Death (2 Samuel 1:10-12)


Verse 10 So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown which was on his head and the bracelet which was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.” This chapter contains an account of the death of Saul and Jonathan. Pressed with all his weight upon his body, that so the spear might pierce through him, and slay him; thus he represents his death to be brought about: because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen; this is not consistent with what he had said before, both that he was leaning on his spear, and not fallen to the ground, and that his life was whole in him: and I took the crown that was upon his head; which made him conspicuous, and therefore the Philistines aimed at him, and pressed hard after him, 2 Samuel 1:6; though some think that this was not on his head, but carried into the field of battle, ready to be put on if victory was on his side; and others say it was in the possession and care of Doeg, who at his death gave it to his son to carry to David, and thereby gain his favor: and the bracelet that was on his arm; of gold no doubt, so Josephus; such as great personages used to wear, men as well as women, Genesis 38:18, especially military men, phylacteries on the arm, which is not probable: and have brought them hither unto my lord; as ensigns of royalty, fit only for a king, Saul's successor, as this person, by calling him lord, owned him to be, and thought by bringing those to him to be highly he neared and rewarded.

Verse 11 Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so also did all the men who were with him. Not on the young man's but his own: and rent them; on bearing of the death of Saul and Jonathan, Genesis 37:34; from whence the Jews gather, that a man is bound to rend his clothes for a prince, and for the father of the sanhedrim, since Saul, they say, was the prince, and Jonathan the father of that court: and likewise all the men that were with him; rent their clothes also, in imitation of him; the same custom obtained among the Gentiles on mournful occasions. This book, in many copies of the Hebrew Bible, is carried on without any new title put unto it; the reason of it is, because, by some, this, with the preceding, has been reckoned but one book: hence the Jews say Samuel wrote his book, not his books; in others it is called Samuel Second; and by the Vulgate Latin the Second Book of Samuel, which we call the Second of Kings; though why his name should be put to it at all I see not, since it neither concerns him, nor could it be written by him, being an history of events after his death. The Greek version calls it the Second of Kings; and the Syriac version, the Second Book of the Kings of Israel; whereas there is but one king of Israel it makes mention of, and of whose actions only it is an history; and therefore with greater propriety it is called, as the Arabic version, the Book of David the Prophet, of whose reign, from the beginning to the end of it, it gives an account: wherefore Isidore thinks it was written by David.

Verse 12 They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan and for the people of the LORD and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. Inwardly mourned, and outwardly wept, no doubt sincerely: and fasted until even; ate no food all that day until it was evening, the manner in which fasts used to be kept: for Saul, and for Jonathan his son; it is no wonder that David and his men should mourn for Jonathan, a good man, and a valiant one, and a dear and faithful friend of David's; but it may seem not so clear a thing that they should, mourn for Saul, a wicked man, and a persecutor of David without cause: but it should be observed that he had been reconciled to David, and had not since attempted anything against him; besides, he was his prince, his father-in-law, and the rather he might be grieved for his death, and his men with him, because it was matter of joy to the Philistines, and they would endeavor to avail themselves of it; and especially the manner of his death, that he should be the cause of it himself, and die without repentance, as it might be feared, and quickly after consultation with a witch, and when left of God, if these particulars were known to David: and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel; that is, the people of the Lord, even the house of Israel, or who were of the house of Israel; or if they are to be distinguished, the former may respect the people of the Lord who died in battle, for whom mourning was made.

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