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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
2 Samuel 1

 

 

Verses 1-27

FIRST DIVISION: DAVID’S RULE OVER JUDAH ALONE TILL HE BECOMES KING OVER ALL ISRAEL

2 Samuel 1:1 to 2 Samuel 5:5

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FIRST SECTION

David after Saul’s Death

2 Samuel 1:1-25

1. The News of the Death. 2 Samuel 1:1-16

1Now [And] it came to pass[FN1] after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites,[FN2] and David had abode [that David abode] two days in Ziklag [in Ziklag two days]. It came even [And it came] to pass on the third day that, behold, a man came out of [from] the camp from[FN3] Saul with his clothes[FN4] rent and earth upon his head; and so it was [om. so it was] when he came to David, that [om. that] he fell to the earth and did obeisance 3 And David said unto him, From whence comest[FN5] thou? And he said unto him, Out of [From] the camp of Israel am I escaped. And David said unto him, How went the[FN6] matter? 4I pray thee, tell me. And he answered [said], That [om. that][FN7] the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also[FN8] are fallen and dead, and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also 85 And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?[FN9] 6And the young man that told him said, As [om. as] I happened by chance upon Mount Gilboa, [ins. and] behold, Saul leaned upon his spear, and lo, the chariots and [ins. the] 7horsemen[FN10] followed hard after him. And when [om. when] he looked behind him [or turned round], he [and] saw me, and called unto me. And I answered [said], Here am I:8 And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered [said to] 9him, I am an Amalekite. He [And he] said unto me again [om. again], Stand I pray thee, upon[FN11] me, and slay me, for anguish is come upon me [the cramp[FN12] hath 10 seized on me], because [for] my life is yet whole in me. So [And] 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 [diadem[FN13]] that was upon his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord 11 Then David took hold on his clothes and rent them, and likewise all the men that were with him; 12And they mourned and wept and fasted until [ins. the] even for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord [Jehovah[FN14]] and for the house of Israel, because they were fallen by the sword 13 And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered [said], I am the son of a stranger,[FN15] an Amalekite 14 And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord’s [Jehovah’s] anointed? 15And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near and fall upon him [Approach, fall on him]. And he smote him that he died 16 And David said unto him, Thy blood[FN16] be upon thy head, for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the Lord’s [Jehovah’s] anointed.

2. David’s Elegy. 2 Samuel 1:17-27

17And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his Song of Solomon, 18(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah The use of the bow;[FN17] behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.) [Om. parenthesis-sign, render: And he commanded that the children of Judah should be taught this song of “The Bow;” behold, etc.:]

19The beauty[FN18] of Israel is slain upon thy high places [heights]!

How are the mighty fallen!

20Tell 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.

21Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you [be neither dew nor rain on you],

Nor fields of offerings;

For there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away,[FN19]

[For there was cast away the shield of the heroes],

The shield of Saul as though he had not been anointed [unanointed][FN20] with oil.

22From the blood of the slain,

From the fat[FN21] of the mighty [of heroes]

The bow of Jonathan turned not back,

And the sword of Saul returned not empty.

23Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant[FN22] in their lives,

And in their death they were not divided.

They were swifter than eagles!

They were stronger than lions!

24Ye daughters of Israel, weep over[FN23] Saul,

Who clothed you in scarlet with other delights,

Who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

25How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!

O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places [on thy heights].[FN24]

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.

How are the mighty fallen,

And the weapons of war perished!

