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Saturday, September 30th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 1

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-27

The Lament of David over Saul and Jonathan

1. There is no break between the two books of Samuel; they really form one continuous narrative. This v. is a continuation of 1 Samuel 30, which describes David’s successful attack upon Ziklag. He had not heard of the events narrated in 1 Samuel 31.

2. With his clothes rent, etc.] In 1 Samuel 4:12, which describes the arrival of the messenger at Shiloh with tidings of the capture of the ark, these were the same indications that he was the bearer of evil tidings.

8, 9. The Amalekite’s account contradicts 1 Samuel 31:4 and is also improbable in itself. The man was probably lying in the hope of currying favour with David.

10. For the practice of wearing signs of royalty, when going into battle, see 1 Kings 22:30. Bracelet] In the Assyrian sculptures warriors are often represented with such ornaments.

18. The use of the bow] RVthe song of the bow,’ lit. ’the bow.’ The text of this v. is doubtful, but if the words are right, ’the bow’ will be the title of the lamentation following. There is, however, no warrant for this in Hebrew usage. Some see an allusion to 2 Samuel 1:22, ’the bow of Jonathan.’ The book of Jasher] RV ’Jashar,’ mentioned also in Joshua 10:13. It was apparently a book of martial or historical poetry. Jashar is probably a name of Israel. We get it in Deuteronomy 32:15 under the form Jeshurun: the word properly means ’righteous.’

21. Fields of offerings] fields bearing produce, from which firstfruits are offered. Not.. anointed with oil] It is doubtful if this refers to Saul or his shield. Shields were greased to preserye the leather and to prevent spears from sticking: cp. Isaiah 21:5.

22. In this figurative language, the bow is represented as drinking the blood of the slain and the sword as eating the fat of the mighty: cp. Deuteronomy 32:42; Isaiah 34:6. Turned not back] i.e. empty, as the parallel clause shows.

24. Scarlet.. gold] These were the ordinary ornaments of a Hebrew woman: cp. Jeremiah 4:30.

25. O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places] RV ’Jonathan is slain upon thy high places.’ The address is to Israel.

27. The weapons of war] The parallel clause shows that these are Saul and Jonathan themselves, regarded as the sword and bow of the nation. It is remarkable that this poem makes no distinction between Saul and Jonathan, but praises the courage, the success, and the patriotism of both alike. The gloomy picture of Saul given in the later chapters of 1 Sam must not be allowed to efface the courage and determination of his struggle with Israel’s foes. On the other hand, the genuine grief expressed in this lament (which cannot be anything else than authentic) over the father as well as the son, shows David’s chivalry in a very pleasing light.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 1". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/2-samuel-1.html. 1909.
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