2 Samuel 1
-Introduction: The book of 2 Samuel narrates the kingdom of David with an accurate depiction in the years of the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). David presents for us, the readers, a model and example to emulate in many regards, yet David was by no means a perfect individual as we will explore. We tend to gravitate to people who define and personify our ideals. Unconsciously, and sometimes on purpose, we copy their actions and adopt their philosophies and worldview. King David is one of the Scriptures foremost heroes, and a person worth considering. He comes along at about the half-way point between Abraham and Jesus in the national history of Israel. He is their second king and is given, by God’s authority, the eternal Kingdom line through which Christ Jesus would be born (2 Samuel 7:16-29, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38). This book was probably written somewhere around 930 B.C. perhaps by the prophet Nathan’s son, Zabud (1 Kings 4:5). There are also some parts that can probably be attributed to Nathan and Gad (1 Chronicles 29:29). The completion of this book, named after the prophet Samuel who anointed David as king yet deceased by the time of the events of this book, was approximately 40 years after the reign of King David had ended. His reign begins at the time of King Saul’s death in 1010 B.C. when David was ascribed authority in Judah. By 1003 B.C., some seven years later, David was in full control of a unified Israel and enjoyed the expansion of the kingdom, the ark being brought back to its rightful place in the tabernacle, and military success after success. But, despite all these accomplishments, we also see the dark side of this king who at times is merely a sinful human and succumbs to temptation involving laziness, pride, and lust. We see his family issues spring forth in stunning array, and the pain of dealing with surmounting situations there. However, through it all David provides for a way back with his repentant heart (which makes him the man after God’s own heart), which we can discern extends the grace of God to the humble and contrite. In the end by 970 B.C. when he goes to be with the LORD, we know that David has an abiding peace and was in perfect fellowship with his Creator, even though he like everyone else he had to endure the consequences of his wayward actions. Look for the themes of God honoring characteristics, for example: faithfulness, patience, courage, generosity, commitment, honesty, modesty, justice, and penitence. While enjoying those qualities, also notice the Kingdom growth, the perils of personal greatness, the consequences of sin, and the repentant heart themes. 2 Samuel is a classic work of art and an inspiring Word from the LORD.
(Ideas extracted from “New American Standard Bible: Life Application Study Bible.” Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, pgs. 496-497)
-Chapter 1: The book begins after the death of Saul, which occurred on Mount Gilboa in a battle with the vaunted Philistines (1 Samuel 31, canonical ties). David had just returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites because of their vicious attack on his people in Ziklag (see 1 Samuel 30). He was back in Ziklag, which had been burned with fire, and remained there for two days. On the third day, however, an Amalekite man who said he had been in Saul’s camp came with clothes torn and dust on his head. When he approached David, he fell prostrated to the ground before this valiant warrior out of perceived respect. Upon David asking where he had come from, the Amalekite told him what had transpired in the battle between Israel and the Philistines. David was anxious to know how things were going and was then informed of the carnage that Israel was dealt including the death of Saul and Jonathan. David wanted proof of the cessation of the king and his son. The man lied about the way it all went down, which can be accurately found in 1 Samuel 31. But, he did present the king’s crown and bracelet that was on his arm. He claimed he had killed the king who was in agony for his life after the injuries he had received in battle (2 Samuel 1:1-10). This was untrue. The Amalekite was more than likely a battlefield scavenger that happened to come upon the king before the Philistines were able to find him.
-Upon hearing the horrid news, David took hold of his clothes and ripped them apart. His men who were with him followed suit in tearing their clothes as well. “They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan and for the people of the LORD and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.” This was indeed a fulfillment of prophecy, but it was a painful time in the camp of David (1 Samuel 28).
-David now attended to the matter of this Amalekite, who was in fact an alien and despiser of the king. David asked him where he was from and how it was that he was not afraid to stretch out his hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed. He eventually had one of his young men to go and cut him down, which ended the man’s life. Here is David’s final evaluation of the man, “Your blood is on your head, for your mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the LORD’s anointed.’”
-Then, in grief, David chanted this lament over Saul and his son, Jonathan. He told his people to teach the sons of Judah this “song of the bow,” which was written in the book of Jashar:
"Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How have the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. O mountains of Gilboa, let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; for there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, and the sword of Saul did not return empty. Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, and in their death they were not parted; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women. How have the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!"
-*Application* Our world scorns the emotions of grief and often tries to repress them to our detriment. Consider how we act around people that are going through agonizing times in their lives. How do we respond? Do we shut them up and shut them down? Or, do we offer the hope and help of Christ in these instances? Too many people are turning to addictions instead of the Savior in times of intense hurt and pain. We should give them Jesus as the real healer. We can also see the importance of truthfulness from this episode in the Scriptures. The Amalekite paid a high price for his distortion and deception. We will too if we get tangled up in the web of lies and false story telling. God is a God of truth and reality. Finally, let us consider the friendship of David and Jonathan. True friends are rare in our world and should be genuinely cherished.
Verses to Memorize: 2 Samuel 1:16, 26