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

I. 2 Samuel 1:1-16. The news of Saul’s death, and David’s reception of it.

2 Samuel 1:1 sq. This narrative is closely connected with that of David’s return to Ziklag and Saul’s death in chaps30,31of the First Book. The words: “and it came to pass after the death of Saul,” attach themselves immediately to 1 Samuel31, thus continuing the narrative after the account there given of his death. The words: “and David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites,” resume the narrative in 2 Samuel 30, and connect themselves especially with 2 Samuel 1:17; 2 Samuel 1:26.—The grammatical apodosis begins with “and abode” (וַיֵּשֶׁב), though according to the sense and the connection 2 Samuel 1:2 forms the factual apodosis. The narrator desires to make an exact chronological statement for the following account, to bring out prominently that the news of Saul’s death was closely connected with the events related in chs 30, 31. The precise statement that “after David had stayed two days in Ziklag, the messenger came on the third day with the news of Saul’s death,” indicates, on the one hand, that the narrative is drawn from exact, minute original sources, and, on the other, that David’s return from the battle with the Amalekites happened about the same time as the battle of Gilboa.

2 Samuel 1:2. And behold, a man came, according to 2 Samuel 1:6 a youth; he had belonged to the Israelitish army as a combatant.—[See the doubt as to this fact in “Text. and Gram.”—Tr.]—“From with Saul” (מֵעִם) = “from the neighborhood of Saul,” comp. 2 Samuel 1:3-4. The rent garment and the earth on the head are signs of grief. See 1 Samuel 4:12. His “falling down” recognizes David as future king. See 2 Samuel 14:4; 2 Samuel 19:18; 1 Kings 18:7.

2 Samuel 1:3. “Escaped,” as all the people had fled from the battle, according to 2 Samuel 1:4.

2 Samuel 1:4. David’s question: “How was the affair, that happened?” is at the same time the expression of dismay at the news of the flight. The answer is introduced by a Conj. (אֲשֶׁר, Eng. A. V. “that”), here = our “namely;” comp. 2 Samuel 4:10; 1 Samuel 15:20 (כִּי is sometimes used). Three statements follow one on another in the rapid, curt account of the informant, who, in keeping with David’s word “tell me,” is repeatedly termed “the young man that told him,” 2 Samuel 1:5-6; 2 Samuel 13:1) “The people are fled from the battle,” the whole army broken up in flight; 2) “Many of the people are fallen and dead.”[FN25] This is not in opposition with 1 Samuel 31:6 : “and all his men,” because the latter refers to the men immediately around Saul; 3) “And also Saul and Jonathan his son are dead.” We may render; “not only many of the people, … but also Saul and Jonathan are dead.” The climax in the three statements is obvious. To David’s question ( 2 Samuel 1:5), which refers only to the last statement respecting Saul and Jonathan, the messenger replies ( 2 Samuel 1:6-10) with a full account of Saul’s death.

2 Samuel 1:6. I happened by chance, that Isaiah, in the press of battle, and in the flight, which took the direction towards Mount Gilboa, see 1 Samuel 31:1.—Behold, Saul leaned on his spear. This does not mean (Bunsen) that Saul was lying on the ground, “propping his weary head with the nervously-clutched spear;” no support for this view is found in 2 Samuel 1:9-10, for the “after he was fallen” in 2 Samuel 1:10 does not refer to his fall to the ground. Nor is it to be understood (Cler. and others) of the attempt to kill himself (according to 1 Samuel 31:4). We must rather suppose that Saul was leaning on his spear (which was fixed in the earth, 1 Samuel 26:7) in order to hold himself up, being perfectly exhausted. While he was standing there, “lo, the chariots (that Isaiah, the chariot-warriors) and the horsemen followed hard on him,” came so near that they must soon have reached him, see Judges 20:42. Death or captivity stared him in the face. It is not probable that “chariots and horsemen” followed the flying Israelites on the mountains; according to 1 Samuel 31:4 the pursuers were the archers. Cler. justly: “This seems to be the beginning of the young man’s falsehoods.”

2 Samuel 1:7. And he turned round, which could not be said of him, if he had been lying on the ground.[FN26]

2 Samuel 1:8. The marginal reading “I said” [so Eng. A. V.] is to be preferred to the text “he said,” which seems to have come from the “he said” in the beginning of the following verse (Then.).—[Some take the Hebrews 3pers. to be oratio obliqua; but this is not probable.—Tr.]

