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2002 11 11
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2 Samuel


Chapter 1


After the death of Saul, David returned from his defeat of the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag.


On the third day a man came from Saul's camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. Going to David, he fell to the ground in homage.


David asked him, "Where do you come from?" He replied, "I have escaped from the Israelite camp."


"Tell me what happened," David bade him. He answered that the soldiers had fled the battle and that many of them had fallen and were dead, among them Saul and his son Jonathan.


Then David said to the youth who was reporting to him, "How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?"


The youthful informant replied: "It was by chance that I found myself on Mount Gilboa and saw Saul leaning on his spear, with chariots and horsemen closing in on him.


He turned around and, seeing me, called me to him. When I said, 'Here I am,'


he asked me, 'Who are you?' and I replied, 'An Amalekite.'


Then he said to me, 'Stand up to me, please, and finish me off, for I am in great suffering, yet fully alive.'


So I stood up to him and dispatched him, for I knew that he could not survive his wound. I removed the crown from his head and the armlet from his arm and brought them here to my lord."


David seized his garments and rent them, and all the men who were with him did likewise.


They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.


Then David said to the young man who had brought him the information, "Where are you from?" He replied, "I am the son of an Amalekite immigrant."


David said to him, "How is it that you were not afraid to put forth your hand to desecrate the LORD'S anointed?"


David then called one of the attendants and said to him, "Come, strike him down"; and the youth struck him a mortal blow.


Meanwhile David said to him, "You are responsible for your own death, for you testified against yourself when you said, 'I dispatched the LORD'S anointed.'"


Then David chanted this elegy for Saul and his son Jonathan,


which is recorded in the Book of Jashar to be taught to the Judahites. He sang:


"Alas! the glory of Israel, Saul, slain upon your heights; how can the warriors have fallen!


"Tell it not in Gath, herald it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Lest the Philistine maidens rejoice, lest the daughters of the strangers exult!


1 Mountains of Gilboa, may there be neither dew nor rain upon you, nor upsurgings of the deeps! Upon you lie begrimed the warriors' shields, the shield of Saul, no longer anointed with oil.


"From the blood of the slain, from the bodies of the valiant, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back, or the sword of Saul return unstained.


Saul and Jonathan, beloved and cherished, separated neither in life nor in death, swifter than eagles, stronger than lions!


Women of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and in finery, who decked your attire with ornaments of gold.


"How can the warriors have fallen -  in the thick of the battle, slain upon your heights!


"I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother! most dear have you been to me; More precious have I held love for you than love for women.


"How can the warriors have fallen, the weapons of war have perished!"



1 [21] Upsurgings of the deeps: this reading attempts to recover from an unintelligible Hebrew phrase the poetic parallel to dew and rain. The sense would be a wish that the mountain should have neither moisture from above nor water from springs or wells.

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