David Learns of Saul’s Death
1Now it came about after the death of Saul, when David had returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, that David remained two days in Ziklag. 2 On the third day, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul, with his clothes torn and [a]dust on his head. And it came about when he came to David that he fell to the ground and prostrated himself. 3 Then David said to him, “From where do you come?” And he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” 4 David said to him, “How did things go? Please tell me.” And he said, “The people have fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.” 5 So David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” 6 The young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and behold, Saul was leaning on his spear. And behold, the chariots and the horsemen pursued him closely. 7 When he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 8 He said to me, ‘Who are you?’ And I [b]answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ 9 Then he said to me, ‘Please stand beside me and kill me, for agony has seized me because my [c]life still lingers in me.’ 10 So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown which was on his head and the bracelet which was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”
11 Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so also did all the men who were with him. 12 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. 13 David said to the young man who told him, “Where are you from?” And he [d]answered, “I am the son of an alien, an Amalekite.” 14 Then David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to stretch out your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” 15 And David called one of the young men and said, “Go, [e]cut him down.” So he struck him and he died. 16 David said to him, “Your blood is on your head, for your mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord’s anointed.’”
David’s Dirge for Saul and Jonathan
17 Then David chanted with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.
19 “[f]Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places!
How have the mighty fallen!
20 “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.
21 “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.
22 “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.
23 “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.
24 “O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet,
Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.
25 “How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!
Jonathan is slain on your high places.
26 “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.
27 “How have the mighty fallen,
And the weapons of war perished!”
David hears of Saul’s death
1After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. 2On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honour.
3‘Where have you come from?’ David asked him.
He answered, ‘I have escaped from the Israelite camp.’
4‘What happened?’ David asked. ‘Tell me.’
‘The men fled from the battle,’ he replied. ‘Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.’
5Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, ‘How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?’
6‘I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,’ the young man said, ‘and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. 7When he turned round and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, “What can I do?”
8‘He asked me, “Who are you?”
‘ “An Amalekite,” I answered.
9‘Then he said to me, “Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.”
10‘So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.’
11Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. 12They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
13David said to the young man who brought him the report, ‘Where are you from?’
‘I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,’ he answered.
14David asked him, ‘Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?’
15Then David called one of his men and said, ‘Go, strike him down!’ So he struck him down, and he died. 16For David had said to him, ‘Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, “I killed the Lord’s anointed.” ’
David’s lament for Saul and Jonathan
17David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, 18and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):
19‘A gazelle1:19 Gazelle here symbolises a human dignitary. 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.1:21 Or / nor fields that yield grain for offerings
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.
23Saul 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.
26I 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!’