2 Samuel 1:9. For the cramp has seized me. So we must render this subst, “cramp” as a twisting of the body (from a stem meaning “to weave, interwork, work together”), not “death-agony” (Vulg.), not the “cuirass” or other part of the armor (S. Schmid), nor “vertigo or fainting” (Gesen, De Wette), to which the following: “all my life is yet in me” does not suit. In consequence of his excitements and exertions, Saul found himself in a bodily condition in which he could not defend himself against the onpressing enemy. The “because” (the second כִּי) gives a further reason for the request to slay him, since Saul feared that in his defenceless condition he would suffer the indignity of falling alive into the Philistines’ hands.[FN27]—[Paraphrase of 2 Samuel 1:9 : Kill me, for the enemy will soon be on me, I am too badly wounded to defend myself, yet, not being mortally wounded, I shall be taken alive.—Tr.]

2 Samuel 1:10. The Amalekite says, that he slew Saul in accordance with his request, because he saw he “would not live after his fall,” could not survive his fall. The “fall”[FN28] does not mean “apostasy from God” (O. v. Gerlach), for, apart from the impossibility of the Amalekite’s using such an expression, we should expect some corresponding additional phrase; nor “falling after a severe, but not mortal wound,” inflicted by himself (Cler, Schmid et al.), for this view presupposes a wrong conception of the “leaning on his spear,” the account in 1 Samuel 31:4 being mixed up with this account. The “fall” here means “defeat;” see Proverbs 24:16.—He took from his head his golden diadem (not “crown,” נֵזֶר), the emblem of the royal dignity. The “bracelet or arm-band” was worn not only by women, but also by men, see Numbers 31:50. So the army-commanders are adorned on the Assyrian monuments (Layard’s Nineveh), and the kings on the Egyptian. The Amalekite brings from Saul’s corpse the symbols of the royal dignity in order to confirm his words, and thus secure the favor of David, whom he looked on as king, and gain a rich reward.—The narrative of the Amalekite contradicts 1 Samuel 31:3, where Saul kills himself with his own sword. The explanation of this difference by the assumption of two different original accounts of Saul’s death (Gramberg, Religionsid. II:89, and Ewald) is totally baseless (Then.). Winer (R-W. II:392): “In any other than a biblical writer, this difference would certainly not be regarded as proof of the composition of the Book from two narrations” Equally untenable is the attempt at harmonizing the two (Joseph, Ant. 6, 14, 7, some Rabbis, and especially S. Schmid) by saying that Saul had only wounded himself severely by falling on his sword, and received the death-stroke from the Amalekite; this contradicts the statement in 1 Samuel 31:1.—A careful comparison of the Amalekite’s account with the other shows that, although his statement about Israel’s defeat and the enemy’s pressing on Saul was true, he lied in saying that he killed Saul, in order to gain favor and a royal reward from David; so Theod, Brenz, Calov, Serar, Sankt, Cler, Mich, Winer, Then, Keil—[A. Clarke, Kitto, Bib. Com., Philippson reject the Amalekite’s story as a fabrication; Patrick and Gill seem to think it in general true, though distorted here and there; Wordsworth defends it (appealing to Josephus), taking it to be supplementary to the other—if it were not true, he asks, why did the Amalekite not deny it, when he saw that he was to be put to death for it? To this it may be replied, that no time was given him, or perhaps he did deny it, and his denial was disregarded. As for the diadem and bracelet, he might easily have picked them up before the Philistines came to strip the slain. His account of Saul’s death cannot well be harmonized with that of 1 Samuel31, and then he had an obvious motive for his story.—Tr.]

