army camp. Disheveled and obviously in mourning, he fell to his knees in respect before David.

NLT                                        On the third day after David’s return, a man arrived from the Israelite battlefront. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         On the third day a man came from Saul's camp. His clothes were torn, and he had dirt on his head. When he came to David, he immediately bowed down with his face touching the ground.

JPS (Tanakh)                         On the third day, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes rent and earth on his head; and as he approached David, he flung himself to the ground and bowed low.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul's camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage.

LTHB                                     And it happened on the third day, behold, a man came in out of the camp from Saul. And his garments were torn, and earth on his head. And it happened as he came to David, he fell to the earth and prostrated himself.

Young’s Updated LT             ...and it comes to pass, on the third day, that lo, a man has come in out of the camp from Saul, and his garments are torn, and earth on his head; and it comes to pass, in his coming in unto David, that he falls to the earth, and does obeisance.

 

The gist of this verse?          On the third day, a man comes from Saul’s camp to David. His garments are torn and there is dirt on his face and forehead. When he comes in to speak with David, he first prostrates himself before David.


2Samuel 1:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article); possibly immediately

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

shelishîym (םי.ש̣לש) [pronounced sheli-SHEEM]

third, a third part, a third time; chambers [of the third story]

masculine/feminine adjective/ordinal numeral with the definite article

Strong’s #7992 BDB #1026


Translation: And it is on the third day... This chapter along with the previous several chapters all occur simultaneously. We carefully examined a time-line in 1Sam. 31 the introduction. We followed the various armies and where they went and at what time they moved from point A to point B. 1Sam. 28–2Sam. 1 all take place within a week’s time. These chapters are not ordered chronologically, but topically, which makes more sense. So, David was sent back from the Philistine front as the kings of Philistia did not trust him. He returns to his camp in Ziklag, in a territory in southern Judah which is controlled by the Philistines. His camp had been raided by Amalekites and David had struck them and had returned to his camp. It was three days after his successful raid against the Amalekites.


2Samuel 1:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, note, take note; pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

machăneh (ה נ ֲח ַמ) [pronounced mah-khuh-NEH]

camp, encampment; an army camp; those who are camped [army, company, people]; the courts [of Jehovah]; the heavenly host

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4264 BDB #334

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

Together, these prepositions mean: from with, beside, from being with, away from, far from, from among, from the possession of, from the custody of, from the house of, from the vicinity of, out of the power of, from the mind of.

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: ...that [lit., and behold] a man came from the camp from being with Saul,... Seemingly out of nowhere, a man comes to David. He was with Saul in his camp when Saul warred against the Philistines. The prepositions used here indicate that he did not just come from that general vicinity, but that he came from exactly where Saul was at his death.


This is actually not an unusual situation; God is going to move the hearts of hundreds, if not thousands, of men, to come down to David in Ziklag, as we will examine when we exegete 1Chron. 12.


For whatever reason, people have tried to identify this man—and it is suggested that he is Doeg the Edomite or that he is Saul’s armor-bearer. Now, as you know, I have no problems with speculating about this or that; however, this man is nowhere identified; and there are enough people in this territory for this to be someone that we have never heard of. God the Holy Spirit may have purposely left his name out; and, similarly, included the names a hundreds of heroes to flocked to David in 1Chron. 12. This man is trying to take advantage of this tragic situation, so there is no reason that we need to know his name.


Now, we already know that Saul has foreigners in his army, as we have dealt with Doeg the Edomite back in 1Sam. 21–22. Therefore, it is possible that this man is a mercenary serving under either the Philistines or the Israelites. He is not fighting for the freedom of the Israelites, but is rather an opportunist, as this narrative will bear out. For him to be found right where Saul was killed very likely indicates that he fought on one side or the other. In the midst of the battle, when he saw Saul dead, he very likely began to formulate in his mind a plan to exploit this situation. Now, if this speculation is true, the man cannot tell David that he belonged to either army. He does not want to come to David, an Israelite, and say, “I fought along the Philistines against your people.” However, he does not want to represent himself as part of Saul’s army, else David would ask him, “Why did you not die there with your lord?” That is, how could he and Saul be in the same place, and he is unscathed and Saul is killed?


2Samuel 1:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

begâdîym (םי.דָג) [pronounced be-gaw-DEEM]

garments, clothes, clothing, apparel

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #899 BDB #93

qâra׳ (ע-רָק) [pronounced kaw-RAHĢ]

to bend, to tear apart; to tear out, to tear away; to cut in pieces [with a knife]; to cut out; to tear with words [i.e, to curse]

Qal passive participle

Strong’s #7167 BDB #902

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ădâmâh (הָמָד ֲא) [pronounced uh-daw-MAWH]

ground, soil, dirt, earth, tillable earth, land, surface of the earth

feminine singular noun

Strong's #127 BDB #9

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

rôsh (שאֹר) [pronounced rohsh]

head, top, chief, front, choicest

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #7218 BDB #910


Translation: ...and his clothes were torn and there was dirt on his head. This man has torn clothes and there is dirt on his face and forehead. Probably, this was done to indicate great sorrow, as the Jews have always been very demonstrative. Had this man been a Lutheran, he would be dressed in a clean black suit and he would have a somber expression, rather than dirt, on his face.


As we will soon find out, this man is looking to play David here, so his torn clothes and the dirt on his forehead were probably something which he did, anticipating this meeting with David. Maybe he intends to convey mourning and maybe he wants to suggest recent involvement in a war. I want you to recognize that either approach is incongruous with what the man will say. Let’s say that he tore his clothing and put dust on his forehead to indicate mourning; this will be incongruous with his bragging to David that he killed King Saul. This man is not coming to David simply to give him the news of King Saul’s death, as he will claim to have killed Saul, and will expect that David will want to reward him in some way for doing so. Therefore, looking like he is in mourning makes little sense. The other possibility is, this man wants it to appear as though he was just in a war, but, he was not just in a war. We will find out that he is an Amalekite. The war was between the Philistines and the Israelites. He will claim to have simply been on Mount Gilboa on this particular day. He makes no claims to fighting for either side (as we have previously discussed, if he claims to have been on either side, he will be in trouble with David). However, he shows up before David as though he has been in this battle himself (or, as if he is in mourning). Again, this is incongruous with his story.


Some men, who are the bearer of bad tidings, show up with torn clothing and dust on their heads to indicate that they are bringing bad news to the hearers. We observed this back in 1Sam. 4:12, when a man came to Shiloh to tell the people and to tell Eli that Eli’s sons were killed in battle, Israel lost the war against the Philistines, and that the Ark had been captured. This man—the Amalekite—was probably following protocol. However, and follow my reasoning here: what reason would an Amalekite have to come to David to tell him this bad news? It would be reasonable for a fellow Israelite to come down to Ziklag and gives David a heads up on what happened. However, this man makes no claim on being an official messenger from Saul’s army. He comes to David because he wants something. He is going to use this to his advantage to parlay Saul’s death into some kind of a reward or high governmental position (perhaps David will appoint him the head of FEMA).


2Samuel 1:2d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb.

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: And it is, when he comes in to David... This man apparently speaks to David’s guards and convinces them that he needs to speak to David. No doubt he said, “I have news about King Saul.” They speak with David and he gives this man an audience.


Despite the fact that the Amalekites had burned down Ziklag (at least, the tents and buildings where David and his men stayed), apparently something had been done in order to separate David from the rest of the men. Recall that they had just successfully invaded the Amalekites who plundered them; therefore, they probably had a wealth of tents from that raid.

 

McGee: David did not know what had happened in the battle. He and his men had been recovering their own loved ones from the Amalekite marauders. They had been back in Ziklag for two days without hearing a word. Finally a man all disheveled, covered with mud and dirt and wearing torn clothes, stumbled into David's camp. He said he had come from the war. He told David that the Philistines had won the war and that Saul was dead. Then he told David what happened.


2Samuel 1:2e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâphal (לַפָנ) [pronounced naw-FAHL]

to fall, to lie, to die a violent death, to be brought down, to settle, to sleep deeply

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5307 BDB #656

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, ground, soil

feminine singular noun with the directional hê

Strong's #776 BDB #75

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâchah (הָחָש) [pronounced shaw-KHAW]

to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to do obeisance to; to honor [with prayers]; to do homage to, to submit to

3rd person masculine singular, Hithpael imperfect

Strong’s #7812 BDB #1005


Translation: ...that he falls to the ground and prostrates himself. The first thing that this stranger does is he prostrates himself before David. This is something which is commonly done before a world leader. (Gen. 37:7–10 43:28 2Sam. 14:4 Psalm 66:3 Rev. 3:9) Furthermore, this was not something completely unknown to David (see 1Sam. 20:41 24:8 25:23, 41). However, even given these passages, it is unclear whether this was common to David. Nevertheless, this man is not going to screw up protocol. He is certainly going to be, if anything, too polite and too ingratiating.

 

Matthew Henry comments: The messenger presents himself to David as an express, in the posture of a mourner for the deceased prince and a subject to the succeeding one. He came with his clothes rent, and made obeisance to David, pleasing himself with the fancy that he had the honour to be the first that did him homage as his sovereign, but it proved he was the first that received from him sentence of death as his judge. So, in Henry’s opinion, this man was trying to convey that he was also in mourning.

 

At this point, Clarke makes the comment: The whole account which this young man gives is a fabrication: in many of the particulars it is grossly self-contradictory. There is no fact in the case but the bringing of the crown, or diadem, and bracelets of Saul; which, as he appears to have been a plunderer of the slain, he found on the field of battle; and he brought them to David, and told the lie of having despatched Saul, merely to ingratiate himself with David.


And so says to him David, “Where from this do you come?” And so he says unto him, “From a camp of Israel I was delivered.”

2Samuel

1:3

So David asks him [lit., said to him], “From where do you come?” And he answered him [lit., said to him], “I escaped from the camp of Israel.”

So David asked him, “Where did you come from?” And he answered David, “I have just escaped from the encampment of Israel.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says to him David, “Where from this do you come?” And so he says unto him, “From a camp of Israel I was delivered.”

Septuagint                              And David said to him, “From where did you come?” And he said to him, “I have escaped out of the camp of Israel.”

 

Significant differences: No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              David asked, "Where did you come from?" The man answered, "From Israel's army. I barely escaped with my life."

The Message                         David asked, "What brings you here?" He answered, "I've just escaped from the camp of Israel."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         "Where did you come from?" David asked him. "I escaped from the camp of Israel," he answered.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And David said to him, From where do you come? And he said to him, I have escaped out of the camp of Israel.

Young’s Updated LT             And David says to him, “From Where did you come?” And he says unto him, “Out of the camp of Israel I have escaped.

 

The gist of this verse?          David asks from whence this man came and he answers that he has escaped out from the camp of Israel. .


2Samuel 1:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

êy (י̤א) [pronounced āy]

where

adverb; with a suffix, the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #335 BDB #32

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

demonstrative adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260

These 3 particles together mean from where, whence.

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97


Translation: So David asks him [lit., said to him], “From where do you come?” David first of all wants to ascertain where this man came from. David is the one in authority, so he asks the questions. The man does not initiate any of this dialogue. He shows David respect, but it is a pseudo respect. We are dealing with a man who intends to manipulate David and to get from him what he can.


As Gill points out, it is very likely that David knew where this man came from, and suggests this because of the man’s appearance. However, this man was probably screened by David’s underlings before he came in to speak to David; so David probably knew some of these things up front. However, given this man’s appearance, and given that David knew Saul was going to war against the Philistines, even without being briefed, I am sure that David could have made a reasonable guess that he came from the battle.


2Samuel 1:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

machăneh (ה נ ֲח ַמ) [pronounced mah-khuh-NEH]

camp, encampment; an army camp; those who are camped [army, company, people]; the courts [of Jehovah]; the heavenly host

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4264 BDB #334

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

mâlaţ (ט ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHT]

to be delivered; to deliver oneself, to escape, to slip away, to slip through [or past]; to go away in haste

1st person singular; [often a reflexive meaning in the] Niphal perfect

Strong’s #4422 BDB #572


Translation: And he answered him [lit., said to him], “I escaped from the camp of Israel.” David and Saul’s falling out was well-known throughout Israel. It had gone on for several years—possibly as long as a decade. That David was exiled was also well-known; and, apparently, this man knew where to find David (how he knows this makes from some interesting speculation later on). He tells David that he has come from the camp of Saul. Obviously, this will be of interest to David.


And so says unto him David, “How is the word? Make [this] known please to me.”


And so he says, “Have fled the people from the battle and also many have fallen from the people and so they die. And also Saul and Jonathan his son are dead.”

2Samuel

1:4

David then said, “How is the matter? Please make [this] known to me.”


He answered [lit., And so he said], “The people fled from the battle and many of the people fell and they have died. Also, Saul and his son Jonathan have died.”

David then asked, “What happened exactly? Please make this clearly known to me.”


He answered, “The people fled the battle and many of them fell and died. Also, Saul and his son Jonathan died as well.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says unto him David, “How is the word? Make [this] known please to me.”

And so he says, “Have fled the people from the battle and also many have fallen from the people and so they die. And also Saul and Jonathan his son are dead.”

Septuagint                              And David said to him, “What is the matter? Tell me.” And he said, “The people fled out of the war, and many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead.”

 

Significant differences: No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              "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.".

The Message                         "So what happened?" said David. "What's the news?" He said, "The Israelites have fled the battlefield, leaving a lot of their dead comrades behind. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         "What happened?" David asked him. "Please tell me." The man answered, "The army fled from the battle, and many of the soldiers died. Saul and his son Jonathan are dead too."

HCSB                                     "What was the outcome? Tell me," David asked him. "The troops fled from the battle," he answered. "Many of the troops have fallen and are dead. Also, Saul and his son Jonathan are dead."

.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                             David said to him, How did it go? Please tell me. He answered, The people have fled from the battle, and many of the people also have fallen and are dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.

Young’s Updated LT             And David says unto him, “What has been the matter? Declare, I pray you, to me.” And he says, that “The people has fled from the battle, and also a multitude has fallen of the people, and they die; and also Saul and Jonathan his son have died.”.

 

The gist of this verse?          David asks about the battle, and the young man tells him that the people (i.e., the Israelites) retreated in defeat, and that many of them were killed, including Saul and Jonathan.


2Samuel 1:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why

interrogative; exclamatory particle

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

These three words have been translated in a myriad of ways: How is the matter? (Kukis ML) How did the matter go? (LTHB, NKJV, MKJV); How did it go? (The Amplified Bible, ESV, Owen); How went the matter? (HNV, WEB); How did things go? (NASB, NRSV); What has been the matter? (Updated Young Translation); and then we have the less literal renderings of this phrase: What happened? (God’s Word™, NIV, the Tanakh); What was the outcome? (HCSB); What is the news? (REB); What has happened? (NJB).


Translation: David then said, “How is the matter? David was of course aware of the war between the Philistines and the Israelites. He had been recruited by Achish king of Gath to go to war against the Israelites and against King Saul, who had chased him out of Israel—which put David into a very difficult spot, morally speaking. However, God kept David from being involved in this sort of battle. However, even with his own personal drama, David wanted to know what had happened in this war.


2Samuel 1:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperative

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

now; please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: Please make [this] known to me.” David is polite in his request for information. He wants all that this man knows to be made known to him.


2Samuel 1:4c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

nûwç (סנ) [pronounced noose]

to flee, to flee from, to escape, to depart, to hasten quickly [away]

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #5127 BDB #630

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

milechâmâh (הָמָח׃ל ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536


Translation: He answered [lit., And so he said], “The people fled from the battle... He tells David that the citizen-soldiers began by retreating. There is no indication that they put up a battle against the Philistines. Recall that there was no indication that Saul’s forces put up much of a fight. Almost immediately, they are said to retreat and to be killed as they retreated (1Sam. 31:1). Now, bear in mind that there are times when we are given little detail about this or that matter in the Bible; however, also realize that Saul went into battle knowing that he and his sons would die and that Israel would lose (1Sam. 28:19). Given this, it makes sense that Israel would have retreated almost from the beginning.


Furthermore, in the next chapter, we will see the Saul’s youngest son will be set up as king by Abner, Saul’s general and uncle; and that Abner will have an army. As I suggested back in 1Sam. 31:1, Saul probably set all of this up the morning of the battle. I have speculated that Saul told Abner to go east across the Jordan with a small army and with his son Ishbosheth (who may have been home because of his age and not at war at this time). In other words, I think a lot went on at the beginning of this battle between the Israelites and the Philistines which caused Israel to retreat early on.


