|The Book of 2 Samuel|
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Go to Bible: 2 Samuel 1
“after the death of Saul.” When King Saul died, David’s time of fleeing from Saul ended, and he went and established his first capital city at Hebron, in southern Judah.
[For the details of David’s journeys once he started running from Saul, see commentary on 1 Sam. 19:18.](top)
“paid homage.” The Hebrew word shachah (#07812 שָׁחָה), refers to bowing down, falling prostrate, giving honor, and also worshiping.
[For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chron. 29:20.](top)
|2Sa 1:3||- (top)|
|2Sa 1:4||- (top)|
|2Sa 1:5||- (top)|
“happened, yes, happened.” The Amalekite uses the figure of speech polyptoton to emphasize that it was only mere chance that he was on the slopes of Mount Gilboa and came upon the wounded Saul. The Amalekite apparently hoped that would make his story more believable, since he had not been a part of Saul’s bodyguard.
[For more on the figure polyptoton and the translation of the figure, see commentary on Gen. 2:16, “eat, yes, eat.”]
This Amalekite made up a story about mercifully fulfilling Saul’s request and killing him quickly rather than letting the Philistines come upon him while he was still living, which might even lead to Saul’s being tortured. He apparently hoped to win David’s favor and likely wealth and fame along with it. But David had the Amalekite executed. The exact reason is not given. It is possible that David was not fooled by the man’s lie especially if the Amalekite, thinking that Saul was David’s enemy, showed signs of glee or satisfaction along the lines of, “I killed your enemy.” It is also possible that David thought if Saul could communicate so clearly then the Amalekite should have tried to rescue him. It is also possible that because the person was an Amalekite he was immediately suspected of treachery and David sought for more information. In that case, even though the text does not say so, it is possible that David started hearing from others who came from the battle (not every Israelite was dead). In any case, the Amalekite said he killed Saul, Yahweh’s anointed, and was executed for it. 1 Samuel 31:3-5 tells us what actually happened, and this Amalekite was snared by his own words (Prov. 6:2).(top)
|2Sa 1:7||- (top)|
“I am an Amalekite.” Saul was supposed to kill the Amalekites. Now an Amalekite lied and said he killed Saul.(top)
“dizziness has seized me.” The meaning of the Hebrew word shabats (#07661 שָׁבָץ) is debated. It only occurs here in the Old Testament, but is related to “mix” or “interweave.” The meaning “dizziness” is derived from the Aramaic Targums, Peshitta, and Septuagint, and fundamentally agrees with Josephus, who says Saul was so “weak” he could not kill himself (Antiquities, Book 7.1.1). The NET reads, “I’m very dizzy.” The Schocken Bible has “for dizziness has come upon me.”a
In this story made up by this Amalekite, Saul’s wounds had made him so disoriented and confused he could not successfully kill himself. What really happened is told in 1 Samuel 31:3-5. Saul was wounded so he committed suicide.
|2Sa 1:10||- (top)|
|2Sa 1:11||- (top)|
|2Sa 1:12||- (top)|
“sojourner.” That is, a temporary resident.(top)
|2Sa 1:14||- (top)|
“attack him!” The Hebrew, “fall on him,” is an idiom for killing him. Some modern versions (cp. CSB, CJB, ESV) translate the meaning of the idiom for easier English reading (cp. HCSB: “Come here and kill him!”).(top)
|2Sa 1:16||- (top)|
|2Sa 1:17||- (top)|
“the book of Jashar.” See commentary on Joshua 10:13.(top)
|2Sa 1:19||- (top)|
“Gath…Ashkelon.” Two of the 5 capital cities of the Philistines, which were Gaza, Gath, Ekron, Ashkelon, and Ashdod (cp. Josh. 13:3; Judg. 3:3; 1 Sam. 6:16). It is almost certain that in this poem of David, Gath and Ashkelon are mentioned as a synecdoche of the part, the part (those two cities) being put for the whole (the whole area controlled by the Philistines). David did not want any Philistines anywhere to rejoice, not just in those two cities.
“the daughters of the Philistines.” The reference to the daughters is because when the men went out to war, the women would anxiously wait, hoping that their men would come home, and better, come home completely victorious. When the men did come home safe, there was great rejoicing. In this battle between Israel and the Philistines, the Philistines had a resounding victory and there would have been much rejoicing throughout the Philistine cities, and David laments that fact.(top)
“no longer anointed with oil.” Most shields had at least some leather, and that was rubbed with oil to keep it strong and flexible.(top)
|2Sa 1:22||- (top)|
|2Sa 1:23||- (top)|
“daughters of Israel.” Just as the daughters of the Philistines would rejoice when the men returned victorious (see commentary on 1 Sam. 1:20), the women in Israel would weep because their men did not return from the battle.
“who put ornaments of gold on your clothing.” Saul had won many battles (1 Sam. 14:47) and would have brought much booty back to Israel. This enriched the people of Israel, especially the families of the men of war, who shared in the spoils of war.(top)
|2Sa 1:25||- (top)|
“Your love to me was wonderful.” Jonathan and David had a deep friendship for one another. This was a true friendship based on godliness, honor, mutual respect, and compatible abilities and desires. It is the kind of friendship that everyone longs for but too few find. There was no jealousy although there certainly could have been room for it. Jonathan was the crown prince of the house of Saul, but he knew the will of God was that David would be king, and he was good with that, which shows tremendous humility and submitting to the will of God (1 Sam. 23:17). The Bible shows that Jonathan and David were very close (1 Sam. 18:1-4; 19:1-7; 20:1-42; 23:15-18), and they made at least three covenants together (1 Sam. 18:3; 20:16; 23:18).
Although it has been suggested by some, there is no hint of homosexual love in any of the records. David and Jonathan were comrades in arms.(top)
|2Sa 1:27||- (top)|