2 Samuel 1:11 sq. “Weeping and mourning aloud” and rending the garments on the breast were signs of grief and sorrow for the dead. See Genesis 37:34-35; Genesis 50:1; 2 Samuel 3:32; 2 Samuel 3:34; Judges 11:35.—The whole body of soldiers took part in David’s deep grief. The Sept. adds at the end: “rent their clothes” as explanatory of the terse Heb. text. The numerous signs of sorrow here mentioned, rending the garments, mourning, weeping, fasting (“till evening”) exhibit the greatness of David’s sincere grief. The order of mention of the objects of the lamentation is the inverse of that in 2 Samuel 1:4 : Saul, Jonathan, the people. His grief for Saul shows his heart to be free from bitterness, revenge and malignant joy; he mourns the fall of the anointed of the Lord. His heart must have been filled with deep sorrow for the death of Jonathan, whom he had not seen since the incident recorded in 1 Samuel 23:18. He laments over the slain and scattered people for the misery and ignominy that had befallen them through defeat by the uncircumcised heathen. He calls them “the people of the Lord” with special reference to their position as a people chosen by the Lord from all nations, thus His special property by a holy covenant, whose wars against foreign nations, out of whom he had separated them, are the Lord’s wars, comp. 1 Samuel 25:28. The house of Israel denotes the people as a unit, with reference to their common descent. The people of the Lord was in this battle abandoned by the Lord; the house of Israel as a whole and in all its parts was cast down.—[On the alleged difficulty in the text of the latter part of this verse see “Text, and Gram.”—Tr.]

2 Samuel 1:13 sq. To David’s question concerning his origin the young man answers that “he is the son of an Amalekite stranger,” that Isaiah, of an Amalekite who had settled in Israel[FN29]

2 Samuel 1:14. From the same reverence for the sacred life of Saul that he showed before in the words: “I will not lay my hand on my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed” ( 1 Samuel 24:11), springs David’s indignant question to the Amalekite: How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thy hand against the Lord’s anointed?—Comp. 1 Samuel 31:4 where the armor-bearer “fears” to do such a thing. This question supposes that the young Prayer of Manasseh, as a foreigner at home in Israel and living under its law, might very well know what a crime he committed in laying his hand on the king’s person, even at the king’s request. The question shows beyond doubt that David took his account to be true, and his indignation at the crime shows how far he was from any sort of revenge against the (in his eyes) sacred person of Saul.

2 Samuel 1:15. David causes the Amalekite to be straightway slain for his self-avowed crime. He slays him not merely that, after the Amalekite has confessed the regicide, he (David) may not be supposed to countenance such a crime, and especially not Saul’s murder (Thenius), but he punishes him for his crime against the person of the anointed of the Lord, and that on the ground of his right as the king now chosen and appointed by the Lord. It was a theocratic, not a political act, as Glericus think (“it is to be attributed to political reasons”), and so Thenius and other moderns.

2 Samuel 1:16. While the preparations for the execution of the judgment are going on, David pronounces the formal sentence of capital punishment: Thy blood[FN30] be on thy head.—“Thou hast brought this bloody punishment on thyself, having confessed thy crime”—For thy mouth hath testified against thee—The ground of the sentence of death was the statement of the Amalekite himself; he affirmed that the ornaments he brought were taken from the body of Saul, designing thus to prove that Saul had been killed by his hand, and hoping to receive a rich reward. See 2 Samuel 4:10.—Theodoret remarks that it was becoming that the “Prophet and King” should be astonished at this deed, but not blame it.—[It was so obvious and dreadful a crime that he could only express astonishment at it.—Tr.]—What David himself with holy horror had refused to do, namely, to lay hands on Saul’s sacred person, this murderer (so it seemed to him) had done.—[The Commentators refer to the fact that the law requiring two witnesses in a death-sentence was here set aside from the peculiarity of the circumstances. There is no trace of special anger and haste because of the nationality of the supposed regicide; but the execution may without difficulty be regarded as having a political character—not that David, looking to his own accession to the throne, wished to ward off such attempts against himself, or to curry favor with Saul’s friends, but that, regarding himself as in fact the highest political authority in the land, he dispensed punishment for a notorious and shocking political crime. It can hardly be suspected (Philippson) from the words: “thy mouth hath witnessed against thee,” that “David saw through the Amalekite” Against the allegation that David’s conduct here was hypocritical, Chandler cites the cases of Alexander weeping over Darius, Scipio over Carthage, Caesar over Pompey, and Augustus over Antony.—Tr.]