2Samuel 1:4d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

Together, the wâw conjunction and the gam particle might mean together with, along with, joined with, and, furthermore, and furthermore.

râbâh (הָבָר) [pronounced rawb-VAWH]

to make [do] much; to multiply, to increase; to give much; to lay much; to have much; to make great; many [as a Hiphil infinitive construct]

Hiphil infinitive construct

Strong’s #7235 BDB #915

nâphal (לַפָנ) [pronounced naw-FAHL]

to fall, to lie, to die a violent death, to be brought down, to settle, to sleep deeply

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5307 BDB #656

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766


Translation: ...and many of the people fell... This matches the historical account from 1Sam. 31:1—the Israelites began to retreat from the Philistines and were killed as they ran from them.


I have suggested that this young man—this Amalekite—was a mercenary for the Philistines. Notice how his description of the battle is consistent with his view, as an aggressor against Israel.


2Samuel 1:4e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die; to perish, to be destroyed

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559


Translation: ...and they have died. This verb is applied to the people of Israel, the citizen-soldiers, who fought under Saul (or, in this case, retreated while under Saul’s command). Saul apparently was fairly well-hidden at this time, but, as you may recalled, had been struck by any arrow (1Sam. 31:3). This does not mean that Saul could be seen. He could have been in heavy cover and hit with an arrow while in this heavy cover. Apparently, the Philistines knew approximately where he was.


2Samuel 1:4f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

Together, the wâw conjunction and the gam particle might mean together with, along with, joined with, and, furthermore, and furthermore.

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Yehôwnâthân (ןָטָנהי) [pronounced ye-hoh-naw-THAWN]

alternate spelling; transliterated Jonathan

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3083 (& #3129) BDB #220

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die; to perish, to be destroyed

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559


Translation: Also, Saul and his son Jonathan have died.” This is an interesting statement. Saul was in this war with 3 of his sons, all of whom died in this battle (1Sam. 31:2). I don’t think that this man mentioned Saul and all 3 sons by name, but I think he knew enough about David to know that Saul’s and Jonathan’s deaths would be those which would be most affecting.


I have suggested that there are problems with this Amalekite and his story, and this is one of them: he tells David that both Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle. Now, his story is, he is some lone soul who just happened to be on Mount Gilboa when this battle broke out. From whatever vantage point he had, he observed the death of Saul, and Saul could see him and speaks to him. How can this man also observe Jonathan’s death? If Jonathan died near his father, why is that not included in the narrative of 1Sam. 31? Why doesn’t this Amalekite tell David something about Jonathan’s death, since he observed it? My point is, if this Amalekite is a mercenary for the Philistines, then he would have been in a position to observe several deaths—probably hundreds; and his location during the battle would not have been so specific as to be standing near Saul the whole time.


Now, Matthew Henry suggests that David has heard more information from other sources about this war; however, given his very general line of questioning, and given the final disposition of this matter, I believe that this Amalekite is the first one to deliver this news to David. Not only does he observe that Saul is killed, but he apparently doubles back and takes personal possessions of Saul to show to David. The Philistines were more disciplined than that. They continued to fight unto the next day; then they went back for the bodies of Saul and his sons (1Sam. 31:8). This Amalekite would have had to get to Saul’s body before the Philistines did; and then he would need to get to David as quickly as possible with the news. Therefore, I believe him to be the first to report to David news of this battle. Recall that a time frame had been given at the beginning of this chapter. David and his men had been camped for 2 days and this was the beginning of the 3rd. Recall that, simultaneous with David and his men fighting the Amalekites, the Philistines had charged the Israelites. These are simultaneous events. Therefore, David has been in camp for 1–2 days about the same time the Philistines go back to Saul’s body to desecrate it.


David did, on a later date, receive a more accurate accounting of Saul’s death, which information we find recorded in 1Sam. 31. It is possible that even this Amalekite, when he finds out that he is to be executed, tells David the real story (however, this is not recorded in Scripture).


Bear in mind that someone had to know what happened when Saul was killed, and that there would not be a lot of people who observed this. This young Amalekite probably did observe Saul’s death, even though he gives an incorrect accounting of it. It would be unlikely that any other survivors would have seen this, apart from the Philistine aggressors. Although Saul could have kept Abner nearby until his death, I don’t think that is what happened.


And so says David unto the young man the one making known to him, “How do you know that are dead Saul and Jonathan his son?”

2Samuel

1:5

So David said to the young man who made [this] known to him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”

David then asked him, “How do you know that Saul and Jonathan are dead?”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says David unto the young man the one making known to him, “How do you know that are dead Saul and Jonathan his son?”

Septuagint                              And David said to the young man who brought him the tidings, How do you know that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead?

 

Significant differences: None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              David asked, "How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?.

The Message                         David pressed the young soldier for details: "How do you know for sure that Saul and Jonathan are dead?"


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         "How do you know Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?" David asked the young man who had brought him the news.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Then David said to the young man who told him, "How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?"

Young’s Updated LT             And David says unto the youth who is declaring it to him, “How do you known that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead?”

 

The gist of this verse?          David then asks, “How do you know that Saul and Jonathan are dead?” Does this Amalekite actually know how to recognize them? Why did he stick around in the battle?


2Samuel 1:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

Hiphil participle with the definite article

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: So David said to the young man who made [this] known to him,... David asks for more information here. This is a life-changing event for David and a very significant event in the history of Israel; so David needs to put together more information.


2Samuel 1:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

êyk (י̤א) [pronounced ayche]

how

interrogative adverb

Strong’s #349 BDB #32

yâda׳ (עַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted with, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

We would translate this as a present tense, even though it is a Qal perfect. In the Hebrew, this young man has already come to this know this. This young man is not in the process of coming to this conclusion. So, in the Hebrew, this properly reads, “How did you know that...” In the English, it simply sounds better to say, “How do you know that...”

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die; to perish, to be destroyed

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Yehôwnâthân (ןָטָנהי) [pronounced ye-hoh-naw-THAWN]

alternate spelling; transliterated Jonathan

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3083 (& #3129) BDB #220

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119


Translation:...“How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” David solicits more information by asking, “How do you know that they are both dead?” The fact that David asks this question indicates to me that they discussed Saul and Jonathan only (Saul’s other two sons are not mentioned). This question also indicates to me that David is seeking information; that he has not been given this information from some other source. That is, I don’t think that David is asking questions of this young man in order to trip him up. At least one commentator thought that many people brought information to David, and that this guy is just one out of those many. I don’t see it that way. I see him as being David’s first source of information about Saul and Jonathan’s deaths. I believe that all we read in this narrative is consistent with this understanding.


At this point, David is going to lean back in his chair and just listen. He is going to let this young Amalekite give the complete story, which he will do in the next 4 verses.


And so says the young man the one making know to him, “To meet by chance I met in a mountain of Gilboa and behold, Saul was leaning upon his spear; and behold, the chariots and the lords of the horses were caused to adhere [to] him.

2Samuel

1:6

So the young man—the one making [this] known to him—said, “[It was] by chance I happened [to be] on Mount Gilboa, and I saw [lit., and behold], Saul leaning upon his spear and [lit., and behold] the chariots and horsemen were coming upon him.

The young man then said, “I just happened to be on Mount Gilboa by chance this day, and I saw Saul leaning upon his spear with chariots and horsemen coming upon him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says the young man the one making know to him, “To meet by chance I met in a mountain of Gilboa and behold, Saul was leaning upon his spear; and behold, the chariots and the lords of the horses were caused to adhere [to] him.

Septuagint                              And the young man that brought the tidings, said to him, “I happened accidentally to be upon mount Gelbue; and, behold, Saul was leaning upon his spear, and, behold, the chariots and captains of horse pressed hard upon him.

 

Significant differences: The final couple verbs are somewhat different; but this may have been the best guess of the Greek translators.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              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.

The Message                         "I just happened by Mount Gilboa and came on Saul, badly wounded and leaning on his spear, with enemy chariots and horsemen bearing down hard on him.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The young man answered, "I happened to be on Mount Gilboa. Saul was there leaning on his spear, and the chariots and horsemen were catching up with him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And the young man who told him said, "By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear, and behold, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him.

Young’s Updated LT             And the youth who is declaring it to him says, “I happened to meet in mount Gilboa, and lo, Saul is leaning on his spear; and lo, the chariots and those possessing horses have followed him;...

 

The gist of this verse?          The young man tells David that he just happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and he observes Saul leaning on his sword while the Philistines follow after him.


2Samuel 1:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

masculine singular, Hiphil participle with the definite article

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: So the young man—the one making [this] known to him—said,... David is trying to elicit enough information from this young man to make certain that what he tells him is credible. Also, as mentioned, the information will impact Israel and David greatly. So this young man continues.


2Samuel 1:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

qârâh (הָרָק) [pronounced kaw-RAWH]

to meet, to be made to meet; to be by chance, to happen

Niphal infinitive absolute

Strong's #7136 BDB #899

qârâh (הָרָק) [pronounced kaw-RAWH]

to meet, to be made to meet; to be by chance, to happen

1st person singular, Niphal perfect

Strong's #7136 BDB #899

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill; mountain, mount; hill-country

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249

Gilebbô׳a (-עֹל̣) [pronounced gil-BOH-ahģ]

transliterated Gilboa

proper noun; location

Strong’s #1533 BDB #162


Translation: “[It was] by chance I happened [to be] on Mount Gilboa,... Although the verb is doubled, intensifying its meaning, it’s exact meaning is difficult to determine here, unless you understand this man’s motivation. The verb is often used for actually meeting someone—coming face to face with them; however, Saul is not named yet in this phrase. So, the idea is, this young man came to find himself on Mount Gilboa. It just happened. That is, he was just out walking one day, and he’s out by Mount Gilboa, and all of a sudden, he finds himself in the middle of a war. There is little explanation given here as to why this man—an Amalekite, as we will see later—found himself to be on Mount Gilboa during a battle between the Jews and the Philistines. We actually have no idea how he happens to find himself here. It is by chance that he happens to be there. Here is the idea he is selling: “I wasn’t there as a soldier for the Israelites or the Philistines. I just happened to be here.”


This man has left out a lot of details in this regard. He doesn’t tell us why he is there, miles and miles away from the souther Amalekite population. He never tells us what business he is on. He doesn’t tell us if he was extremely well-hidden, for whatever reason, and observed what occurred here. What is clear is, he probably did witness what occurred. At the very least, he did come through this area just at the right moment, after the battle had moved from where Saul was, so that Saul’s body was lying there, but the Philistines had continued to pursue the Israelites. Do you see the problems here? Do you see what a wild coincidence that this Amalekite just happens to be here? There is no reason to assume that this young man is telling the complete truth here—but, he is certainly offering a half-truth. It is my opinion that this young man was a mercenary for the Philistine army.


This is not the general area where Amalekites live and roam. To be caught up in the middle of a war seems like the last place anyone would want to be. Furthermore, this war did not start suddenly. The armies moved into place first. And, if this man observes Saul’s death (he will claim to have caused it), then he is right at the hottest part of the battle. Why would anyone stay that close?


In any case, Mount Gilboa is where Saul and his army retreated to. Their backs were to this mountain, possibly with the idea that retreat would be possible. Even if that were the reasoning, there were simply too many Philistines to hide from.


2Samuel 1:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, note, take note; pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

shâ׳an (ן ַע ָש) [pronounced shaw-AHN]

to lean [rest] upon [against], to support oneself against; it can be used figuratively for faith or confidence in someone

Niphal participle

Strong’s #8172 BDB #1043

This verb is generally found with a preposition of some sort.

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

chănîyth (תי.נֲח) [pronounced khuh-NEETH]

spear

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2595 BDB #333


Translation: ...and I saw [lit., and behold], Saul leaning upon his spear... Now, this partially accurate. According to what we read in 1Sam. 31, which seems to be a fairly straightforward narrative of the events which transpired, Saul first asked his sword-bearer to kill him and then he leaned on his own sword and died. Always, when presenting a lie, it needs to be mixed with as much truth as possible in order to sell it. Saul, at first, leans on his sword, and then falls upon it to kill himself. However, that part of the story the Amalekite changes. He says nothing about Saul trying to kill himself, and that he was leaning upon his spear, not his sword.


Remember, this man has had some time, a day or so, to get his story straight as he goes to find David. Saul is clearly wounded by the Philistines, so he cannot change that part of the story. However, it is going to seem like a bit much for Saul to be severely wounded, then he falls on his sword, and then, that doesn’t kill him, so he calls out to this Amalekite who just happens to be nearby, to kill him again. That seems like just too many wounds, so the Amalekite decides to modify this story so that Saul only leans on his spear, but does not try to commit suicide. David would not buy that it took 3 sets of wounds to take Saul out, including a self-inflicted wound by a seasoned soldier who knew how to kill. So, instead of Saul killing himself, this Amalekite will claim to do that.


2Samuel 1:6d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, note, take note; pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

merekâbâh (הָבָר∵מ) [pronounced mere-kawb-VAW]

chariot, war chariot

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4818 BDB #939

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ba׳al (ל ַע ַ) [pronounced BAH-ģahl]

owner, lord, husband; transliterated Baal when referencing the heathen god

masculine plural construct

Strong's #1167 BDB #127

pârâsh (שָרָ) [pronounced paw-RASH]

horse, steed; horseman

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #6571 BDB #832

dâbaq (ק ַב ָ) [pronounced dawb-VAHK]

to cause to adhere, to make to cleave; to follow hard; to come upon, to reach, to be caused to reach

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil perfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1692 BDB #179


Translation:...“[It ...and [lit., and behold] the chariots and horsemen were coming upon him. The Philistine soldiers were closing in on Saul. They had chariots, something which Saul and his men did not have, which made it easy for them to overtake the Israeli army. The Philistine soldiers apparently pinpointed where Saul was (it is not clear whether they knew this was Saul or not) and pelted that area with arrows, one of which wounded Saul severely.


Now, I want you to picture this. Saul is not going anywhere. We know that he is conversing with his armorbearer asking him to kill him. The Philistines have wounded him and are coming up fast on him. We are talking, at the most, a minute. If Saul is not moving, and the Philistines spot him and come after him, not much time can transpire. And, somehow, this Amalekite is hanging around somewhere observing this. In fact, as we will see, Saul even strikes up a brief conversation with him. He just happens to find himself far north of where the Amalekites usually are; and he just happens to find himself not on the periphery of the battle, but almost dead smack in the middle of the most intense part of the battle, as this is Saul, and the Philistines want to kill him more than anyone else. Do you see, this story just makes little sense?


And he turns around behind him and so he sees me and so he calls unto me, and so I say, ‘Behold me.’

2Samuel

1:7

So he turned around and saw me and he called to me, and I answered [lit., said] ‘Here I am.’

So, when he turned around, he saw me and called to me. I answered, ‘Here I am.’


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And he turns around behind him and so he sees me and so he calls unto me, and so I say, ‘Behold me.’

Septuagint                              And he looked behind him, and saw me, and called me; and I said, Behold, me.

 

Significant differences: Even though the first verb is different, this is probably a lose translation from the Hebrew into the Greek. As usual, there is no real change in the overall meaning.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              When he turned around and saw me, he called me over. I went and asked what he wanted.

The Message                         He looked behind him, saw me, and called me to him. 'Yes sir,' I said, 'at your service.'


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         When he looked back and saw me, he called to me, and I said, 'Yes?'

HCSB                                     When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, so I answered: I'm at your service.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

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

Young’s Updated LT             ...and he turns behind him, and sees me, and calls unto me, and I say, ‘Here am I.’

 

The gist of this verse?          The young man is still giving David his view of the events. Saul looks around and he sees the young man and he calls out to him. The young man answers, “Here I am.”.


2Samuel 1:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

pânâh (ה ָנ ָ) [pronounced paw-NAWH]

to turn, to turn away from, to turn toward, to turn one’s face away from, to turn one’s face to

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6437 BDB #815

achărêy (י̤רֲח ַא) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

hinder parts; behind, after; following; after that, afterwards

preposition; plural form with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #310 BDB #29


Translation: So he turned around... Or, more literally, he turned toward behind himself. For some reason, in all of the panic of war and his impending death, Saul decides to look behind himself. Bear in mind, this is the account of this young Amalekite, who may or may not be telling the entire truth. Now, even though this might be unusual for a king to do, facing certain death within minutes; this does not mean that Saul did not do this. This is not an impossible situation that Saul is leaning on his spear, wounded (not mentioned by this young man), that he looks behind himself. It is possible that he thought, for an instant, maybe there is somewhere to hide. Obviously, this is speculation. Furthermore, this is speculation which assumes the young man is telling the truth, and we already know of one clear discrepancy: in the narratives of 1Sam. 31 and 1Chron. 12, Saul falls on his sword; and, in this young man’s account, Saul leans on his spear, as if it is holding him up.


2Samuel 1:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #7200 BDB #906


Translation: ...and saw me... Now, when Saul turns around, in the midst of this battle, he sees this Amalekite. Now, this is a bit suspicious. Saul and his armorbearer cannot find a safe place to hide; Saul has been hit with an arrow; and yet, there is an Amalekite there, not struck by the arrows; and someone who would be able to escape. This is not an impossibility; but it is highly unlikely. It is unusual for the Amalekite to be standing right there; it is unusual for the Amalekite to manage to walk away from this battle unhurt; and it is unusual for Saul to turn around and see him.


