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!’
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. 2On 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.
3“Where have you come from?” David asked him.
He answered, “I’ve escaped from Israel’s camp.”
4“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.”
5David 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?”
6“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. 7Then he turned around and saw me. He called out to me. I said, ‘What do you want me to 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 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.”
11Then David tore his clothes. And all his men tore their clothes. 12All 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.
13David 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.
14David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to kill the Lord’s anointed king?”
15Then David called for one of his men. He said, “Go! Strike him down!” So he struck the man down, and the man died. 16That’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
17David sang a song of sadness about Saul and his son Jonathan. 18He 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.
22The 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.
26My 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.”