II. David’s elegy. 2 Samuel 1:17-27

2 Samuel 1:17. And David sang this lament.—That David was the author of this elegy is proved by this history, as well as by the vigor of the song and its harmony with David’s situation and feeling. For the general defeat of Israel David and his men expressed their sorrow as is above related. Here follows the voice of mourning from David’s heart especially over Saul and Jonathan, the deaths of both of whom must powerfully have moved him, though for different reasons.

2 Samuel 1:18. Two notices are prefixed to the Song: one as to its destination; the other as to its source. As respects its destination it is said: “and he said (commanded) to teach it to the children of Judah,” they were to learn and practice it (comp. Deuteronomy 31:19; Psalm 60:1), probably that they might sing it in their military practice with the bow (Grot, Delitzsch in Herz. xii280). For קֶשֶׁת is best understood (from 2 Samuel 1:22) as the title: Song of the Bow.—[Eng. A. V. improperly supplies: “the use of.”—Tr.]—With all its notes of sorrow the whole Song has a warlike ground-tone, celebrating Saul and Jonathan as warriors, and “the bow was a principal weapon of the times, and used especially by Saul’s tribesmen, the Benjaminites, with great success, see 1 Chronicles 8:40; 1 Chronicles 12:2; 2 Chronicles 14:7; 2 Chronicles 17:17” (Keil). Böttcher connects “bow” with “children of Judah” and renders: “to teach the archers of Judah;” but against this restriction to Judah, Thenius rightly remarks that David’s purpose doubtless was that the whole people should preserve a faithful remembrance of Saul and Jonathan. Instead of “bow” (קֶשֶׁת). Then. and Ew. substitute adverbial accusatives, the former “heedfully” (קֶשֶׁב, Isaiah 21:7), the latter “exactly” (קשֶׁט). Against this see the admirable remarks of Böttcher.—[Böttcher points out that Thenius’ “heedfully” applies to hearing, and does not suit here, and that Ewald’s conjectured word means “truth,” not “correctness,” and further requires (if he write קשת) the substitution of the late Aramaic ת (in this word) for the Heb. ט. To regarding “Bow” as the title of the Song Böttcher objects that this ought in that case to be its first word; or, if the mention of the bow in 2 Samuel 1:22 justifies this title (as the second Sura of the Koran is called “The Cow” from the incidental story of Moses’ cow in it), the word should at least have the Art, and we should indeed expect “the song of the bow.” On the other hand we may refer to such titles as those of Psalm 22, 56, 45, 60. (Kitto). A new suggestion is made by Bib. Com., that there was in the Book of Jashar a collection of poems, in which special mention was made of the bow ( 2 Samuel 1:19-27; 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Numbers 21:27-30; Lamentations 2.; Lamentations 3; Genesis 49; Deuteronomy 32; perhaps Deuteronomy 33, etc.), that this collection was known as Kasheth (the bow), and that the author of 2 Sam. transferred this dirge from the Book of Jashar to his own pages with its title as follows: “For the children of Israel to learn by heart. Kasheth from the Book of Jashar;” the “and he said” must then be regarded as introducing the Song of Solomon, the title being a parenthesis. The objection to this rendering is the position of the “and he said,” which it is hard to attach to the dirge, and the way in which the Book of Jashar is referred to, which does not suit a title like those in the Psalm—So far no satisfactory translation has been given from the existing text, nor any satisfactory emendation suggested. The rendering of Erdmann is adopted as offering the fewest difficulties—Tr.]—The source whence the author drew this Song was “the Book of the Upright” (Sing.), or if the subst. (Jashar) be taken as collective, of the upright ones (Vulg. liber justorum). Comp. Joshua 10:13. It was in existence before the Books of Joshua and Samuel, and contained (judging from the two extracts here and in Joshua) a collection of Songs on specially remarkable events of the Israelite history, together with celebration of the prominent pious men, whose names were connected with these events (see Bleek, Introd.); Maurer: “songs in praise of worthy Israelites.”—[On the Book of Jashar or The Upright, the various opinions as to its origin and character (including Donaldson’s fanciful and unsound book), the two Rabbinical works of this name, the anonymous work of1625 (an English translation of which was published in New York in1840 by M. M. Noah; it abounds in fables, and was apparently the work of a Spanish Jew), and the “clumsy forgery” which appeared in England in 1751 under the name of the “Book of Jasher” (reprinted in1827 and in1833)—see Art. “Book of Jasher” in Smith’s Bib. Dict., and Gill’s Commentary in loco and on Joshua 10:13. Patrick holds the opinion that it was a book concerning the right art of making war (Jasher—right), and quotes Victorinus Strigelius, who says that it was “an ecclesiastical history like those of Eusebius and Theodoret.” The author has been surmised to be Gad or Nathan, inasmuch as no extract is given from the work later than the death of Saul. Dr. Erdmann states in the text the substance of what we know about it.—Tr.]