Have you ever seen the movie where this guy and this girl are in love, but they are estranged, and then, they just happen to run into each other on the streets of New York City. The movie plot just won’t move along unless they just happen to be on the same street at the same time, walking toward one another; so, we often accept these things in the movies. However, this man just happens to find himself in the middle of a war, not on either side, and here he is, just standing right next to the king of Israel just before he dies, and before the Philistines come upon him. He just happens to be here. If we like the movie, sure, we are going to let these two people meet by accident in the middle of a city of 10 million, because we want them to. However, I just don’t really like this Amalekite and I’m not buying into the idea that he just happens to be on Mount Gilboa, standing next to Saul, seconds after Saul is mortally wounded by Philistines, who are advancing toward him on horseback and by chariot. I’ll believe it in a movie, but not in real life.


2Samuel 1:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to call, to proclaim, to read, to call to, to call out to, to assemble, to summon; to call, to name [when followed by a lâmed]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39


Translation: ...and he called to me,... When Saul sees this young man (according to the young man), he calls out to him. Interestingly enough, arrogant Saul uses a preposition which often implies deference. The king of Israel calls unto this Amalekite, showing him great respect and deference.


2Samuel 1:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, note, take note; pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243


Translation: ...and I answered [lit., said] ‘Here I am.’ the young man answers Saul and says, “I am right here.” What better time to chat things up than right in the midst of the battle, with the mortally wounded king, and the enemy fast approaching. Of course, it is time to strike up a conversation with someone who just happens to be walking by.


And so he says to me, ‘Who [are] you?’


And so I say unto him, ‘An Amalekite [am] I.’

2Samuel

1:8

So he asked me [lit., and so he says to me], ‘Who [are] you?’


I answered [lit., and so I said unto him], ‘I [am] an Amalekite.’

So he asked me, ‘Who are you?’


and I answered, ‘An Amalekite, sir.’


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he says to me, ‘Who [are] you?’

 

Septuagint                              And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ and I said, ‘I am an Amalekite.’

 

Significant differences: None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Saul asked me, "Who are you?" "An Amalekite," I answered.

The Message                         He asked me who I was, and I told him, 'I'm an Amalekite.'


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         "He asked me, 'Who are you?' "I said to him, 'I'm an Amalekite.'


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And he said to me, Who are you? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.

Young’s Updated LT             And he says to me, ‘Who are you?’ And I say unto him, ‘An Amalekite I am .’

 

The gist of this verse?          Saul asks the young man “Who are you” and the young man admits to being an Amalekite.


2Samuel 1:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who, whom; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative; the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61


Translation: So he asked me [lit., and so he says to me], ‘Who [are] you?’ According to this young man’s story, Saul looks and sees this man, and recognizes that he is a foreigner. When he asks “Who are you?” Saul is not looking for the man’s name, but, essentially asking, “Are you friend or foe?” Again, this is from the standpoint of the Amalekite standing before David. Although part of what he tells David is true, it will become obvious that part of what he tells David is a lie as well.


2Samuel 1:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

For some reason, Owen lists two prepositions here, but there is only one. It is a typo.

׳Amâlêq (ק̤לָמ-ע) [pronounced ģah-maw-LAYK]

transliterated Amalek

masculine proper noun; used as an gentilic adjective here

Strong’s #6002 BDB #766

ânôkîy (י.כֹנָא) [pronounced awn-oh-KEE]

I, me; (sometimes a verb is implied)

1st person singular personal pronoun

Strong’s #595 BDB #59

Read I; written he. However, in 3 early printed editions, and in the Aramaic, Septuagint, Syriac and Vulgate, this is both written and read I.


Translation: I answered [lit., and so I said unto him], ‘I [am] an Amalekite.’ The Amalekite understands the nature of Saul’s question and answers that he is an Amalekite.


Now, it is fair to ask at this point, does this question which Saul asks really mean, “Are you my enemy?” This may or may not be the case. However, this in and of itself is not necessarily a lie. The young man can simply be putting this in the Hebrew language the best that he can. We do not have difficult Hebrew in this narrative of the young man. Therefore, we cannot point to this particular question and say, “This can’t be right; this is not what Saul was asking; it does not mean this in the Hebrew.” Bear in mind, you are hearing an Amalekite speak in Hebrew, so the Hebrew is going to be overly-simplified. I know a smattering of Spanish. I once held a short conversation with a Mexican in Acapulco and we pretty much covered everything from chapter 1 of my Freshman high school book. After that, I was at a loss, and he knew it. I spoke to one person on the internet in Spanish, and, since I had time to think and to type, I did slightly better. However, everything that I said sounded, to one who speaks Spanish, like I was a moron. So, when speaking another language that he does not know from birth, we can grant certain allowances to this Amalekite. Of course, rather than try to explain this as though it really happened, bear in mind, this is mostly a fabricated story.


I hope you see the irony here: Saul was supposed to wipe out the Amalekites, and here is one, right at the end of his life. I do believe the Amalekite to be there, but that he is among the Philistines advancing against Saul.


And so he says unto me, ‘Take a stand please upon me; kill me, for the anguish has seized me; for all yet my soul in me.’

2Samuel

1:9

Then he said, ‘Stand over me, please [and] kill me, for horrible pain [lit., anguish] has taken a hold of me; [and] because my soul [is] yet whole within me.’

Then he said, ‘Kill me, because I am in great pain, yet death eludes me.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he says unto me, ‘Take a stand please upon me; kill me, for the anguish SeptuagintAnd he said to me, Stand, I pray you, over me, and slay me, for a dreadful darkness has come upon me, for all my life [is] in me.

 

Significant differences: The noun which is different is found only here in the Hebrew; therefore, we would expect the Greeks (and ourselves) to have some difficulty translating it.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Then he said, "Kill me! I'm dying, and I'm in terrible pain."

The Message                         "Come here," he said, "and put me out of my misery. I'm nearly dead already, but my life hangs on."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         "He said to me, 'Please stand over me and kill me. I'm alive, but I'm suffering.'

HCSB                                     Then he begged me, 'Stand over me and kill me, for I'm mortally wounded, but my life still lingers.'


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                             He said to me, Stand, I pray you, beside me, and kill me; for anguish has taken hold of me, because my life is yet whole in me.

Young’s Updated LT             “And he says unto me, Stand, I pray you, over me, and put me to death, for seized me has the arrow, for all my soul is still in me.

 

The gist of this verse?          This is still the account of the young Amalekite, and we are continuing in his supposed conversation with Saul. Saul tells him to stand over him and kill him because he is in great pain and agony.


2Samuel 1:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

׳âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD]

to take a stand, to stand, to remain, to endure, to withstand

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #5975 BDB #763

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

now; please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over; on the ground of, because of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, with, by, besides, in addition to, to, toward, together with, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to

preposition of proximity with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752


Translation: Then he said, ‘Stand over me, please... Saul asks the young man to come to him and stand over him. The verb is used often for a person who takes a decisive stand (or is urged to take a decisive stand). Again, all of this is occurring according to the story of the young Amalekite.


2Samuel 1:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to kill, to cause to die, to execute

2nd person masculine singular, Polel imperative; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #4191 BDB #559


Translation:...[and] kill me,... In the Hebrew, it is common to string together two imperatives without a conjunction; whereas, we tend to string imperatives together with conjunctions. The request of Saul is for this young man to kill him.


This story is probably mostly a fabrication and that this Amalekite is looking to capitalize on the situation. He does not want to take any chances. He cannot say, “I saw Saul there, so I went up and killed him.” He does not know exactly how David is going to respond to that. However, it sounds better if Saul personally requested that he be killed. This is a service to Saul and a service to David. This young man, if he is fabricating this story, has thought it out well. He just happened to be there and Saul just happened to ask his help in killing him. In his own mind, he cannot be faulted for what he did. He expects that David is going to reward him for this.


2Samuel 1:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

âchaz (ז ַח ָא) [pronounced aw-KHAHZ]

to grasp, to take hold of, to seize; to take [by hunting, fishing]; to hold [something taken]; to take possession of

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #270 BDB #28

shâbâts (ץָבָש) [pronounced shaw-BAWTS]

pain, agony; vertigo, giddiness, confusion of the senses; breastplate, coat of mail

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7661 BDB #990#7661

This noun is found only here; the only cognate verb has to do with weaving. Therefore, we can only guess at its meaning from the context.

Some render the words, "my embroidered coat," or "breastplate," or "coat of mail," holds me or hinders me from being pierced through with the sword or spear. This would be in line with the cognates for this noun; however, now the verb does not really seem to fit.


Translation: ...for horrible pain [or, anguish] has taken a hold of me;... Even Owen has a question mark here. The general consensus of most translators is, Saul claims to be seized by great overwhelming pain. However, this is a word whose meaning is taken principally from the context rather than from its usage elsewhere or its cognates.


2Samuel 1:9d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]; also kol (לָ) [pronounced kol]

all, all things, the whole, totality, the entirety, everything

masculine singular noun without the definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

׳ôwd (דע) [pronounced ģohd]

still, yet, again, besides, in addition to, even yet

adverb

Strong’s #5750 BDB #728

nephesh (שפ נ) [pronounced NEH-fesh]

soul, life, living being, desire

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5315 BDB #659

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88


Translation:...[and] because my soul [is] yet whole within me.’ Saul knows that he is going to die. That is a given at this point. Samuel had told him this the night before (1Sam. 28). So he simply asks this young man to kill him. He is in great pain and his soul still clings to life.


Again, you will notice that the vocabulary does not convey this exactly. It is close, but it does not seem to say this precisely. Again, this is an Amalekite speaking Hebrew; therefore, we cannot fault him for his weak language skills. He speaks better Hebrew than I do Spanish.


Also, as we study this, bear in mind that the Amalekite has most certainly fabricated portions of this story. Most people realize that David will become king of Israel. What better way to ingratiate yourself to the man at the top than to say that you have killed his rival—and killed his rival at his rival’s request. The plan seems foolproof to the young Amalekite.


And so I stand upon him and so I killed him for I knew that he would not live after his falling. And so I take [the] crown [?] which [was] upon his head and [the] armlet [?] which [was] upon his arm and so I bring them unto my lord here.”

2Samuel

1:10

So I stood over him and I killed him, because I knew that he would not live after he fell. Then I took the crown which was on his head and the armlet from around [lit., which was upon] his arm and I bought them here to my lord.”

Then I stood over him and killed him, for I knew that he could not survive his wounding. Then I took the crown from his head and his royal armlet and brought them here to my lord.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so I stand upon him and so I killed him for I knew that he would not live after his falling. And so I take [the] crown [?] which [was] upon his head and [the] armlet [?] which [was] upon his arm and so I bring them unto my lord here.”

Septuagint                              So I stood over him and slew him, because I knew he will not live after he was fallen; and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was upon his arm, and I have brought them hither to my lord.

 

Significant differences: None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       So 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.

The Message                         "So I did what he asked--I killed him. I knew he wouldn't last much longer anyway. I removed his royal headband and bracelet, and have brought them to my master. Here they are."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         "So I stood over him and killed him, since I knew he couldn't survive after he had been wounded. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band that was on his arm and brought them here to you, sir."

HCSB                                     So I stood over him and killed him because I knew that after he had fallen he couldn't survive. I took the crown that was on his head and the armband that was on his arm, and I've brought them here to my lord."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord."

Young's Updated LT              And I stand over him, and put him to death, for I knew that he doth not live after his falling, and I take the crown which is on his head, and the bracelet which is on his arm, and bring them in unto my lord hither.'

 

The gist of this verse?          This Amalekite continues telling David his story. He killed Saul not only at his request, but also because he could not continue to live. He also brought Saul’s crown and bracelet to David.


2Samuel 1:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD]

to take a stand, to stand, to remain, to endure, to withstand

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5975 BDB #763

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over; on the ground of, because of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, with, by, besides, in addition to, to, toward, together with, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to

preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to kill, to cause to die, to execute

1st person singular, Polel imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #4191 BDB #559


Translation: So I stood over him and I killed him,... Although the preposition could mean beside, it probably means that this Amalekite stood over Saul. Again, recall this is an Amalekite speaking Hebrew, so we cannot even pin down his story for complete and total accuracy simply because of the language barrier. He stood over Saul and killed him—but, recall, Saul asked him to do this (according to the Amalekite). Not only did Saul ask him to do this, but Saul used these exact words (according to the Amalekite).


You may recall our difficulties with one word in the Hebrew in the previous verse. If this Amalekite did have to pierce Saul’s coat of mail (as per his story), then standing over Saul would have been the proper position for him in inflict a death blow.


2Samuel 1:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

yâda׳ (עַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted with, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

châyâh (הָיָח) [pronounced khaw-YAW]

 to live, to have life, to revive, to recover health, to be healed, to be refreshed

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #2421 & #2425 BDB #310

achărêy (י̤רֲח ַא) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

hinder parts; behind, after; following; after that, afterwards

preposition; plural form

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

nâphal (לַפָנ) [pronounced naw-FAHL]

to fall, to lie, to die a violent death, to be brought down, to settle, to sleep deeply

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5307 BDB #656


Translation: ...because I knew that he would not live after he fell. The Amalekite quickly adds, “But I knew for certain that there is no way that he would live after falling.” The Amalekite is quick to qualify what he has done. He wants to be careful here. He just killed the king of Israel (according to his own story), but there are two mitigating factors: (1) Saul asked him to do it and (2) there is no way that Saul would live after falling. By the way, the falling which he speaks about is, Saul is propping himself up on his spear (according to the Amalekite).


We have 3 things which tell us that this Amalekite was standing over Saul while Saul is on the ground: (1) we have the use of the preposition ׳al, which generally means over; (2) we have Saul suffering from a mortal wound (which means that it is unlikely that Saul is actually standing up, even though the Amalekite says he is propped up on his spear); (3) and we have a verb applied to Saul which means to fall, to lie, to die, to be brought down. Now, one of these reasons alone does not tell us that Saul was on the ground and that this young Amalekite man stood over him. However, all of them taken together, even with the language barrier, would indicate that we can pretty well bet that this is the story which the Amalekite wants to convey. Now, there is a problem: back in v. 6, Saul is leaning upon his spear. This would indicate that he is, more or less, standing. Now, he may have fallen before the Amalekite got to him (which fact the Amalekite leaves out); but then, why didn’t Saul fall upon his spear and die? This causes us more doubt as to the veracity of this man’s story.


2Samuel 1:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

nêzer (רזֵנ) [pronounced NAY-zer]

crown; dedication, consecration; Nazariteship

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5145 BDB #634

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

rôsh (שאֹר) [pronounced rohsh]

head, top, chief, front, choicest

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #7218 BDB #910


Translation: Then I took the crown which was on his head... He has just killed Saul. Apparently, this Amalekite looks at the dead king and decides that David needs to know about this and that he needs to bring some proof of Saul’s death.


Now, also bear in mind that we have a very different account of Saul’s death in 1Sam. 31—Saul does ask his armor-bearer to kill him, but his armor-bearer refuses to do so, so Saul falls upon his own sword—he commits suicide. Now, for this Amalekite to come so close to giving David the same account as we find in 1Sam. 31 and for him to have Saul’s crown and armlet, we know that this young man really did observe Saul’s death and he really did go to Saul’s body and remove these things. This is the only proof that the young man submits to David, which is pretty much all he could submit, even if his story is true.


Now, you may wonder, how did the Philistines later identify Saul’s body? Recall, in the ancient world, Saul’s picture had not been posted on the internet and downloaded by his enemies. In fact, the internet was barely in its infancy at that time and probably very few of Saul’s enemies had wireless access. However, Saul had armor, which his soldiers would not have. He had an iron sword, which his men did not have. He had a spear with an iron tip, which his soldiers did not have. And, Saul had an armor bearer who died beside him. Therefore, these things would have indicated to the soldiers who went back to check the Israelites bodies that this was Saul.


2Samuel 1:10d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

etse׳âdâh (הָדָעצ∵א) [pronounced ehts-ģaw-DAW]

leg chain [iron]; armlet, bracelet

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #685 BDB #858

Context usually makes it quite clear whether this is an armlet, anklet or leg chain.

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

zerôwa׳ ( ַער׃ז) [pronounced zeROH-ahģ

arm, shoulder and figuratively means strength

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2220 BDB #283


Translation: ...and the armlet from around [lit., which was upon] his arm... Now, it is possible that armlet is not the primary meaning of the word used here. Again, this is an Amalekite doing the best that he can with the Hebrew language.

