Now 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;
It 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.
And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped.
And 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.
Heb. What was, etc.
1 Samuel 4:16 *marg:
And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?
And 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.
As I happened
The story of this young man appears to be wholly a fiction, formed for the purpose of ingratiating himself with David, as the next probable successor to the crown. There is no fact in the case, except for the bringing of the diadem and bracelets of Saul, as a sufficient evidence of his death, which, as he appears to been a plunderer of the slain, he seems to have stripped from the dead body of the unfortunate monarch. It is remarkable, that Saul, who had forfeited his crown by his disobedience and ill-timed clemency with respect to the Amalekites, should now have the insignia of royalty stripped from his person by one of those very people.
And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.
Here am I
Heb. Behold me.
And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.
He 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.
or, my coat of mail, or, my embroidered coat hindereth me, that my, etc.
So 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.
This was probably worn as an ensign of royalty, as is frequently the case in the East. When the Khalif Cayem Bemrillah granted the investiture of certain dominions to an Eastern prince, the ceremony was performed by sending him letters patent, a crown, chain, and bracelets. The bracelet, says Mr. Morier, are ornaments fastened above the elbows, composed of precious stones of great value, and are only worn by the king and his sons.
Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him:
And 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.
And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD'S anointed?
And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died.
And 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.
And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:
(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)
Kasheth, or the bow, was probably the title of the following threnody; so called, in the oriental style, because Saul's death was occasioned by that weapon, and because the bow of Jonathan, out of which "the arrow was shot beyond the lad," (1 Sa 20:36,) is celebrated in this song.
or, the upright. So LXX. [ ;] Targum, siphra deooritha, "the book of the law;" the Arabic, "the book of Ashee: this is the book of Samuel." This book was probably a collection of divine odes, written to commemorate remarkable events.
The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!
Tell 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.
Ye 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.
Instead of belee, "not," we should probably, with Dr. Delaney and others, read keley, "weapons," as it is found on one MS. and in the first edition of the Hebrew Bible, printed at Soncini, 1488: "the shield of Saul; the weapons of the anointed with oil."
From 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.
Saul 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.
Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.
How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.
I 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.
How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!