Journey Through The Scriptures

David, Part II

Lesson 1: Deaths of Saul and Jonathan

(Scripture to Read: 2 Samuel 1:1–27)

The rise of David to the throne of Israel began with the fall of King Saul and Jonathan on Mount Gilboa. The messenger who arrived with news of their deaths plunged David into deep mourning, for David obviously loved Saul despite the latter’s attempts to kill him. And Jonathan was David’s most beloved friend, closer than a brother. David not only loved these men, but took very seriously the anointing of God on Saul. David had refused several times to lay a hand on Saul to harm him, and now he was indignant that an Amalekite, a foreigner, had dared to kill Israel’s king (as David had been led to believe).

We know that the man was lying to David, hoping to gain David’s favor by telling him how he had eliminated David’s rival. But the plan backfired when David used the messenger’s own testimony to condemn him to death, and he was immediately executed. David and his men continued to mourn for Saul and Jonathan throughout the day. Then David, “Israel’s singer of songs” (2 Samuel 23:1), gave the first evidence of his poetic skills as he composed a beautiful lament (vv. 19–27) that he ordered all the men of Judah to learn and recite.

Study Questions

  1. Why was the Lord’s anointing on Saul so important to David?
  2. It is ironic that the man who claimed to have killed Saul was an Amalekite. How did the Amalekites figure prominently in the story of Saul? (Hint: Read 1 Samuel 15:1-11)
  3. Why did David warn against letting the news of this tragedy reach Philistia (v. 20)?
  4. Why did David order all the men of Judah to learn and recite this lament?

Something to Think About

David’s actions teach us a wonderful lesson. Although he was about to be king, and someone who had tried to kill him was now dead, David still honored Saul and the Lord, who had put Saul on the throne. Rather than using his moment of triumph to gloat, David humbly acknowledged he was part of God’s plan. We do well to remember his humility in our own times of success.