 

Freeman: Saul’s armlet is supposed to be have a part of the insignia of his royalty. Egyptian monarchs are often represented on the monuments wearing armlets and bracelets. The Persian kings often wore them, and they are still common among Oriental sovereigns, many of them being elaborately wrought and richly ornamented with jewels.


It is this crown and armlet which would have identified Saul as the King of Israel. Interestingly enough, this is one of the few facts which is in agreement with the accounts given in 1Sam. 31 and 1Chron. 10. The Philistines find Saul's armor, but nothing is said about his crown or armlet (or, about his spear or sword for that matter—1Sam. 31:8–10).


What most men would have taken, under these same circumstances, is Saul’s head; there is no better proof than Saul’s head that this man is dead (see 2Sam. 4:7–8, for instance). This is not what this Amalekite did, and for probably two reasons: (1) if the Philistines returned and found a headless Saul, they would have gone after the Amalekite; the Philistines want this head for there display case in one of their temples (1Chron. 10:10). (2) Although a head does not weigh that much, it is more difficult to transport than a crown an armlet, which can be easily fastened to quadruped, and more easily hidden, if necessary.


2Samuel 1:10e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to take in, to bring, to come in with, to carry

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ba׳al (ל ַע ַ) [pronounced BAH-ģahl]

owner, lord, husband; transliterated Baal when referencing the heathen god

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #1167 BDB #127

hênnâh (הָ ֵה) [pronounced HAYN-naw]

hither, here

adverb

Strong’s #2008 BDB #244


Translation: ...and I bought them here to my lord.” Notice how this Amalekite shows great deference to David. He brings these things immediately to David (Saul’s body is probably still warm). The indication is, this man would certainly not steal these items, but David would be the man who should most be the recipient of the crown and royal armlet of Israel. This tells us that a great deal was known about David and Saul and that God would bring David to the throne (even though David was not publically proclaimed as king, he was the only person in all Israel who could reasonably be considered as the next king, as most of Saul’s sons were killed in battle).

 

McGee comments: It sounds as though [the young man] expected David to give him a medal for his deed and put him on a life pension.

 

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown makes some summary comments on this man’s story: As the narrative of Saul's death, given in the last chapter, is inspired, it must be considered the true account, and the Amalekite's story a fiction of his own, invented to ingratiate himself with David, the presumptive successor to the throne. David's question, "How went the matter?" evinces the deep interest he took in the war, an interest that sprang from feelings of high and generous patriotism, not from views of ambition. The Amalekite, however, judging him to be actuated by a selfish principle, fabricated a story improbable and inconsistent, which he thought would procure him a reward. Having probably witnessed the suicidal act of Saul, he thought of turning it to his own account, and suffered the penalty of his grievously mistaken calculation (compare 2Sam. 1:9 with 1Sam. 31:4–5).


If you personally buy into the Amalekite’s story, then check out Matthew Henry who tries to merge this story with the 1Sam. 31 narrative. However, bear in mind that they simply offer this as one of the two alternatives.

Matthew Henry Believes the Amalekite’s Story

Very particular. That he happened to go to the place where Saul was (2Sam. 1:6) as a passenger, not as a soldier, and therefore an indifferent person, that he found Saul endeavoring to run himself through with his own spear, none of his attendants being willing to do it for him; and, it seems, he could not do it dexterously for himself: his hand and heart failed him. The miserable man had not courage enough either to live or die; he therefore called this stranger to him (2Sam. 1:7), 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 favor from him (2Sam. 1:9): Stand upon me, and slay me. He is now sick of his dignity and willing to be trampled upon, sick of his life and willing to be slain. Who then would be inordinately fond of life or honour? The case may he such, even with those that have no hope in their death, that yet they may desire to die, and death flee from them (Rev. 9:6). Anguish has come upon me; so we read it, as a complaint of the pain and terror his spirit was seized with. If his conscience now brought to mind the javelin he had cast at David, his pride, malice, and perfidiousness, and especially the murder of the priests, no marvel that anguish came upon him: moles (they say) open their eyes when they are dying. Sense of unpardoned guilt will make death indeed the king of terrors. Those that have baffled their convictions will perhaps, in their dying moments, be overpowered by them. The margin reads it as a complaint of the inconvenience of his clothes; that his coat of mail which he had for defense, or his embroidered coat which he had for ornament, hindered him, that he could not get the spear far enough into his body, or so straitened him, now that his body swelled with anguish, that he could not expire. Let no man's clothes be his pride, for it may so happen that they may be his burden and snare. “Hereupon,” saith our young man, “I stood upon him, and slew him” (2Sam. 1:10) at which word, perhaps, he observed David look upon him with some show of displeasure, and therefore he excuses himself in the next words: “For I was sure he could not live; his life was whole in him indeed, but he would certainly have fallen into the hands of the Philistines or given himself another thrust.”

Matthew Henry Does not Believe the Amalekite’s Story

It is doubtful whether this story be true. If it be, the righteousness of God is to be observed, that Saul, who spared the Amalekites in contempt of the divine command, received his death's wound from an Amalekite. But most interpreters think that it was false, and that, though he might happen to be present, yet he was not assisting in the death of Saul, but told David so in expectation that he would reward him for it, as having done him a piece of good service. Those who would rejoice at the fall of an enemy are apt to measure others by themselves, and to think that they will do so too. But a man after God's own heart is not to be judged of by common men. I am not clear whether this young man's story was true or no: it may consist with the narrative in the chapter before, and be an addition to it, as Peter's account of the death of Judas (Acts 1:18) is to the narrative (Matt. 27:5). What is there called a sword may here be called a spear, or when he fell upon his sword he leaned on his spear.

These are the two basic positions; obviously, I hang with the second one. J. Vernon McGee, by the way, believes that this Amalekite came upon Saul after Saul fell on his sword—which still leaves us with some unresolved issues, as we will discuss.

Quoted from Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible; from e-Sword, 2Sam. 1:1–10.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

 

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge reads: The story of this young man appears to be wholly a fiction, formed for the purpose of ingratiating himself with David, as the next probable successor to the crown. There is no fact in the case, except for the bringing of the diadem and bracelets of Saul, as a sufficient evidence of his death, which, as he appears to been a plunderer of the slain, he seems to have stripped from the dead body of the unfortunate monarch It is remarkable, that Saul, who had forfeited his crown by his disobedience and ill-timed clemency with respect to the Amalekites, should now have the insignia of royalty stripped from his person by one of those very people.


What we should look at now are problems with this Amalekite’s story. Why does his story not ring true?

Why Does the Story Told by the Amalekite not Ring True?

1.      The young man is wearing torn clothes and dust on his head. This could imply that he was fighting in this war, which he never admits to. It could imply that he is in mourning; but he seems to think that this is good news for David. He could be acting like a messenger bearing bad news—that Israel was defeated in battle. Even though this third possibility makes sense, there is no reason for him to go to David and tell him this. There is no alliance between David and the Amalekites; they are bitter enemies. The only reason this man goes to David is to get something from him.

2.      The Amalekite says that he just happens to be on Mount Gilboa. However, this is far north of the usual stomping grounds of the Amalekites. This would make perfect sense if this Amalekite was a part of the Philistine army. He never suggests this or admits to this.

3.      This Amalekite just happens to find himself in a position to observe Saul leaning on his spear with the Philistine troops closing in on him. He is not simply observing a war, but he is observing the most intense fighting, standing right next to the king of Israel. How does he happen to be there, but no one sees him? If he could hide, why couldn’t Saul hide?

4.      What this man observed would have occurred in just a few seconds. Saul was wounded; and the Philistine troops are pursuing him closely in chariots and horseback; and Saul is leaning on his sword. Saul knows that he is about to be killed, in a matter of seconds; and yet he chats up this young man. “Who are you?” He and the young man will actually have a short conversation. This is just no time for this to take place. Saul would, if this were true, ask him to kill him immediately. Who cares who the young man is?

5.      Saul politely calls out to the young man; he says unto him, which is a sign of deference and respect; the king of Israel is showing this young Amalekite respect.

6.      According to the Amalekite’s story, Saul would have died on his own just by falling over. If Saul wanted to die, why didn’t he let go of the spear and just fall over?

7.      In the Amalekite’s story, he is mostly standing over Saul. This is the meaning of the verb and preposition which are used. Saul’s request indicates that the Amalekite needs to stand over Saul to kill him. Yet, the Amalekite says he approaches Saul while he is propped up on his spear. And he tells us that in falling, Saul would die. Did Saul fall then? If he fell, why didn’t he die? All of the verbiage in this verse indicates that the Amalekite is standing over Saul, which is not in complete agreement with the rest of the Amalekite’s story.

8.      His story is just to nice at the end; he kills Saul at Saul’s request; but Saul was about to die anyway. He has set this up so that, in his mind, he could not be faulted for what he did.

This is why most commentators just don’t buy into this Amalekite’s story. What we find in the Open Bible is typical: A comparison [of this passage] with 1Sam 31:4 would indicate that the young Amalekite fabricated the story (vv. 6–10) to curry favor with David. He probably found Saul dead on the battle field, took his crown and bracelets (v. 10), and brought them to David. His misjudgment of David's character cost him his life.

Of course, there are detractors from Scripture who point to his inconsistencies and claim that the problem is, this is some story that has been passed down and messed up as it was passed down.

Chapter Outline

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What we should look at now are problems with this Amalekite’s story. Why does his story not ring true?

Why We Think This Amalekite is a Mercenary Fighting on the Philistine Side

1.      This explains why this man is able to go to David and find him; and realize the political intrigue which is going on. He may be aware of these things already, but, recall, David almost joined up with the Philistines back in 1Sam. 29. That David was going to do this would have been the talk of the troops for several days—before David arrived until after he left. This Amalekite could have gleaned all the information about David and his location that he needed, as this would have been the campfire discussion.

2.      This easily explains why this young man just happens to be on Mount Gilboa in the middle of a great battle.

3.      This explains how he could observe what happened to Saul, and yet not be killed by either Israelites or by Philistines.

4.      Recall that this Amalekite told David that both Saul and Jonathan had been killed in this battle. Now, if he is somewhat hidden in a place where he can observe Saul and Saul’s death, how does he know about Jonathan? Did Saul and Jonathan die in the same place? If that is so, why don’t we know something about Jonathan’s death from 1Sam. 31? If this Amalekite is a mercenary, he would have been advancing against Israel and he would have had the opportunity to see several groups of Israelites killed in battle. As some lone soul who just happened to find himself on Mount Gilboa on this day, he would not have been able to observe as much.

5.      This explains why this man thinks he can go to David with the news that he has killed David’s rival and expect to be rewarded. He is a mercenary; he is a man for hire. He has no loyalties to the Philistines, to the Israelites or to his own people. He goes to the highest bidder.

6.      He is not going to reveal to David that he fought against the Israelites, as that could land him in trouble.

7.      This explains why this man could double-back from pursuing the Israelites (something the Philistine army would be too disciplined to do) and go back to Saul’s body. The Philistines went and checked the bodies the next day, so this Amalekite had to get to Saul’s body before the victory was declared. Doing so would be easy; the Amalekite is obviously near Saul, so he pursues some Israelites into the mountains, and suddenly stops and waits there, possibly for darkness, and returns to Saul’s body, takes these things, and leaves under the cover of darkness.

Bear in mind that this is all speculation, but it does cause this entire narrative to be easily strung together.

Keil and Delitzsch suggest that this man happened to come across Saul’s dead body after the fighting had moved to the south and the east. A possible scenario would be, this man knew about the war, actually went to where the battle would take place, and then, when the fighting moved, he would go and strip the bodies of their possessions. This is also a reasonable explanation for what the Amalekite was doing there. When he came across Saul, it was as if he had hit the motherload. This ties almost as many things together as does the idea that this Amalekite is a mercenary in the Philistine army. The only unanswered questions are, how did he know Jonathan was also dead? How did he know that David would be the next king of Israel? How did he know where to find David? I am not saying that we could not come up with plausible answers to these questions; I am simply saying that this new approach would require a little more speculation.


Chapter Outline

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And so takes David in his clothes and so he tears them and also all men who [were] with him.

2Samuel

1:11

So David took a hold of his clothing and tore it; and the men who [were] with him [did likewise].

Dave then took a hold of his own clothing and tore it; and the men with him did likewise.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so takes David in his clothes and so he tears them and also all men who [were] with him.

Septuagint                              And David laid hold of his garments, and tore them; and all the men who were with him rent their garments.

 

Significant differences: The verb and direct object are repeated in the Greek; there is no change in the actual meaning of this verse.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Right away, David and his soldiers tore their clothes in sorrow.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then David grabbed his own clothes and tore them in grief. All the men with him did the same.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him.

Young’s Updated LT             And David takes hold on his garments, and rends them, and also all the men who are with him,...

 

The gist of this verse?          After allowing the Amalekite to finish his story, David is terribly upset—very likely because of the death of his close and dear friend, Jonathan—and so he tears his clothing in his great sadness.


2Samuel 1:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châzaq (ק ַז ָח) [pronounced khaw-ZAHK]

to take, to strengthen, to repair, to hold fast, to grab

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #2388 BDB #304

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

begâdîym (םי.דָג) [pronounced be-gaw-DEEM]

garments, clothes, clothing, apparel

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #899 BDB #93

Read garments; written garment. In 2 early printed editions, the Aramaic, Septuagint, Syriac and Vulgate, it is both written and read garments, clothes.


Translation: So David took a hold of his clothing... Again recall that the Jews of old were very demonstrative, so David grabs a hold of his own clothing. This is a very deliberate gesture indicating great soul grief.


2Samuel 1:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâra׳ (ע-רָק) [pronounced kaw-RAHĢ]

to bend, to tear apart; to tear out, to tear away; to cut in pieces [with a knife]; to cut out; to tear with words [i.e, to curse]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #7167 BDB #902


Translation: ...and tore it;... David tears his own clothing, as this, in the ancient world, was an indication of his grief. A Lutheran would wear a clean (and possibly musty) dark suit to indicate his personal grief. David’s grief, by the way, is genuine. He mourns for the Saul that was; and for Saul the great freedom fighter of Israel. And, of course, David grieves for his near and dear friend, Jonathan.


At this point, the Amalekite is, no doubt, a little confused. He has brought David the one piece of information that tells David that he can now assume a position of power in Israel; but David does not react by jumping up and down for joy. David does not have power lust. He was willing to wait on God.


Application: David is called a man after God’s own heart. Here is one illustration: David was willing to wait on God. He felt no need to hurry God’s plan along. He had several chances to shortcut his promise of the throne. David twice could have killed Saul, but he chose not to. He was willing to wait on God’s time. He was willing to go along with God’s timing.


Application: Throughout your life, there will be places where you think God should place you, and, quite frankly, it is not time yet. For instance, you might think that you need to be married at 21 or 25 or 29. You have to wait for God’s timing. There are also things which are going to happen, and you’ll think, “Not yet.” This might be a move, a job change, a child being born. You may not feel like you are ready yet, and God tells you, “It’s time.” I’ve had some major changes in my life, and many which I thought I’d rather wait before this change comes about; but, God has perfect timing. We have to go along with His timing. And, just so you know, it isn’t going to do you a bit of good to drag your feet.


2Samuel 1:11c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

Together, the wâw conjunction and the gam particle might mean together with, along with, joined with, and, furthermore, and furthermore.

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of, all; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ănâsîym (םי.שָנֲא) [pronounced uh-NAW-seem]; also spelled îyshîym (םי.שי ̣א) [pronounced ee-SHEEM]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions; soldiers, followers

masculine plural noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85


Translation: ...and the men who [were] with him [did likewise]. David’s men observe him and do the same. No doubt that many of them wanted to jump up and down with joy. Recall that, when David had the opportunity to kill Saul (on two occasions), some of his men encouraged him to do so. Therefore, David’s grief is genuine; as would be the grief of some of his men. However, despite tearing their clothing, some of David’s men were likely relieved. This meant that they could return to Israel and that they might make up a part of the royal cabinet.


Meanwhile, this Amalekite is observing all of this, wondering to himself, just what is going on here exactly?  He expected them to be celebrating. Of course, they would be sad that Israel was defeated; but David is a great general and he can save Israel, as their new king. Their reaction is not what this young man expected.


And so they mourn and so they weep and so they fast as far as the evening upon Saul and upon Jonathan his son and upon [the] people of Yehowah and upon [the] house of Israel, for they had fallen in the sword.

2Samuel

1:12

Then they mourned and they wept and they fasted until that [lit., the] evening because of Saul and his son Jonathan—and because of the people of Yehowah and the house of Israel—for they [Saul and Jonathan] had fallen by the sword.

David and his men mourned and wept and fasted until that evening for Saul and his son Jonathan—and for the people of Jehovah and the house of Israel—because Saul and Jonathan had both fallen by the sword.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they mourn and so they weep and so they fast as far as the evening upon Saul and upon Jonathan his son and upon [the] people of Yehowah and upon [the] house of Israel, for they had fallen in the sword.