2 Samuel 1:19. The glory of Israel on thy heights slain!—This lament is the superscription of the whole song; herein David addresses “the people of the Lord, the house of Israel” ( 2 Samuel 1:12). “Israel” cannot be taken as Vocative, “O Israel” (Buns, Keil, et al. [Kitto, Stanley, Bib. Com.]), because then the expression “the glory” would stand too isolated and undefined, especially at the beginning of the song; we must therefore suppose it to be defined by the following word.—[Bib. Com., to avoid this difficulty, renders: “thy glory;” Chandler, Philippson and Cahen: “O glory of Israel,” which is easier as supplying an antecedent for the “thy heights;” but perhaps less suitable in the connection, where we should not so naturally expect a mere exclamation, and where the subst. verb could not with this translation be supplied. Still it is a quite possible rendering, and deserves consideration.—Tr.]—Some render the opening word (הַצְּבִי) “Gazelle” (De Wette, et al. [Kitto, Stanley]), and Ewald then refers this to Jonathan, who, he says (Thenius: “a high-handed way, in truth, of dealing with history”), was generally known among the warriors as “the Gazelle;” but this, apart from the absence in the song of any comparison with the gazelle, or any allusion to its swiftness and agility, is untenable simply because the song speaks throughout not of one hero (Jonathan), but of two (Saul and Jonathan). As the composition has the ring of a hero-song in honor of these two, who were in fact the hero-glory of Israel, we must render the word “glory, ornament.” The “heights,” on which these the “ornament of Israel” were slain, are the mountains of Gilboa, on which David looks as the scene of the tragic end of the two greatest heroes of Israel. At the outset of his song he laments the heavy loss which Israel suffered in noble, hero-power. This sorrowful lament is still more definitely expressed in the following words: “How are the heroes fallen!” Thrice it appears as the ground-tone of the whole song. Here at the beginning it introduces the lament for the two strong heroes, Saul and Jonathan ( 2 Samuel 1:20-24), which forms the greater part of the song; in 2 Samuel 1:25 it is the basis for the lament over Jonathan alone, the deeply loved friend. At the close ( 2 Samuel 1:27) it sounds out the third time, strengthened by a parallel exclamation, that the whole song as a hero-elegy may not merely “die away in a last sigh,” but close with an exclamation aloud of deepest grief over the loss of these great heroes.

