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!’
1Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag; 2It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance. 3And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped. 4And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.1.4 How…: Heb. What was, etc 5And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead? 6And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. 7And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.1.7 Here…: Heb. Behold me 8And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. 9He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.1.9 anguish…: or, my coat of mail (or, my embroidered coat) hindereth me, that my, etc 10So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.
11Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: 12And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.
13¶ And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. 14And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed? 15And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. 16And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD’s anointed.
17¶ And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: 18(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)1.18 of Jasher: or, of the upright 19The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! 20Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. 21Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. 22From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. 23Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.1.23 pleasant: or, sweet 24Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. 25How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. 26I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. 27How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!