Septuagint                              And they lamented, and wept, and fasted till evening, for Saul and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of Juda, and for the house of Israel, because they were struck down with the sword.

 

Significant differences: The primary difference is, they mourn for the people of Jehovah in the Hebrew, Syriac and Latin, and for the people of Judah in the Greek. The Greek seems to make sense when one takes parallelism into account (Judah is southern Israel; Israel is northern Israel). However, the Philistines seemed to strike primarily central and northern Israel. That is, they did not go on a campaign into southern Israel (Judah). Since Judah is relative free of Philistines (David will move into Hebron and rule over Judah), what we find in the Hebrew seems to be even more appropriate. However, in either case, there is no significant difference between the Hebrew and the Greek.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              They 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.

The Message                         They wept and fasted the rest of the day, grieving the death of Saul and his son Jonathan, and also the army of GOD and the nation Israel, victims in a failed battle.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         They mourned, cried, and fasted until evening because Saul, his son Jonathan, the LORD'S army, and the nation of Israel had been defeated in battle.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

Young's Literal Translation     ...and they mourn, and weep, and fast till the evening, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of Jehovah, and for the house of Israel, because they have fallen by the sword.

 

The gist of this verse?          David and his men mourn and weep and do not eat until that evening because of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, and because of the defeat of Israel.


2Samuel 1:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

çâphad (דַפ ָס) [pronounced saw-FAHD]

to lament, to grieve, to wail, to bewail

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5594 BDB #704


Translation: Then they mourned... David’s initial reaction was to mourn for Saul, Jonathan, the people of God and the people of Israel; he and the men with him mourned for them all.


2Samuel 1:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bâkâh (הָכָ) [pronounced baw-KAW]

to weep, to cry, to bewail

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1058 BDB #113


Translation: ...and they wept... Saul was David’s father-in-law; David did calm Saul at one time by playing music for him. There were some points in time when Saul treated David as his own son—in fact, better than his own father at first—and David would have been very young and impressionable at that time. There are many occasions when David thought to go back to Saul and see about repairing their relationship. There has been time and distance between David and Saul. David is not the kind of person to recall only negative memories of Saul, who was, at a time, almost a father-figure to David. So, David’s weeping was not forced or disingenuous. We do not know about his men, as many of them hooked up with David after David had been an outcast, and they could relate to that. However, since this verb is a masculine plural, we may rest assured that David’s men participated in the mourning and the weeping.


David and his men wept for Jonathan, whose bravery was legend and whose personal integrity could not be questioned. They wept for those who were defeated in battle as well.


2Samuel 1:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

tsûwm (םצ) [pronounced zoom]

to abstain from food, to fast

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6684 BDB #847

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

׳ereb (ב∵ר∵ע) [pronounced ĢEH-rebv]

evening, sunset

masculine singular noun in the pausal form; with the definite article

Strong’s #6153 BDB #787


Translation: ...and they fasted until that [lit., the] evening... One area where Christians tend to get mixed up is, they see what is done in the Bible and they simply try to imitate it. In our culture, sorrow and grief are often accompanied by a great many casseroles. In the culture of Israel, they often fasted. Now, note that this was not a long fast. At most, they fasted for 10 hours. However, it is possible and reasonable to be so overcome by grief so that you have no interest in eating. In part, this would be their reaction (or, at least the reaction of David and maybe a couple of others). However, all of them fasted until that evening.


2Samuel 1:12d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over; on the ground of, because of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, with, by, besides, in addition to, to, toward, together with, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over; on the ground of, because of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, with, by, besides, in addition to, to, toward, together with, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Yehôwnâthân (ןָטָנהי) [pronounced ye-hoh-naw-THAWN]

alternate spelling; transliterated Jonathan

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3083 (& #3129) BDB #220

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119


Translation: ...because of Saul and his son Jonathan—... For some of them, it is possible that they knew Jonathan as David knew him. David and Jonathan had a very warm and close relationship; it is one of the great friendships found in Scripture. So, bear in mind that some of David’s mourning (if not the greater portion of it) would be because he had lost his great friend Jonathan. No doubt, this would be the reason for genuine sorrow on the part of some of David’s men who knew Jonathan or knew of him through David.


As I discussed earlier, Saul was, to some extent, a father figure for David. Saul was suffering from a mental illness as well. So David’s mourning for Saul was not just a show. Many of us would have been fueled by hatred and revenge at this point, but not David.


Let me also point out that, even though David had chosen to live outside of Israel in land controlled by the Philistines, this was his choice that he made, and he did not make this choice by divine guidance. If you will recall, we went into great detail about how David’s flight out of the country was not God’s first choice for David; and it was not until that David got to a point where he was ready to march against Israel, where he may have begun to experience some moral ambiguity. When he and his soldiers returned to Ziklag, and they camp had been raided, that was a wake up call to David, and it is at that point that David got back into fellowship. I say that so that you may understand, David and Saul parted on good terms in their final meeting. This was 1Sam. 26: David had the opportunity to kill Saul a second time, but he did not. Realizing this, Saul called out to David, “I have sinned...I have played the fool and I have committed serious error.” (1Sam. 26:21b, 21d). Emotionally, at this point in time, Saul was deeply saddened by his own actions and was repentant. That he might have gathered the troops and gone after David a month later is not an issue. You see, I have read several commentators where they wonder aloud, It is obvious that David would mourn for Jonathan, but why would he mourn for Saul? All you have to do is read the historical narrative to understand why.


Gill writes it is no wonder that David and his men should mourn for Jonathan, a good man, and a valiant one, and a dear and faithful friend of David's; but it may seem not so clear a thing that they should, mourn for Saul, a wicked man, and a persecutor of David without cause. Therefore, let us explain...

Why David Mourns for Saul

1.      David first exposure to Saul was as a musician to help calm Saul and his bouts with his mental illness.

2.      David was very young then and there seemed to be some estrangement with his brothers and father. Therefore, at this young age (David was probably around 15), Saul was a father figure to him.

3.      David married Saul’s youngest daughter, Michal, and Saul was David’s father-in-law.

4.      David’s closest male friend was Jonathan, and Saul was his father. David would have felt a great attachment to Saul, as he was the father of the two most important people in David’s life.

5.      At David and Saul’s final meeting, they had reconciled. This did not mean that David trusted Saul, but it did mean that they parted for the final time on good terms. Saul was in emotional turmoil over what he had done to David, and made this know aloud before David and his own soldiers.

6.      Despite Saul’s many faults, he defended Israel again and again against her enemies, fighting bravely and almost constantly against the tribes of people who, on all sides, sought to destroy Israel.

7.      We read in Prov. 24:17: Don't gloat when your enemy falls, and don't let your heart rejoice when he stumbles. Or Matt. 5:44–45a: But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. God holds man to the highest of standards, even in the Age of Israel. With regards to Saul, David fulfilled the sentiment in this verse.

My point in all of this is, David’s mourning for Saul was neither disingenuous nor forced; his mourning for Saul was real and spontaneous.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


2Samuel 1:12e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over; on the ground of, because of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, with, by, besides, in addition to, to, toward, together with, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun in the construct form

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

In the Greek, this reads Judah; in the Hebrew, Syriac and Latin, it reads Jehovah (or, the Lord).


Translation: ...and because of the people of Yehowah... The loss of Saul and Jonathan was a great loss for Israel. Whenever a nation loses its king, it is a great loss to that nation. God installed Saul over Israel as their king, so His people are suffering a loss. Furthermore, Jonathan, his son, will not become Israel’s king, so this is even a greater loss.


2Samuel 1:12f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over; on the ground of, because of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, with, by, besides, in addition to, to, toward, together with, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ...and the house of Israel—... What we have here is probably a balancing out of the sentence structure. The house of Israel is going to be almost equivalent to the people of Jehovah; but, since we have the mention of Saul and Jonathan in the same structure, naming these two sets of people, although almost equivalent, adds balance to the structure. However, these sets of people actually overlap; they are not equivalent. The house of Israel would refer to anyone in the nation Israel—or, any racial Jew. However, the people of Jehovah refer only to the believers in Israel.


In the Greek, we have the people of Judah and the house of Israel, which refers to northern and southern Israel.


Some may differentiate between these two sets of people as the soldiers of Jehovah and the house of Israel; so that the first phrase refers to those in the military and the second phrase refers to those who are civilians. The problem with this interpretation is, we do not have the correct words here to make that specific distinction. In order for us to interpret this verse in that way, we would have expected to find the host [army] of Jehovah or the men [soldiers] of Jehovah. Those are constructs which are typically used to refer to the armed forces and which are not used here. So the real differentiation which God the Holy Spirit is making here is between the believers and unbelievers in Israel. Both were subject to suffering, and David and his men mourned for both sets.


2Samuel 1:12g

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

nâphal (לַפָנ) [pronounced naw-FAHL]

to fall, to lie, to die a violent death, to be brought down, to settle, to sleep deeply

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #5307 BDB #656

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

chereb (ברח) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword, knife, dagger; any sharp tool

feminine singular noun, pausal form; with the definite article

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352


Translation: ...for they [Saul and Jonathan] had fallen by the sword. This phrase indicates that the use of the preposition found 4 times in the verse is used somewhat differently the first two times as compared to the 3rd and 4th time. The house of Israel and the people of Jehovah have experienced a loss, because they have lost Saul and Jonathan. In this final phrase of this verse, we have why they have experienced this great loss—because Saul and Jonathan died by the sword. Bear in mind, even if Israel had the worst king ever, when that king dies by an enemy sword, it is a bad situation for Israel in general. Furthermore, even with his mental illness, Saul was still a great military leader who fought for the freedom of Israel. David and his men mourned for Israel because their military leaders, Saul and Jonathan, had died by the sword (obviously, not all of Israel died by the sword).


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


David Executes the Amalekite Based on his own Testimony

And so says David unto the young man, the one making [this] known to him, “Where from this you?”


And so he says, “A son of a man of an immigrant—an Amalekite I [am].”

2Samuel

1:13

Then David asked [lit., said to] the young man, the making [this] known to him, “Where [are] you from?”


And he answered [lit., said], “[I am] the son of an immigrant—I [am] an Amalekite.”

Then David asked the young man, “Where are you from?”


And he answered, “I am the son of an immigrant; I am an Amalekite.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says David unto the young man, the one making [this] known to him, “Where from this you?”

And so he says, “A son of a man of an immigrant—an Amalekite I [am].”

Septuagint                              And David said to the young man who brought the tidings to him, “Where are you from?” And he said, “I am the son of an Amalekite sojourner.”

 

Significant differences: There was a slight reordering of the answer of the young man in the Greek. Still, there is no significant difference between the Hebrew and the Greek.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              David asked the young man, "Where is your home?" The man replied, "My father is an Amalekite, but we live in Israel."

The Message                         Then David spoke to the young soldier who had brought the report: "Who are you, anyway?" "I'm from an immigrant family--an Amalekite."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     David inquired of the young man who had brought him the report, "Where are you from?" "I'm the son of a foreigner" he said. "I'm an Amalekite."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young’s Updated LT             And David says unto the youth who is declaring it to him, “Whence are you?” and he says, “Son of a sojourner, I am an Amalekite.”

 

The gist of this verse?          David asked this young man where he is from, and he tells David that he is an Amalekite.


2Samuel 1:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

masculine singular, Hiphil participle with the definite article

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

êy (י̤א) [pronounced āy]

where

adverb; with a suffix, the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #335 BDB #32

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

demonstrative adjective

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

These four tiny words together apparently mean where [are] you from?


Translation: Then David asked [lit., said to] the young man, the making [this] known to him, “Where [are] you from?” David has got the general background of what happened with Saul. Now, he needs to determine the background of this man. David is going to make a determination here, part of which will be dependent upon whether this man knew who Saul was and what he was doing by killing Saul. The young man has no idea at this point that David and he have completely different agendas.


It is interesting that David asks this question, as, in the young man’s account of Saul’s death, he tells Saul that he is an Amalekite. David is allowing this young man to confirm his previous testimony, and, in addition, reveal that he should know that Saul is God’s anointed over Israel. In generation after generation, it was made clear to the heathen of that land that Israel belonged to God; therefore, her rulers would be men anointed by God. That God brought the Jews out of Egypt was known throughout the land; that God cursed those who took His sacred objects lightly was known among Jews and heathen alike (1Sam. 5–6). You must also realize that God is fair; the heathen of the land were always offered the opportunity to turn toward Him. This young man claims to have killed God’s anointed, and David here determines that he knew what he was doing.


2Samuel 1:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

gêr (ר̤) [pronounced gare]

sojourner, stranger, immigrant [or, outsider], temporary resident

masculine singular noun

Strong's #1616 BDB #158


Translation: And he answered [lit., said], “[I am] the son of an immigrant—... This is actually what condemns this young man—he is not simply an immigrant himself, but he is the son of an immigrant; so, he knows about Israel, he knows about Jehovah God, and he knows that the king has been chosen by God. According to his own testimony, he knows what is going on in Israel. He knows that an assault against the king is an assault against God (presuming that he is the son of an immigrant). Furthermore, look who this Amalekite went to see—David. This man knows enough about Israel to realize that David is God’s choice for the next king; he even is able to figure out where David is living. So, we are not dealing with some man who has no concept as to the customs and laws of Israel; he is even familiar with the politics in Israel, so he stands without excuse before David.


I should point out that this testimony is moderately problematic for my theory that this young man is a mercenary for the Philistines. The term gêr essentially means that his father was a resident of Israel by choice, likely a proselyte of the Jews. This would also explain why this man was in this area, in northern Israel. However, his testimony could be true, and he could have still joined up with the Philistines to fight against Israel. The possibility exists that this young man was even a part of the Israeli army, although I still favor the position that he is a mercenary for the Philistines. Also, bear in mind, that this young man is a liar. What he is saying here may or may not be true. After all, he is expecting some kind of reward from David, so it is in his best interest for his father to be an immigrant to Israel.


I should also point out that, this man could live among the Israelites, and still fight on the side of the Philistines. His father was very likely a believer who chose to live among the Jews; and this man is simply an opportunist who may or may not have been a believer. Having known his political situation, he may have chosen to side with the Philistines, simply to be on the winning side. This would be in character for an opportunist. Just happening to be in the action where Saul is killed gives him an even better idea.


David, thus far, may have his suspicions (as evidenced by this question), but he allows the man’s own testimony to stand against himself. There are several factors at play here. David is in mourning for his closest friend and his father-in-law; David has just had a run-in with a large band of Amalekites (this young man probably was not aware of this); and David knew that he is God’s anoint and that he was going to become the ruler over Israel (being a man of humility, this was not a responsibility that he took lightly). My point is, this young Amalekite walked in at the wrong time and with the wrong story.


We've actually got several options here, so let me see if I can sort them out:

Is this Young Amalekite Lying about His Citizenship Status?

Options

Logical Conclusions

The man is telling the truth; he is an Amalekite, the son of an immigrant

He actually does not know enough about Israel to realize that an assault upon Saul is an assault against God.

He may have surmised that, since David is next in line for the throne (which means he knows a lot about Israel) that killing Saul would not be viewed as a crime, but as something that David would reward him for.

The man is lying; he is actually not the son of an immigrant to Israel.

We have almost the same logical conclusions. He may not know enough about Saul being chosen by God and that killing Saul would mean dire consequences for him.

As above, he knew Saul was a king chosen by God, but he also clearly knew that David was next in line, also chosen by God (if he knew about Saul then he would have known about David). He assumes that there would be no negative consequences for claiming to have killed Saul; in fact, he expects a reward.

Whether he is the son of an immigrant or not....

(1) Although it is possible that this Amalekite just happened to wander into this battle, that is very unlikely.

(2) This Amalekite fought on the side of the Israelites. This would suggest that he is the son of an immigrant, but it would not explain how he survived this battle and was able to return to where Saul was struck unharmed.

(3) This young Amalekite fought on the side of the Philistines. His origins are less important, and he probably picked the side he believed would win. He would obviously have no real loyalty to Israel (probably not to the Philistines either). This would place him in a good position to observe the deaths of both Saul and Jonathan, which he testified to, and it would allow him a little more freedom when pursuing Jewish enemies; i.e., he could disappear into Mount Gilboa, chasing after Jews, and suddenly stop and return to Saul's body when he saw that he was safe from detection.

Obviously, there are a many possibilities here. Personally, I believe that this young man is truly an Amalekite, but one whose father did live in Israel under special immigrant status. However, this young man had no real loyalties to Israel, and fought on the side of the Philistines, as he expected them to be victorious. But, when he saw that Saul had been killed, and that the Philistines soldiers continued to pursue Israel without stopping there, he managed to return to Saul's body, take the king's jewelry, and go down to Judah to speak to David. He was an opportunist looking to improve his place in the world.