2 Samuel 1:20. The two Philistine cities Gath and Askelon, as the most prominent, are named in the language of poetry, for the whole land, which they represent (Gath very near, Askelon at a distance on the sea). The singer will not have Israel’s great calamity known among the heathen [he did not know that the Philistines had possession of the bodies of Saul and his sons.—Tr.], for they are the “uncircumcised,” the enemies of Jehovah and of His people. The latter’s shame is already great enough in being overcome and trodden down by the uncircumcised nation; may it not be increased by Philistine songs of triumph over vanquished Israel.—Tell it not in Gath, so Micah 1:10. “The rejoicing of the daughters of the Philistines” refers to the common oriental custom of the celebration by the women and virgins with songs and dances of the heroic deeds and triumphal return of the men (see 1 Samuel 18:6).—David’s expression: “Tell it not,” etc., must be conceived and understood throughout according to its poetical significance: he wishes that Philistia may not learn of this defeat, that Israel may be spared the shame of becoming the object of the Philistines’ scornful joy over victory. In fact the defeat of Israel could not possibly remain unknown; news of it had already gone through the whole land ( 1 Samuel 31:9 sq.). It would be in contradiction with the poetical type to suppose (as Sack does) that David’s words are an exhortation to the men assembled about him on Philistine soil [at Ziklag], that they themselves at least should not announce the sad news to the enemy. Nor is 2 Samuel 1:21 to be taken as a real imprecation against Nature (Then.), but as a poetical image.

2 Samuel 1:21. Over against the exultant joy of victory of Israel’s enemies, which he would gladly be spared, David sets the attitude of mourning, in which he would behold the mountains of Gilboa, the scene of his heroes’ death-struggle: ye mountains in Gilboa, poetical for the usual prose-form: “mountains of Gilboa” ( 2 Samuel 1:6; 1 Samuel 31:1), the Preposition further defining the Stat. Const. (see on this construction Ew. § 289 b, Ges. § 116, 1).—[Others suppose, not so well, that Gilboa is here named as a tract of country.—Tr.]—Be there neither dew nor rain on you!—May you lack that which makes you green and fruitful, and dispenses fresh life. Waste and desert they were to lie, that their death might present forever a picture of the dreadful end of those that were slain there, and so Nature might, as it were, mourn for them.—And fields of first-fruits (be not on you).[FN31] The fields from which were taken the firstlings (as best), were the most fruitful. The expression therefore means: may these places be destitute (not only of fructifying dew and rain, but also) of the products of a fruitful soil, may there be here no fruitful fields whence might be gathered offerings of first-fruits. This is a poetical elaboration of the thought expressed in the figure of the dew and rain, and is by no means “meaningless” (Then.). There is no need for changing the text, as Thenius, for example, after Theodotion would read: “ye forests and mountains of death.”[FN32] Equally untenable is Böttcher’s conjecture (Aehrenlese, p24, and Neue Aehrenl, p139): “on the fields of Jarmuth,”[FN33] especially as “the name of the city in question [Jarmuth] is doubtful, and its location near Gilboa arbitrary” (Then.). The translation “lofty fields” (campi editi, Cler, Maur.) is opposed to the usual meaning of the Heb. word (תְּרוּמות), is here without special significance, and requires too much to be supplied in order to connect it with the preceding: “and on you, ye lofty fields,” come neither dew nor rain.—For there is defiled the shield of the heroes, defiled with dust and blood, not “cast away” (Vulg.).—[Eng. A. V.: “vilely cast away,” combining, not badly, the two shades of meaning of the word.—Tr.]—The shield of Saul is specially mentioned as the military emblem of the leader of the army.—Not anointed with oil. This is not an explanation of the words “defiled is Saul’s shield,” as the Vulg. has it: “the shield of Saul, as if it were not anointed with oil,” nor a reference to Saul: “as if he were not anointed,” 1 Samuel 10:1 sq. (J. H. Michaelis, S. Schmid, Dathe, et al. [Eng. A. V.]), the “as if” and the reference to the royal anointing being both wrongly introduced; but it expresses the fact that the shield is not “anointed with oil,” as was usually done to the metallic shield (מָגֵן), in order to clean and polish it when it was stained with blood and defiled by dirt and rust (see the description in Isaiah 21:5). In the individualizing poetical language the defiled and uncleansed shields denote the unfitness for war and the helplessness of the glory of Israel lying powerless in dust and blood. If the shield of Israel lack its ornament and grace, so mayst thou also, O field of slaughter, lack thine, mourn thou waste and dreary! Let Nature respond to the shame and wretchedness of the people.

