2 Samuel 1:17-27
The Message (MSG)
17-18 Then David sang this lament over Saul and his son Jonathan, and gave orders that everyone in Judah learn it by heart. Yes, it’s even inscribed in The Book of Jashar.
19-21 Oh, oh, Gazelles of Israel, struck down on your hills,
the mighty warriors—fallen, fallen!
Don’t announce it in the city of Gath,
don’t post the news in the streets of Ashkelon.
Don’t give those coarse Philistine girls
one more excuse for a drunken party!
No more dew or rain for you, hills of Gilboa,
and not a drop from springs and wells,
For there the warriors’ shields were dragged through the mud,
Saul’s shield left there to rot.
22 Jonathan’s bow was bold—
the bigger they were the harder they fell.
Saul’s sword was fearless—
once out of the scabbard, nothing could stop it.
23 Saul and Jonathan—beloved, beautiful!
Together in life, together in death.
Swifter than plummeting eagles,
stronger than proud lions.
24-25 Women of Israel, weep for Saul.
He dressed you in finest cottons and silks,
spared no expense in making you elegant.
The mighty warriors—fallen, fallen
in the middle of the fight!
Jonathan—struck down on your hills!
26 O my dear brother Jonathan,
I’m crushed by your death.
Your friendship was a miracle-wonder,
love far exceeding anything I’ve known—
or ever hope to know.
27 The mighty warriors—fallen, fallen.
And the arms of war broken to bits.
Here we are back with David- and reading his psalm-
dedicated to King Saul and Jonathan – after their deaths
in battle. This psalm or lament is not a part of the book of Psalms,
but it was well known in Israel by the king’s command.
By King David’s command.
Here again is the same psalm- this time from the NIV.
17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):
19 “A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel.
How the mighty have fallen!
20 “Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.
21 “Mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
may no showers fall on your terraced fields.
For there the shield of the mighty was despised,
the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.
22 “From the blood of the slain,
from the flesh of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.
23 Saul and Jonathan—
in life they were loved and admired,
and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.
24 “Daughters of Israel,
weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery,
who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.
25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.
27 “How the mighty have fallen!
The weapons of war have perished.
David, if you remember, was a man after God’s own heart.
And in looking at his life- through his poetry we can discern,
perhaps, those characteristics that made him such a man.
David speaks from his heart- out of genuine distress and sorrow,
and he laments the death of his enemy. For wasn’t Saul intent upon
killing David? He cries out for the death of his friend- for doesn’t he call
Jonathan his brother? He sings a song of sadness and eulogy over
the loss of mighty warriors.
David is a man whose heart is loyal to friendship and honor.
He regrets the disrespect shown to the valor and kingship of Saul-
his voice is loud in defense- and praise for the dead is his song.
In order to look at God from David’s perspective, first we must discover
that perspective. David was trustworthy as a friend and loyal as a subject.
War is not glorified- death is not minimized- courage and strength are not overlooked.
David looks at the battlefield and cries out-
“How the mighty have fallen!”
Selah- pause a moment and think upon that.