You may object, questioning, how does he know the Philistines will not attack and conquer David next? If he is with the Philistine soldiers, then he knows that David came at the behest of the king of Gath and that David left at the request of the other kings. Although he may see northern and central Israel as falling completely under Philistine control, he may see Judah as a different story, and that David would probably rule over Judah (he obviously knew enough to go to talk to David about Saul's death).

In other words, I am suggesting that this young Amalekite probably had a maximum amount of political knowledge of this situation; however, what apparently eluded him was spiritual knowledge. He figured out the power bases and the political struggles as if he were a master chess player, and knew that his best move would be to throw down with David. What he did not realize was that David was not willing to shortcut anything, and that anyone who killed Saul would face the high court of David.

All of this man's actions are consistent with one who has great political discernment, but absolutely no spiritual understanding.


Chapter Outline

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Application: I hope that the application here is obvious—you can have the most accurate and learned perception of current politics, and still not be on the right side of history. If you lack spiritual discernment and if you lack knowledge of the spiritual issues, then your knowledge of things political is inconsequential. If you understand what is going on spiritually, then your politics may be accurate or not, but your relationship with God will transcend political I.Q.


2Samuel 1:13c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳Amâlêq (ק̤לָמ-ע) [pronounced ģah-maw-LAYK]

transliterated Amalek

masculine proper noun; used as an gentilic adjective here

Strong’s #6002 BDB #766

ânôkîy (י.כֹנָא) [pronounced awn-oh-KEE]

I, me; (sometimes a verb is implied)

1st person singular personal pronoun

Strong’s #595 BDB #59


Translation: ...I [am] an Amalekite.” In the narrative, this young man has revealed that he is an Amalekite; however, he repeats this information in a slightly different context. Being an Amalekite does not endear this man to David either. Recall, God had told Saul to wipe out the Amalekites completely (David would probably be aware of this, as this act of disobedience caused Samuel to anoint David as king of Israel). David’s camp had also just been raided by Amalekites, so David did not have any love for this group of people.


And so says unto him, David, “How are you not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy an anointed [one] of Yehowah?”

2Samuel

1:14

Then David asked him [lit., says to him], “How [is it that] you are not afraid to put forth your hand to lay waste [to] Yehowah’s anointed?”

Then David asked him, “How is it that you were not afraid to reach out and kill Jehovah’s anointed?”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says unto him, David, “How are you not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy an anointed [one] of Yehowah?”

Septuagint                              And David said to him, “How was it you were not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the anointed of the Lord?”

 

Significant differences: Even though a pair of verbs are different in the Greek and the Hebrew, the essential meaning remains unchanged.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              David said to him, "Why weren't you afraid to kill the LORD's chosen king?

The Message                         "Do you mean to say," said David, "that you weren't afraid to up and kill GOD's anointed king?"


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):


 

HCSB                                     David questioned him, "How is it that you were not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD's anointed?"


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young’s Updated LT             And David says unto him, “How were you not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the anointed of Jehovah?”

 

The gist of this verse?          Then David asks this young man, “How is it that you are not afraid to kill the anointed of Jehovah?”


2Samuel 1:14

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

êyk (י̤א) [pronounced ayche]

how

interrogative adverb

Strong’s #349 BDB #32

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

yârê (א ֵר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAY]

to fear, to fear-respect, to reverence, to have a reverential respect

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3372 BDB #431

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for [forth, away], to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth, to stretch out

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâchath (ת ַח ָש) [pronounced shaw-KHAHTH]

to destroy, to ruin, to lay waste [to]; to act wickedly

Piel infinitive construct

Strong's #7843 BDB #1007

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mâshîyach (-חי.שָמ) [pronounced maw-SHEE-ahkh]

anointed, anointed one, transliterated Messiah

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4899 BDB #603

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: Then David asked him [lit., says to him], “How [is it that] you are not afraid to put forth your hand to lay waste [to] Yehowah’s anointed?” All of a sudden, this interview takes a turn for the worse, as far as this Amalekite was concerned. This Amalekite is expecting to hear some congratulations; he is expecting a commendation. He had it figured out perfectly: Saul asked him to kill him and Saul was going to die anyway; there is no way that David could argue with that; there is no way that David could fault him for his choices. However, this Amalekite was wrong. David takes no satisfaction whatsoever from hearing about Saul's death. David is not carefully trying to remain within the law by not killing Saul himself, but not having a problem if someone else does. Saul was chosen by God to lead Israel, and, insofar as David was concerned, only God could remove Saul from this life.


This young Amalekite has been living in Israel for some time—probably all of his life (according to his testimony)—and he should know that God has chosen Saul as the king of Israel.; Saul is the anointed of Israel. David asks him, “If Jehovah God chose Saul and set him over Israel as king, isn’t it presumptuous for you to kill Saul under any circumstance?” You see, David, on two separate occasions, restrained himself from killing Saul, because Saul was God’s anointed over Israel. He knew that, even as the next in line, it was not up to him to take Saul out of this world—God would do this Himself. If David, God’s next-in-line for the throne, could not kill Saul, then just what the hell does this man think he is doing by killing Saul?


At this point, there was no doubt a little panic going on in the mind of this Amalekite, who thought he had this whole thing figured out. He thought could play David here. He thought he could parlay his coming upon the body of Saul to his advantage. He was expecting a reward or a position of power; but instead, he has caused David to become somewhat angry with him.

 

Barnes comments: Whether David believed the Amalekite’s story, or not, his anger was equally excited, and the fact that the young man was an Amalekite, was not calculated to calm or check it. That David’s temper was hasty, we know from 1Sam. 25:13 25:32–34.


What does the Scripture tell us about striking God’s anointed? Even if God’s anointed is your enemy, we are told that we cannot avenge ourselves against them.

We are not Allowed to Harm God’s Anointed Ones

Scripture

Passage

1Sam. 24:6

He said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD's anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the LORD's anointed." David said this when it was suggested that he kill Saul.

1Sam. 26:9

David was given a second opportunity to kill Saul, but he explains to Abishai, “But do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the LORD's anointed and be guiltless?”

Psalm 105:12–15

God’s policy here was long-established; He says of Israel upon entering the land: When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, He allowed no one to oppress them; He rebuked kings on their account, saying, "Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!"

Matt. 5:43–47

In fact, we are not even allowed to avenge ourselves against our own enemies: “You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”

 


Chapter Outline

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And so calls David to one of the young men and so he says, “Go near, fall in him.” And so he strikes him and he dies.

2Samuel

1:15

David then called out to one of the young men and said, “Come here [and] fall upon him.”


And he [one of the young men] struck him [the Amalekite] [down] and he died.

David then called out to one of his young men, saying, “Come here and execute this man.” So one of the young men struck down the Amalekite, killing him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so calls David to one of the young men and so he says, “Go near, fall in him.” And so he strikes him and he dies.

Septuagint                              And David called one of his young men, and said, “Go and fall upon him.” And he struck him, and he died.

 

Significant differences: The Greek appears to have left out an adverb. The meaning has not changed, however.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              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!" [vv. 15–16]

The Message                         Right then he ordered one of his soldiers, "Strike him dead!" The soldier struck him, and he died.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     Then David summoned one of his servants and said, "Come here and kill him!" The servant struck him, and he died.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Then David called one of the young men and said, "Go, execute him." And he struck him down so that he died.

Young’s Updated LT             And David calls to one of the youths, and says, “Draw near—fall upon him;” and he strikes him, and he dies.

 

The gist of this verse?          David has one of the young men execute this Amalekite.


2Samuel 1:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to call, to proclaim, to read, to call to, to call out to, to assemble, to summon; to call, to name [when followed by a lâmed]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

echâd (ד ָח א) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity; possibly particular

numeral construct

Strong's #259 BDB #25

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654


Translation: David then called out to one of the young men... David has several young soldiers under his command and right in the near vicinity. The way this is worded is, it sounds as though David is speaking to a particular young man. However, the author is making certain that we do not get this confused with the Amalekite, who is also referred to on several occasions as a young man.


2Samuel 1:15b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

nâgash (שַגָנ) [pronounced naw-GASH]

to come near, to draw near, to approach, to come hither

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #5066 BDB #620


Translation: ...and said, “Come here... David is not calling for the young man to go near to the Amalekite, but to come near to him. That is, David first says to one of the young men, “Come in here.” We do not know how private this conversation was or who sat in on it; however, apparently, right outside David’s door are some young men, and David instructs one of them to come into this room.


2Samuel 1:15c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

pâga׳ (עַג ָ) [pronounced paw-GAHĢ]

to fall upon, to meet, to encounter, to reach

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #6293 BDB #803

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88


Translation:...[and] fall upon him.” This imperative indicates that this young man is to execute the Amalekite. Although, this word can mean several things, it is clear in this context what David is asking to be done.


As you would no doubt expect, a great many commentators discuss David’s sentencing of this young man:

Commentary About David’s Sentencing of this Young Amalekite

Commentators

Quotation

Matthew Henry

If he did as he said, he deserved to die for treason (2Sam. 1:14), doing that which, it is probable, he heard Saul's own armour–bearer refuse to do; if not, yet by boasting that he had done it he plainly showed that if there had been occasion he would have done it, and would have made nothing of it; and, by boasting of it to David, he showed what opinion he had of him, that he would rejoice in it, as one altogether like himself, which was an intolerable affront to him who had himself once and again refused to stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed. And his lying to David, if indeed it was a lie, was highly criminal, and proved, as sooner or later that sin will prove, lying against his own head.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown

David's reverence for Saul, as the Lord's anointed, was in his mind a principle on which he had faithfully acted on several occasions of great temptation. In present circumstances it was especially important that his principle should be publicly known; and to free himself from the imputation of being in any way accessory to the execrable crime of regicide was the part of a righteous judge, no less than of a good politician.

Keil and Delitzsch

David regarded the statement of the Amalekite as a sufficient ground for condemnation, without investigating the truth any further; though it was most probably untrue, as he could see through his design of securing a great reward as due to him for performing such a deed (vid., 2Sam. 4:10), and looked upon a man who could attribute such an act to himself from mere avarice as perfectly capable of committing it. Moreover, the king's jewels, which he had brought, furnished a practical proof that Saul had really been put to death. This punishment was by no means so severe as to render it necessary to “estimate its morality according to the times,” or to defend it merely from the standpoint of political prudence, on the ground that as David was the successor of Saul, and had been pursued by him as his rival with constant suspicion and hatred, he ought not to leave the murder of the king unpunished, if only because the people, or at any rate his own opponents among the people, would accuse him of complicity in the murder of the king, if not of actually instigating the murderer. David would never have allowed such considerations as these to lead him into unjust severity. And his conduct requires no such half vindication. Even on the supposition that Saul had asked the Amalekite to give him his death–thrust, as he said he had, it was a crime deserving of punishment to fulfil this request, the more especially as nothing is said about any such mortal wounding of Saul as rendered his escape or recovery impossible, so that it could be said that it would have been cruel under such circumstances to refuse his request to be put to death. If Saul's life was still “full in him,” as the Amalekite stated, his position was not so desperate as to render it inevitable that he should fall into the hands of the Philistines. Moreover, the supposition was a very natural one, that he had slain the king for the sake of a reward. But slaying the king, the anointed of the Lord, was in itself a crime that deserved to be punished with death. What David might more than once have done, but had refrained from doing from holy reverence for the sanctified person of the king, this foreigner, a man belonging to the nation of the Amalekites, Israel's greatest foes, had actually done for the sake of gain, or at any rate pretended to have done. Such a crime must be punished with death, and that by David who had been chosen by God and anointed as Saul's successor, and whom the Amalekite himself acknowledge in that capacity, since otherwise he would not have brought him the news together with the royal diadem.

I believe that David later on did realize that this young man may have lied to him, with the intent of seeking a reward of some sort from him. David later says, “When the person told me, ‘Listen, Saul is dead,’ he thought he was a bearer of good news, but I seized him and put him to death at Ziklag. That was my reward to him for his news!” (2Sam. 4:10). By this time, David realized that this man had been seeking a reward by reporting the death of Saul, but David does not say that the young man was put to death for killing Saul.

Now, don’t misinterpret this. David did not put this man to death for bringing him bad news; David put him to death for testifying that he had killed Saul, the anointed one of God. However, in retrospect, David—and perhaps through God the Holy Spirit—does not accuse the Amalekite of having actually killed Saul.


Chapter Outline

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2Samuel 1:15d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to smite, to assault, to hit, to strike, to strike [something or someone] down, to defeat, to conquer, to subjugate

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong #5221 BDB #645


Translation: And he [one of the young men] struck him [the Amalekite] [down]... The young man called to goes right to the Amalekite and executes him. Apparently, he has a sword, and he cuts this man down (although we are not really told what weapon is used).


2Samuel 1:15e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die; to perish, to be destroyed

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559


Translation: ...and he died. The result is complete; the young Amalekite man is executed.


And so says unto him, David, “Your blood [be] upon your head for your mouth testified in you, to say, ‘I [even] I killed [the] anointed of Yehowah.’ ”

2Samuel

1:16

Finally [lit., and] David said to him, “Your blood [is] upon your head for your [own] mouth testified against you, saying, ‘I [even] I killed the anointed one of Yehowah.’ ”

Finally, David told him, “Your blood is upon your head for you yourself testified against you, saying, ‘I killed Jehovah’s anointed one.’ ”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says unto him, David, “Your blood [be] upon your head for your mouth testified in you, to say, ‘I [even] I killed [the] anointed of Yehowah.’ ”

Septuagint                              And David said to him, “Your blood be upon yours own head; for your mouth has testified [lit., answered] against you, saying, I have slain the anointed of the Lord.”

 

Significant differences: No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              "You asked for it," David told him. "You sealed your death sentence when you said you killed GOD's anointed king."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         ...while David said, "You are responsible for spilling your own blood. You testified against yourself when you said, 'I killed the LORD'S anointed king.'"


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                             David said to him, Your blood be on your head; for your mouth has testified against you, saying, I have slain Yahweh's anointed.

Young’s Updated LT             And David says unto him, “Your blood is on your own head, for your mouth has testified against you, saying, I—I put to death the anointed of Jehovah.”

 

The gist of this verse?          David justifies the sentence by the man’s own testimony.


2Samuel 1:16a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

dâm (םָ) [pronounced dawm]

blood, often visible blood; bloodshed, slaughter; bloodguilt; blood of the grape [wine]

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1818 BDB #196

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

rôsh (שאֹר) [pronounced rohsh]

head, top, chief, front, choicest

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #7218 BDB #910

This is simply an idiom meaning you are guilty for this crime that you have testified about.


Translation: Finally [lit., and] David said to him, “Your blood [is] upon your head... Blood upon one’s head means that they are responsible for the death of someone—in this case, the Amalekite is said to be responsible for his own death. David, in essence, is saying, “You are guilty of a capital crime.”


2Samuel 1:16b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

peh (ה) [pronounced peh]

mouth [of man, animal; as an organ of speech]; opening, orifice [of a river, well, etc.]; edge; extremity, end

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6310 BDB #804

׳ânâh (הָנָע) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond; to speak loudly, to speak up [in a public forum]; to testify; to sing, to chant, to sing responsively

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity; with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88


Translation: ...for your [own] mouth testified against you,... The Amalekite testified against himself. No additional witness was needed. It was not as if David heard testimony which he needed to carefully weigh and consider, to determine the accuracy of the witness and the truthfulness of the witness; this witness was there and he has unequivocally testified against himself.


2Samuel 1:16c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ânôkîy (י.כֹנָא) [pronounced awn-oh-KEE]

I, me; (sometimes a verb is implied)

1st person singular personal pronoun

Strong’s #595 BDB #59

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to kill, to cause to die, to execute

1st person singular, Polel perfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mâshîyach (-חי.שָמ) [pronounced maw-SHEE-ahkh]

anointed, anointed one, transliterated Messiah

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4899 BDB #603

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: ...saying, ‘I [even] I killed the anointed one of Yehowah.’ ” The young Amalekite made it clear that he killed Saul. Even though he gave mitigating circumstances (Saul requested that he be killed; Saul was going to die anyway), his essential testimony was that he killed Saul, the king of Israel, God’s anointed, which leaves David no choice but to execute him.


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Now, one thing that comes to my mind is, what is David doing, acting as judge and jury here? Does this mean, if we come across a criminal and the evidence against him is overwhelming, so we can simply execute him then and there and save the state some money?

Is David a Vigilante?

1.      Samuel is dead. Samuel was the judge of the land, and he died several years previously; this man cannot be taken to Samuel.

2.      Although we are never told about the disposition of Samuel’s sons, it is clear that they no longer had a function in Israel. When the elders spoke to Samuel some 40 years ago, one of the reasons that they requested a king was that Samuel’s sons took bribes and could not be trusted as judges.

3.      Saul, the king of the land, is dead. David cannot bring this man to Saul to be judged, as this man just testified that he himself killed Saul.

