New International Reader's Version

2 Samuel 1

David Hears That Saul Has Died

1After Saul died, David returned to Ziklag. He had won the battle over the Amalekites. He stayed in Ziklag for two days. On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp. His clothes were torn. He had dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to show him respect.

“Where have you come from?” David asked him.

He answered, “I’ve escaped from Israel’s camp.”

“What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.”

He said, “Israel’s men ran away from the battle. Many of them were killed. Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”

David spoke to the young man who brought him the report. He asked him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”

“I just happened to be there on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said. “Saul was there too. He was leaning on his spear. The enemy chariots and chariot drivers had almost caught up with him. Then he turned around and saw me. He called out to me. I said, ‘What do you want me to do?’

“He asked me, ‘Who are you?’

“ ‘An Amalekite,’ I answered.

“Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m close to death, but I’m still alive.’

10 “So I stood beside him and killed him. I did it because I knew that after he had lost the battle he would be killed anyway. So I took the crown that was on his head. I also took his armband. I’ve brought them here to you. You are my master.”

11 Then David tore his clothes. And all his men tore their clothes. 12 All of them were filled with sadness. They mourned over the whole nation of Israel. They didn’t eat anything until evening. That’s because Saul and Jonathan and the Lord’s army had been killed by swords.

13 David spoke to the young man who had brought him the report. He asked, “Where are you from?”

“I’m the son of an outsider, an Amalekite,” he answered.

14 David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to kill the Lord’s anointed king?”

15 Then David called for one of his men. He said, “Go! Strike him down!” So he struck the man down, and the man died. 16 That’s because David had said to him, “Anything that happens to you will be your own fault. What your own mouth has spoken is a witness against you. You said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed king.’ ”

David’s Song of Sadness About Saul and Jonathan

17 David sang a song of sadness about Saul and his son Jonathan. 18 He ordered that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is a song that is played on a stringed instrument. It is written down in the Book of Jashar. David sang,

19 “Israel, a gazelle lies dead on your hills.
    Your mighty men have fallen.

20 “Don’t announce it in Gath.
    Don’t tell it in the streets of Ashkelon.
If you do, the daughters of the Philistines will be glad.
    The daughters of men who haven’t been circumcised will be joyful.

21 “Mountains of Gilboa,
    may no dew or rain fall on you.
    May no showers fall on your hillside fields.
The shield of the mighty king wasn’t respected there.
    The shield of Saul lies there. It isn’t rubbed with oil anymore.
22 The bow of Jonathan didn’t turn back.
    The sword of Saul didn’t return without being satisfied.
They spilled the blood of their enemies.
    They killed mighty men.

23 “When they lived, Saul and Jonathan were loved and respected.
    When they died, they were not parted.
They were faster than eagles.
    They were stronger than lions.

24 “Daughters of Israel, mourn over Saul.
He dressed you in the finest clothes.
    He decorated your clothes with ornaments of gold.

25 “Your mighty men have fallen in battle.
    Jonathan lies dead on your hills.
26 My brother Jonathan, I’m filled with sadness because of you.
    You were very special to me.
Your love for me was wonderful.
    It was more wonderful than the love of women.

27 “Israel’s mighty men have fallen.
    Their weapons of war are broken.”

The Message

2 Samuel 1

11-2 Shortly after Saul died, David returned to Ziklag from his rout of the Amalekites. Three days later a man showed up unannounced from Saul’s army camp.

2-3 Disheveled and obviously in mourning, he fell to his knees in respect before David. David asked, “What brings you here?”

He answered, “I’ve just escaped from the camp of Israel.”

“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.”

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

6-8 “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. He looked behind him, saw me, and called me to him. ‘Yes sir,’ I said, ‘at your service.’ He asked me who I was, and I told him, ‘I’m an Amalekite.’”

“Come here,” he said, “and put me out of my misery. I’m nearly dead already, but my life hangs on.”

10 “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.”

11-12 In lament, David ripped his clothes to ribbons. All the men with him did the same. 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.

13 Then David spoke to the young soldier who had brought the report: “Who are you, anyway?”

“I’m from an immigrant family—an Amalekite.”

14-15 “Do you mean to say,” said David, “that you weren’t afraid to up and kill God’s anointed king?” Right then he ordered one of his soldiers, “Strike him dead!” The soldier struck him, and he died.

16 “You asked for it,” David told him. “You sealed your death sentence when you said you killed God’s anointed king.”

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.