II Samuel 1

Sunday, April 19th, 2015



When I Samuel closed, David was pursuing the Amalekites who had captured Ziklag and had carried off as captives everyone who was there. At the same time, Saul was being killed by the Philistines.

We remind ourselves that I Samuel 31:4-6 says very plainly that Saul was dead.

I Samuel 31:4-6 - . . . Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. (5) And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. (6) So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together (emphasis added).

In II Samuel 1 , we see that -


II Samuel 1:1-10 - (1) 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; (2) 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. (3) And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? [i.e. where did you come from?] And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped. (4) And David said unto him, How went the matter? [i.e. how did things go?] 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. (5) And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead? (6) 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 [i.e. pursued him closely]. (7) And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I. (8) And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. (9) 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. (10) 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 [i.e. here] unto my lord.

How do we explain this apparent contradiction?

It is explained very simply by realizing that the Amalekite was lying to David in order to gain favor with David. He was apparently seeking to benefit financially from this information. This makes good sense in the context. So, both passages are true. I Samuel 31 correctly states that Saul died as a result of falling on his sword, and II Samuel 1 correctly states the lie that the Amalekite told to David. The Bible does contain lies. This does not mean that the Bible lies; it means that it accurately reports some lies that have been told, such as Satan saying to Eve, Ye shall not surely die when God said that they would surely die if they ate the forbidden fruit.

We see how -


II Samuel 1:11-12 - (11) Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them [i.e. tore them]; and likewise all the men that were with him: (12) And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even [i.e. until evening], 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.

Next, we see that -


II Samuel 1:13-16 - (13) And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? [i.e. Where are you from?] And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. (14) And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord's anointed? (15) And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him [i.e. he struck him] that he died. (16) 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.

Finally, we see that -


1. David weeps over Saul and Jonathan and orders the children of Israel to be taught the use of the bow - 1:17-18

II Samuel 1:17-18 - (17) And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: (18) (Also he bade them teach [i.e. he told them to teach] the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.) [The book of Jasher was one of the source materials the writer of II Samuel used to write II Samuel.]

2. David expresses sorrow over the fall of the mighty - 1:19

II Samuel 1:19 (19) The beauty of Israel [i.e. your beauty (or your glory), O Israel - a reference to Saul] is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty [i.e. the mighty ones] fallen!

3. David does not wish the enemies of Israel to rejoice - 1:20

II Samuel 1:20 (20) 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.

4. David celebrates Saul's valor and military renown - 1:21-22

II Samuel 1:21-22 - (21) Ye mountains of Gilboa [i.e. the place where Saul was killed], 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 [i.e. it, referring to the shield] had not been anointed with oil. (22) From the blood of the slain [i.e. of the slain ones], from the fat of the mighty [i.e. of the mighty ones], the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. [It pictures Saul and Jonathan as mighty warriors who killed many mighty warriors in battle.]

5. David mentions Jonathan's devotion to his father - 1:23

II Samuel 1:23 (23) 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.

6. David calls upon the daughters of Israel to weep over their fallen leader - 1:24

II Samuel 1:24 (24) Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. [Saul brought luxury and bounty to Israel by his conquests.]

7. David does not speak about Saul's godliness. He could not truthfully say anything about Saul's godliness because he was not godly; so he kept quiet; he lovingly conceals Saul's faults - 1:24

II Samuel 1:24 (24) Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

Proverbs 12:23 - A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.

8. David remembers Jonathan's love for himself - 1:25-27

II Samuel 1:25-27 - (25) How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. (26) 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. (27) How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!


Does the Scripture contradict itself? Certainly not. Once again, we see that all of the supposed contradictions disappear upon further thought. You can count on your Bible.

A new era begins. Saul is dead, and his reign is over. It is now time for David to be king over Israel as God had appointed.

We shall go on with chapter 2 next time.