4.      Now, who would logically be the next man in Israel who could actually made judgments concerning life and death? Give up? David. David is God’s anointed. God chose David a long time ago to rule over Israel and Samuel has anointed David in a private ceremony as well. Therefore, the most logical person to decided a court case of this magnitude is David—and that is what happened.

Gill comments [David’s] orders were instantly obeyed. Kings and generals of armies had great power in those times and countries to execute a man immediately, without any other judge or jury: what may serve, or David might think would serve, to justify him in doing this, is what follows. Furthermore, we have several examples of this in Judges 8:20; 1Sam. 22:17–18 1Kings 2:25, 34, 46. For all intents and purposes, David was the law. It would be illogical for anyone else to be the law at this time, at that place.

This does not mean that, when you live in a country with a police force and a court system that you can go about and dispense justice like some vigilante. You don’t get to burn down abortion clinics or shoot at the people who work there; you don’t get to avenge people who have committed crimes and got off (or, got off easy, in your opinion). Your concerns along these lines may be addressed lawfully, but by no other means.

You do not get to riot or break into buildings or burn down buildings because you believe you live in an unjust society or that others are better off than you are or because some bad, unjust thing has happened.

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We may want to take a few moments and examine...

What Really Happened on Mount Gilboa?

Facts

Speculations

Lies of the Amalekite

Saul was severely wounded in battle (1Sam. 31:3).

 

 

He asked his armorbearer to kill him, but his armorbearer refused (1Sam. 31:4a).

Saul requested to be killed either because his wound was extremely painful and fatal; or he did not want the Philistines to come back and torture him.

Saul has a brief conversation with the Amalekite, and then asks the Amalekite to kill him, because he was suffering from a painful and deadly wound (2Sam. 1:9).

Saul fell upon his own sword (1Sam. 31:4b).

 

Saul is leaning on his spear (2Sam. 1:6). The Amalekite obliges Saul by killing him (2Sam. 1:10).

When Saul’s armorbearer saw that Saul had died, he fell upon his own sword (1Sam. 31:5).

 

The armorbearer is never mentioned.

The Amalekite apparently did take Saul’s crown and bracelet (2Sam. 1:10).

I suspect the Amalekite was fighting on the side of the Philistines; however, when he saw that Saul was dead, he made sure to come back in time to take these things, and then he went straightway to David (and he would know where David was, since David almost went with the Philistines to fight Israel)

The Amalekite offers up Saul’s crown and bracelet as proof of his account of Saul’s death.

Although it would be possible to fabricate a story where the account in 1Sam. 31 and the Amalekite’s account of what happened are in agreement, it would be difficult and convoluted, if not downright impossible. Hard Sayings of the Bible comments: Although there have been attempts at harmonizing the two accounts, the effort always seems to fall short of being convincing. Essentially, the armorbearer, when he looked at Saul after he fell on his sword, he would have to think that Saul is dead. He kills himself, and the Amalekite is watching. The Amalekite sees Saul leaning on his sword from a distance. Once the armorbearer kills himself, the Amalekite moves closer—Saul fell on his sword—but is still alive. Then Saul begs the man to kill him. Like I said, both accounts could be made to make sense, but that seems to make this whole thing much more convoluted than we really have to.

One of the keys is, there are several problems with the Amalekite’s story—chiefly, him showing up as the bearer of bad news, and yet thinking that his killing of Saul would bring him something valuable from David.


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I need to make one additional comment. Some commentators justify what David does here, because God called for the destruction of all Amalekites. Let us assume that what this Amalekite says in v. 13 is true—that he is the son of an Amalekite who had immigrated to Israel. Generally speaking, when a person moves to Israel, that indicates that he believes in the God of Israel, which means they are saved. This young Amalekite would have had an equal opportunity to be saved as well, and therefore, he cannot be killed simply because he is an Amalekite—this is because, he is an Amalekite who willingly assimilated into the culture and people of Israel.


We know what happened to Saul—he asked his armorbearer to kill him, and since the armorbearer would not kill him, Saul committed suicide, followed by the suicide of his armorbearer. We have also seen that, it is nearly impossible to make the story of the Amalekite and 1Sam. 30 agree. That is, it is much easier and makes much more sense to view the Amalekite’s story to be a fabrication and that 1Sam. 30 is an accurate accounting of the events. This leads us to ask, how do we know what really happened?

Who Witnessed Saul’s Death and Why is it Accurately Recorded?

Possible Witness

Comments

The Amalekite

My opinion is, the Amalekite was on the side of the Philistines as a mercenary; and when he saw Saul die in battle, he formulated a plan as to how to exploit Saul’s death. He knew about David at least through the conversations of the Philistines (recall that there was a debate as to whether David should join the Philistines or not); and David was well known anyway. The Amalekite formulated his plan and returned to Saul’s body before the Philistines did (this Amalekite would have known of Philistine discipline, that the Philistines would not stop and take from the bodies of their victims until after the war had been won).


The Amalekite could have returned the night of the battle or the very day of the battle; grabbed a couple of Saul’s personal items, and headed down to David. Being at the foot of Mount Gilboa, pursuing Jewish soldiers into the forested mountain area, the Amalekite could have made him scarce and double-backed to Saul’s body.


The Amalekite eventually told David the truth, but, by that time, his testimony had already convicted him; however, David, sometime later, recognized the validity of the Amalekite’s second story (which additional conversation was not recorded in Scripture), and recorded that view of the events in 1Sam. 30 a few years later.

The Philistines

The Philistines were obviously there at the battle. It appears as though they were moving in on Saul at the time that Saul killed himself, and that they witnessed these events. Rather than record some made-up story of their historical crushing of the king of Israel, the recorded Saul’s cowardly actions to further humiliate Saul’s name.


These accounts would have been a part of the display of Saul’s head and body (which were displayed in different places). It would make sense that, Saul’s body would be hung on the wall in Bethshan, and for men to make periodic announcements as to the manner of his death or for there to be a posting of the details of his death near the body. Enough Israelites heard or viewed this account, and it became widely known.

God

God obviously knew from eternity past the exact details of Saul’s death and somehow made these known to David, who is likely the human author of much of the book of Samuel.


Personally, I tend to stay away from supernatural explanations such as this. It is not a matter of, God did not know what happened or that God is unable to tell us what has occurred through revelation to David; it is simply that, whenever God directly reveals something in Scripture, it is generally so documented, as such an event is extraordinary (e.g., God speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai).

In my opinion, the first two explanations are equally likely.


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David's Ode to Saul and Jonathan


And so laments David with the lamentation the this over Saul and over Jonathan his son.

2Samuel

1:17

Then David lamented over Saul and his son Jonathan with this lamentation.

Then David wrote a lamentation about Saul and his son Jonathan.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so laments David with the lamentation the this over Saul and over Jonathan his son.

Septuagint                              And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son.

 

Significant differences: None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              David sang a song in memory of Saul and Jonathan,...

The Message                         Then David sang this lament over Saul and his son Jonathan,...

NAB                                       Then David chanted this elegy for Saul and his son Jonathan,...

NLT                                        Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan.

REB                                       David raised this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son;...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David wrote this song of mourning for Saul and his son Jonathan.

HCSB                                     David sang the following lament for Saul and his son Jonathan,...

JPS (Tanakh)                         And David intoned this dirge over Saul and his son Jonathan—...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT              And David laments with this lamentation over Saul, and over Jonathan his son:

 

The gist of this verse?          David writes a lamentation about Saul and Jonathan.


2Samuel 1:17

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qûwn (ןק) [pronounced koon]

to sing a mourning song, to lament

3rd person masculine singular, Polel imperfect

Strong’s #6969 BDB #884

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object)

Strong's #854 BDB #85

qîynâh (הָני.ק) [pronounced kee-NAW]

a mournful song, a lamentation, an elegy, a dirge

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7015 BDB #884

zôth (תאֹז) [pronounced zoth]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

feminine singular of zeh; demonstrative pronoun, adverb; with the definite article

Strong’s #2063 (& 2088, 2090) BDB #260

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Yehôwnâthân (ןָטָנהי) [pronounced ye-hoh-naw-THAWN]

alternate spelling; transliterated Jonathan

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3083 (& #3129) BDB #220

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119


Translation: Then David lamented over Saul and his son Jonathan with this lamentation. As we have seen in 1Sam. 18–20, David had a very close relationship with Jonathan. David also gave a great deal of respect to Saul—much more than he deserved—partially out of respect for Jonathan and partially out of respect for the office (Saul’s authority was established by God). Although it does not specifically say this, David writes this lamentation, which will recorded in vv. 19–27. You might say it is one way that he emotionally deals with this loss. As we have already discussed, back in v. 12, David's grief for Saul was not forced or phony.


What most commentators say, as they get further and further to the end of Saul's life is, what a son-of-a-bitch Saul is, and how he disobeys God over and over again. Even God the Holy Spirit tells us this about Saul: And Saul died for his sin which he committed against Jehovah, against the Word of Jehovah, which he did not keep, and also for seeking of a medium, to inquire, and inquired not of Jehovah (1Chron. 10:13–14a). We are told this after Saul's death is recorded. So, why do we have the next 9 verses, which, in part, pay homage to Saul? 2Samuel is inspired by God the Holy Spirit just as 1Chronicles is. Certainly, David, as the human author, decided to place this funeral dirge into the Word of God; but God the Holy Spirit, Who oversees the composing of Holy Writ also placed this in His Word.

Why is Saul Honored in God's Word?

1.      First of all, we need to define inspiration of Scripture. Inspiration may be defined as: God so supernaturally directed the writers of Scripture, without waiving their human intelligence, their individuality, their literary style, their personal feelings, or any other human factor, to record His Own complete coherent message to man with perfect accuracy, the very words of Scripture bearing the authority of divine authorship.1

2.      Therefore, we cannot simply say, this dirge is what David wrote and stuck into the Bible. There is a reason that God the Holy Spirit allowed this into His Word.

3.      Saul's bravery and importance to the people of Israel is acknowledged in this psalm, something which few theologians seem to take into account.

4.      Saul was a believer in Jesus Christ, something which many theologians argue over. We covered this in 1Sam. 10:6 11:6.

5.      When the people of Israel demanded that Samuel install a king over them, God did not go out and find the worst possible person in Israel and make him king. Saul was God's man and Saul was a man of the people. As we observed, Saul became the popular candidate for king. God did not choose him, place him in office, and that was that. God chose him, Samuel anointed him, and then Saul proved himself before the people of God. They wanted a leader who would deliver them from their enemies, and Saul did exactly that. Under pressure, Saul showed himself to be a great military leader.

6.      We do not follow all of Saul's life; however, in one verse, his great victories over a half-dozen enemies is acknowledged: 1Sam. 14:47. So, Saul accomplished a great deal in the realm of protecting Israel, that we do not examine in any depth.

7.      Therefore, for the first half of Saul's kingship, he acquitted himself as a great military king, with a number of important military victories to his credit, which preserved the freedom of the nation Israel.

8.      In the latter half of his reign, Saul's life was marred by disobedience to God, mental illness, attempted murder, a squandering of Israel's resources, and consorting with mediums. One might say, how the mighty have fallen!

9.      Despite Saul's numerous and persistent failures recorded in God's Word, he also had a great many successes. God worked through Saul to preserve the freedom and independence of Israel.

10.    Therefore, God's Word gives some credit to Saul; and therefor, we should not be so stingy with our own acknowledgments.

11.    What does this mean by way of eternal rewards for Saul? Was his life so unspeakably evil at the end as to wipe out any eternal blessing whatsoever? Although I am only speculating, I think the Saul will enjoy some great rewards in heaven.

12.    Was Saul disciplined in life for his behavior? Absolutely; we have studied again and again at the end of Saul's life that he was miserable, that God eventually took him out in the sin unto death, and that God did not even allow his crown to be passed to his great son, Jonathan.

1 Slightly paraphrased from Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology; Abridged Edition; Victor Books, ©1984, Vol. 2, p. 71. One of my great regrets in life is buying the abridged edition and making all my notes in it.


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Application: I don't know about you, but my life is sometimes marred by sins, bad decisions and personal failure. I am consistently my own worse enemy. There are times when I have been unjustly treated by others, but, the bulk of my own problems stem from my own sins and not from the sins of others. I know God has not saved me because of my good behavior or good life; God saved me by His mercy and grace. There is no good thing that I have done to deserve what God has given me. Quite frankly, I can better relate to Saul than I can to David. However, at this point in time, I am still alive, I am filled with God the Holy Spirit, and God continues to have a plan for me. If you are alive, and I strongly suspect that you are, God still has a plan for you.


And so he says, “To teach sons of Judah: a Bow [or, a Bowman].” (Behold, she is written upon a scroll of the upright [or, a book of Jashar]).

2Samuel

1:18

Then he said, “To teach the sons of Judah: ‘The Bowman.’ ” (Observe, this is written in the Book of Jashar).

He then said, “This is to be taught to the sons of Judah: ‘The Bowman.’ ” (This psalm may also be found in the Book of Jashar).


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          (Also he commanded that they should teach the children of Juda the use of the bow, as it is written in the book of the just.)

Masoretic Text                       And so he says, “To teach sons of Judah: a Bow [or, a Bowman].” (Behold, she is written upon a scroll of the upright [or, a book of Jasher]).

Septuagint                              And he told to teach it the sons of Juda: behold, it is written in the book of Right [or, straight, upright].

 

Significant differences: Apart from the name of this poem (the Bow or Bowman), the Greek and Hebrew are in agreement. Jerome (who translated the Hebrew into Latin) apparently did not know what to make of this, so he possibly embellished the text; instead of giving the name of this psalm, he states a supposed purpose instead (this is a supposition which I am making; however, it reads the same in the Peshitta).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              ...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. This is the song

The Message                         ...and gave orders that everyone in Judah learn it by heart. Yes, it's even inscribed in The Book of Jashar.

NAB                                       ...which is recorded in the Book of Jashar to be taught to the Judahites. He sang:....

NLT                                        Later he commanded that it be taught to all the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in The Book of Jashar [or, The Book of the Upright].

REB                                       ...and he ordered that this dirge over them should be taught to the people of Judah. It was written down and may be found in the Book of Jashar.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         He said, "Teach this kesheth to the people of Judah." (It is recorded in the Book of Jashar.)

HCSB                                     ... and he ordered that the Judahites be taught The Song of the Bow. It is written in the Book of Jashar

JPS (Tanakh)                         He ordered the Judites to be taught [The Song of the] Bow. It is recorded in the Book of Jashar.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And he commanded to teach it, The Bow, to the Israelites. Behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.

 

HNV                                       (and he bade them teach the children of Yehudah [the song of] the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Yashar):

MKJV                                     And he said to teach the sons of Judah The Song of the Bow. Behold, it is written in the Book of Jasher.

Young’s Updated LT             And he says to teach the sons of Judah “The Bow;” lo, it is written on the book of the Upright.

 

The gist of this verse?          David wants his lamentation song about Saul and Jonathan taught to the sons of Judah; furthermore, this song is found in the book of Jasher.


2Samuel 1:18a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâmad (ד ַמָל) [pronounced law-FAHD

to train, to accustom, to teach

Piel infinitive construct

Strong’s #3925 BDB #540

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397


Translation: Then he said, “To teach the sons of Judah:... Israel eventually became a divided kingdom and there were seeds of that division for several centuries prior to the nation becoming two. When the Philistines last struck Israel, it was in the center of Israel, further causing division between the north and the south territories. David, as we will see, will first become ruler over Southern Palestine (Judah) and later, over northern Palestine (Israel or Samaria). We use the term Israel to refer both to the original (unified) kingdom and to the northern portion of the divided kingdom. Recall that David has been staying in southern Judah, and as Saul was being killed, David was avenging his men against the Amalekites, who had raided his camp. He sent the excess of their spoil to various cities throughout Judah. I suspect that David was inspired to almost immediately write a psalm to Saul and Jonathan, and that, before even assuming any power, David felt that this psalm should be learned by those in the southern kingdom, so that they would recognize that there were good things about Saul.


As we saw in the previous book, David on two occasions refused to kill Saul, God’s anointed, even though Saul had pursued him relentlessly with the intention of killing him. Even though David acted with great integrity previously, we would suspect that he would quietly rejoice at Saul’s death: “Finally, a little down time; and maybe I can take control of Israel now.” But this is not David’s reaction. He reacts with great sadness—certainly more at the loss of Jonathan; but he will reveal great personal respect for Saul in this psalm.


2Samuel 1:18b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

qesheth (ת∵ש∵ק) [pronounced KEH-sheth]

bow; bowman, archer; strength, power; rainbow

feminine singular noun; pausal form

Strong’s #7198 BDB #905


Translation:...‘The Bowman.’ ” Although most render this as The Bow; I think that The Bowman is more apropos. Unlike the Latin and Syriac interpretations, I don’t believe that David is encouraging the men of Judah to learn how to use the bow, but he instead, with this word, refers to the warrior skills of Saul and Jonathan. Since this term is in the singular, we might view it as representative of the Israeli soldier. Saul will be named as using a sword and Jonathan as using a bow (v. 22), but I don’t think that David is, with this name, giving pre-eminence to Jonathan; I think the idea is, these men were both great soldiers of Israel, to be honored with this psalm.


There are commentators who was eloquently about how the skill of the bow had fallen on hard times and that David was here encouraging Israel to relearn these skills. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown write: David took immediate measures for instructing the people in the knowledge and practice of archery, their great inferiority to the enemy in this military arm having been the main cause of the late national disaster. However, this is nonsensical for at least several reasons: (1) Up until this point in time, Saul's army had been quite successful against the nations surrounding Israel; it is hard to imagine that, after at least a half–dozen major wars that the bow had somehow fallen into disuse. There were a lot of wars which took place during the reign of Saul. Suggesting that Israel had become lax in the use of any of their weapons makes no sense. (2) The men of Benjamin were known for being skilled with the bow (1Chron. 8:40 12:2; 2Chron. 14:7 17:17). This may reasonably be seen as a long tradition beginning at least with Saul and the formation of Israel's army under him. (3) David's own men had also been very successful in conflict, indicating that they had not become lax either in their use of the bow. (4) This is a psalm about Saul and Jonathan; not a psalm about learning how to use the bow or about how important the use of the bow is. The very psalm itself makes such an assertion absurd.

 

There is an alternate suggestion made by Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge: The Bow is probably the title of the following threnody; so called, in the oriental style, because Saul’s death was occasioned by that weapon, and because the bow of Jonathan, out of which “the arrow was shot beyond the lad” (1Sam. 20:36), is celebrated in this song. Although I do not agree with this entirely, this is a better explanation than David taking this time to teach his men how to use the bow.


After I have exegeted a verse and have written my commentary, I do look at several other commentators, and, when they have something to say, I do not mind repeating it. However, when reading any commentator, you cannot just put your mind in neutral. You must examine what they write critically. Sometimes a commentator is quite insightful, and other times, they are so far off the mark, it is hard to believe.


What David is doing here is not teaching his men how to use the bow, but he is teaching them the psalm that he had written, the Bowman. Proper homage would be paid to Saul and his house, and it would begin with this psalm. Recall that some of David's men encourage him to kill Saul when he had the chance, and he refused, accurately calling Saul, God's anointed. Now that Saul is dead, David is not going to allow his men to disparage Saul in his death. This psalm properly honors Saul and Jonathan, and it is something which David's men need to know.


2Samuel 1:18c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, note, take note; pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

kâthab (ב ַתָ) [pronounced kaw-THAHBV]

that which was written, the written [thing, book], the writing

feminine singular, Qal passive participle

Strong's #3789 BDB #507

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

When not showing a physical relationship between two things, ׳al can take on a whole host of new meanings: on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, besides, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by on to, towards, to, against, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to. It is one of the most versatile prepositions in Scripture. This word often follows particular verbs. In the English, we have helping verbs; in the Hebrew, there are helping prepositions.

çêpher (רפ ֵס) [pronounced SAY-fur]

missive, book, document, writing, scroll, tablet, register

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #5612 BDB #706

yâshâr (רָשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAWR]

right, correct, accurate, lacking in contradictions, upright, straight, uniform, having internal integrity, even

masculine singular adjective which acts like a substantive; with a definite article

Strong’s #3477 BDB #449

It is unclear whether this is a proper noun, as in the name of the book or of the person who wrote it; or whether this is a description of sorts of the book.


Translation: (Observe, this is written in the Book of Jashar). This is a parenthetical comment; probably a gloss. There is some disagreement here. This reads as if this psalm had been written in the Book of Jashar, which suggests that David wrote this psalm, and then affixed it to the scroll of the Book of Jashar. On the other hand, Bullinger tells us that it has not yet been written down in the book of Jashar and that David is, in essence, commanding that it be included in this book. The various options will be discussed after we cover the Doctrine of the Book of Jashar below:


Let us therefore examine...

The Doctrine of the Book of Jashar

1.      The Book of Jashar is mentioned only twice in Scripture:

         a.      The first reference is in Joshua 10:12–14: At that time Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon." And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD obeyed the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel. This is the famous long day of Joshua. If you will recall, I spent a great deal of time discussing this miracle and was personally unable to take a position.

                  i.       It is clear that God is the author of time and space, as well as the laws of physics;

                  ii.      It is clear that God can overrule these laws, no matter how fantastic a miracle that may be.

                  iii.      However, this passage stands out from the rest of Joshua as not feeling like it is his writing (it is poetry, however).

                  iv.     Furthermore, Joshua does something very unusual—he seems to appeal to an outside source for confirmation: The Book of Jashar.

                  v.      Interestingly enough, the LXX does not refer to the Book of Jashar (although it does contain the miracle of the long day of Joshua).

                  vi.     I spent about a page in my exegesis of the book of Joshua examining both sides of this question; and bear in mind, the problem was not that this particular event was just too fantastic to occur.

         b.      The second unequivocal reference to The Book of Jashar is found in our passage, written about 400 years after the time of Joshua.

                  i.       Again, we are nonplused by this reference.

                  ii.      Did someone at a later date take this reference to The Book of Jashar and use it back in the book of Joshua?

                  iii.      Is this a book which authors have added to for centuries? This option is not without precedent—the book of Genesis appears to have been a book which was added to generation after generation.

                  iv.     Whereas, we have some questions as to the authenticity of Joshua 10:12–14, we have no reason to question the authenticity of this passage. Therefore, even if we side with that short passage of Joshua as being one added years later, we still must deal with the Book of Jashar in this passage.

         c.      There is a 3rd possible reference to the Book of Jashar in 1Kings 8:53, which is found in the Greek, but not in the Hebrew. The Greek adds Behold, is this not written in the Book of the Song? The word song in Hebrew is hashîyr (רי  -ה) [pronounced hah-SHEER], which could be seen as a copyist error for ha Yashar. However, I cannot confirm this with The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament, which gives about a half dozen words in the Hebrew which are translated song, none of which is hashîyr. Furthermore, I cannot even find this word in any form in my BDB. Perhaps hashîyr is a later Hebrew word meaning song; I am simply unable to verify that.

2.      In ISBE, we read: It is conjectured that it may have included the Song of Deborah (Judges 5), and older pieces now found in the Pentateuch (e.g. Gen. 4:23–24 9:25–27 27:27–29); this, however, is uncertain.1 In other words, hundreds, if not thousands, of years later, we have some unsubstantiated theories about what may or may not have been included in the book of Jashar.

3.      Gill's opinion: This book seems to have been a public register or annals, in which were recorded memorable actions in any age, and had its name from the uprightness and faithfulness in which it was kept.2

4.      There is apparently a theory by Rabbis (but I have no idea from what time period) that the Book of Jashar is actually the book of Genesis, the books of the Law and additional history as well. Of course, we have an English translation of this (I found it at this website: http://www.kivits.com/Jashar1.htm). The unnamed writer prefaces The Book of Jashar with: Thought to be lost, some claim the current versions to be forged in the 18th century in an attempt to fill the gap otherwise left in the mentioning's of the above Bible books. Reading it one will immediately feel familiar with its content. There exist two ancient rabbinical works and also an anonymous Jewish work of the 12th century AD. which are titled 'Book of Jashar'.3 On this website is the full text of The Book of Jashar, which was translated in 1840, but it is not clear if this is the anonymous Jewish work of the 12th century a.d., or if it is some other work. In any case, we do not have the manuscript evidence for this book going back to before the time of Christ, which we do have for almost every Old Testament book. One reference in this Book of Jashar does not include the actual psalm written by David, but insists that Jacob himself was concerned about the men of Judah learning how to use the bow. And Jacob said to Yahudah, I know my son that you are a mighty man for your brothers; reign over them, and your sons will reign over their sons forever. Only teach your sons the bow and all the weapons of war, in order that they may fight the battles of their brother who will rule over his enemies (Jashar 56:8–9). In our passage, it sounds as though David (or a later editor) is saying that his psalm is found in the book of Jashar; and in the book of Jashar, this sounds like a warning issued by Jacob to his 12 sons that they need to know how to use the bow.2 Although I am sure that, with a little mental effort, I could make these passages complimentary to one another, there is no reason to do so. Although I have no doubt that The Book of the Upright [Jashar] existed; I have no reason to assume that it is the same as this work from the 12th century a.d. For anyone who has studied apocryphal literature, it is clear that there is an abundance of this sort of literature from all eras just about. We really have no reason to seize upon this book or that and try to incorporate it into the canon of Scripture.

5.      ZPEB comments on this spurious book: The uncertain and mysterious character of the missing Book of Jashar has led to attempts to reproduce, imitate, or falsify it. One of the last compositions of the haggadic literature of Judaism, call the “Book of Jashar,” is a falsification of the missing book in an attempt to reproduce it. It is written in good Hebrew and has to do with the era from Adam to Judges. The greater part of this work is concerned with the pre-Mosaic material. Much of the material is invention, interpolated between Biblical texts, in the author’s desire to reconstruct the original book of Jashar. Many legends are added to the Biblical narrative. The account of Abraham is given in elaborate detail, inducing stories of his two journeys to see his son Ishmael, and of an apparition of a star. It contains a detailed explanation of the murder of Abel by Cain. It is believed by some scholars that this attempt to reconstruct the Old Testament Book of Jashar originated in southern Italy. The author was familiar with Italian place names. The Arabic names in the book are due to the strong influence of Arabic culture on southern Italy.4

6.      Bulling sees this as a book of national songs (probably), about which we know nothing.5

7.      I know that it would be nice to wrap this up into some nice, obvious conclusion, but, truth be told, we know little about this book, except that there was a book by this name; it existed during the time of David and possibly as far back as the time of Joshua; and that material was added to this book from time to time. It is very possible that this source material was used on several occasions, but not credited.

Barnes places several psalms and portions of Scripture into the book of Jasher. It has been further suggested that in the Book of Jasher there was, among other things, a collection of poems, in which special mention was made of the bow. This was one of them. 1Sam. 2:1–10 was another; Num. 21:27–30 was another; Lam. 2 was another; Lam. 3 was another; Jacob’s blessing (Gen. 49); Moses’ song (Deut. 32); perhaps his Blessing (Deut. 33. See 2 Sam. 1:29); and such Psalms as Psalm 44 46:1–11 76:1–12, etc.; Habak. 3; and Zech. 9:9–17, also belonged to it. The title by which all the poems in this collection were distinguished was qesheth, “the bow.” When therefore the writer of 2Samuel transferred this dirge from the Book of Jasher to his own pages, he transferred it, as we might do any of the Psalms, with its title.

Because this is a relatively short doctrine, I covered it in its entirety within the exegesis of 2Sam. 1.

1 The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia; James Orr, Editor; ©1956 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; Ⓟ by Hendrickson Publishers; from E-Sword; Topic:  Jashar, the Book of.

2 Dr. John Gill, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible; from e-Sword, 2Sam. 1:18.

3  This was taken from http://www.kivits.com/Jashar1.htm. I have added additional commentary.

4 The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible; Merrill Tenney, ed., Zondervan Publishing House, ©1976; Vol. 3, p. 407.

5 Figures of Speech Used in the Bible; E. W. Bullinger; Ⓟoriginally 1898; reprinted 1968 Baker Books; p 116.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

The entire verse reads: Then he said, “To teach the sons of Judah: ‘The Bowman.’ ” (Observe, this is written in the Book of Jashar). There are a couple of theories even as to what is being said here:

The Relationship between this Psalm and the Book of Jasher

(1) A later editor notes that this particular psalm can also be found in the Book of Jashar.

(2) David is saying that he lifted this psalm from the Book of Jashar.

(3) David is saying that he adapted his psalm from a psalm found in the Book of Jashar.

(4) David is saying that he also wrote this psalm into the Book of Jashar, which would therefore be a collection of writings and poetry, not necessarily seen as divinely inspired.

(5)  Let me offer you my theory, at this point. David really wrote this psalm honoring Saul and Jonathan, and he placed it into the book of Jasher, apart from his other writings. David continued to add to the book of Samuel, a book begun by Samuel, but did not include this psalm in his addition. A later editor went back, found the ode to Saul and Jonathan, and put it back into God’s Word, under the approval of God the Holy Spirit.

(6) Bullinger says that David is herein commanding those within his hearing to add this psalm to the Book of Jashar.

These are merely off-the-cuff speculations on my part. Even though I lean toward the last one, there is no real doctrinal issue in preferring any of these possibilities. However, it does sound more like a gloss than something David would have included here; assuming that this chapter is written by David.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Bear in mind that God the Holy Spirit chose to include this psalm in the book of Samuel. It is an ode to Saul and the last thing that we will hear about Saul. We cannot simply pass this off as David's viewpoint or David's emotions, because we find it in Scripture. The recording of a psalm in Scripture is different than recording what a person says in Scripture. A person may say something in the Bible and it may be a lie—e.g., what Satan said to Eve in the garden is a lie. That it is found in the Bible means, this accurately reflects what Satan said; but it does not guarantee the veracity of what he says. Any quotations found in Scripture are accurate records of the words and thoughts of the person, but the fact that these are found in the Bible does not mean that what is said or thought is accurate. Even when David, in 1Sam. 27:1, when he says, "I just need to get out of Dodge because of Saul," accurately depicts his thinking and his rationale for leaving Israel. This in no way means that his choice to leave Israel temporarily was God's geographical will for his life (and we discussed this in great detail back in 1Sam. 27). However, in this case, we have half a chapter dedicated to a psalm written by David. We cannot blow this off as David's sincere, but inaccurate thoughts. God the Holy Spirit places this psalm in here, so that we have a balanced picture of Saul's life. Many commentators do not like this. They do not like Saul; they do not like what he has done to David, and they sure as hell don't want Saul in heaven. For these reasons, they disparage any good thing said about Saul after his mental illness began to kick in. However, we need to be more objective. What Saul did to David may have been unforgivable in our eyes; but not in God's. God is able to forgive all the sins and evil that we do, which is something I know I require—on a daily basis.


Application: There are some people whose spiritual lives take a turn for the worse as they get older. This may not be quite as dramatic as Saul's life, but it is a turn for the worst nonetheless. God does not forsake us because we go bad. There are not a set number of sins that we can commit in this life, and then God says, "You've just gone too far; I hereby revoke your salvation." I am not saying this by way of permission, so that you think that you can do any damn thing you want right now. God is also our Father and He disciplines us in life as well. Furthermore, once we get to a certain point, God takes us out of this life via the sin unto death. That we die the sin unto death does not mean we have lost of salvation; it means that we are taken out of this life for our constant and repeated disobedience. Saul is one of these people. My point is, if you are alive, then God still has a plan for your life. No matter how far you have gone into reversionism, the fact that you are still breathing means that God still has things for you to do.


The glory, O Israel, upon your high places slain!

How have fallen mighty ones!

2Samuel

1:19

O Israel! The glory is slain upon your high places!

How the soldiers have fallen!

The glory, O Israel, has been slain in the high places!

How your mighty soldiers have fallen!


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          The illustrious of Israel are slain upon thy mountains. How are the valiant fallen?

Masoretic Text                       The glory, O Israel, upon your high places slain!

How have fallen mighty ones! .

Septuagint                              Set up a pillar, O Israel, for the slain that died upon your high places. How are the mighty fallen!

 

Significant differences: The Greek has Israel erecting a pillar (ostensibly to honor those who have died in battle). This first difference is a matter of translation. Apart from that, the Greek and Hebrew are the same. The Latin is quite similar to the Hebrew and the differences are probably a matter of translation.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Israel, your famous hero lies dead on the hills, and your mighty warriors have fallen!

NLT                                        Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!

How the mighty heroes have fallen!

TEV                                        "On the hills of Israel our leaders are dead!

The bravest of our soldiers have fallen!


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         "Your glory, Israel, lies dead on your hills. See how the mighty have fallen!

HCSB                                     The splendor of Israel lies slain on your heights. How the mighty have fallen!


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Edersheim                              The adornment of Israel on thy heights thrust through!

Alas, the heroes have fallen!

LTHB                                     The beauty of Israel is slain on your high places. How are the mighty fallen!

 

Young’s Updated LT             “The Roebuck, O Israel, On your high places is wounded; How have the mighty fallen!

 

The gist of this verse?          David begins his ode to Saul and Jonathan by speaking of the mighty soldiers who have fallen (which would have included Saul and Jonathan).


2Samuel 1:19a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

tsebîy (י.בצ) [pronounced tseb-VEE]

glory, splendor, honor; beauty; roebuck, gazelle

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #6643 BDB #840

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]