2 Samuel 1:22 celebrates the bravery of the two heroes, which impelled them ever onward to victory, that thus the contrast to their sad end may come out more prominently. To Jonathan is assigned the bow (comp. 1 Samuel 18:4; 1 Samuel 20:20), to Saul the sword. They thus represent the weapon-power (“Wehr und Waffen[FN34]) of the whole people. The sword, and in a sort the arrow, drinks the blood and devours the flesh. This frequent poetical conception ( 2 Samuel 2:26; Deuteronomy 32:42; Isaiah 1:20; Isaiah 34:6; Jeremiah 2:30; Jeremiah 46:10) mingles in the words: Saul’s sword returned not empty [Jonathan’s bow turned not back]; these heroes were accustomed to gain complete victory, to overthrow and destroy all opposing power (comp. 1 Samuel 14:15).

2 Samuel 1:23. The singer sets forth how the two met death not only together, but also in a deep, cordial union of war-comradeship. They were “beloved” and “lovely, amiable,” the latter quality being the cause of the former; important data for the characterization of the two men, both adjectives being referred to each. Comp. the corresponding description of Saul in 1 Samuel 9:2 sq. and 1 Samuel 10:24. David here looks at him only in the light of his God-given noble endowments and qualities, and praises them, turning his glance away (in view of his death) from the time during which the “evil spirit” had darkened and destroyed his nobility, and not thinking of the persecutions he himself had suffered.—In life and in death—not divided.[FN35]—On the one hand David here bears witness to the cordial love that Saul felt for his Song of Solomon, traces of which we find in 1 Samuel 19:6; 1 Samuel 20:2, though according to 1 Samuel 20:30 sq. the evil spirit in him burned in hot anger even against Jonathan. On the other hand David here praises the filial love of Jonathan, in which he remained true to his father in spite of the latter’s hatred and persecution of his friend, not permitting his friendship to diminish his filial piety. Equal in noble qualities of heart, bound together in life and death in cordial personal association, they had also the noblest heroic qualities in common: each was distinquished for eagle-like swiftness and agility ( Isaiah 40:31; Deuteronomy 28:49; Jeremiah 4:13; Lamentations 4:19; Habakkuk 1:8), for lion-like courage and strength ( 2 Samuel 17:10; Judges 14:18; Proverbs 30:30). How sorrowful, then, the loss!

2 Samuel 1:24. Saul’s gracious free-handedness in dividing out the booty of war. Scarlet-red, purple or crimson (שָׁנִי, Exodus 25:4; Judges 5:30; Proverbs 31:21).—With delights=in an amiable manner [or the “with” may=“and;” in scarlet and (other) delights.—Tr.].—To this costly clothing for women he added golden ornaments, brought along in the spoil of war. As the men are to mourn for the hero, so the women for the gracious king, who out of the booty of his battles has bestowed on them costly adornment.—[The poetical power of this appeal to the women of Israel, beautiful in itself, is heightened when we recollect that these women had once sung the war-praises of Saul, and were therefore the admirers of his prowess as well as the grateful recipients of his bounty. Womanly tenderness is to mourn the fallen hero, whom in his life womanly enthusiasm had celebrated.—Tr.]

2 Samuel 1:25-26. The special lamentation for Jonathan. 2 Samuel 1:25. The first part is a repetition of the lamentation in 2 Samuel 1:19 b with the addition: in the midst of the battle. Then follows first the lamentation over the fact of his death: Jonathan on thy heights slain, comp. 2 Samuel 1:19 a. David mentions him alone, in order to bemoan what he had lost in him, the dearly-loved friend. His union of heart with his friend differences this lament sharply from the foregoing over him and Saul as heroes.—I am distressed, etc., thus standing first indicates that David’s heart was deeply moved, and utterly given up to grief. My brother—the expression of the cordial brotherly love that united them.

Very pleasant wast thou to me must be understood as setting forth the deep impression that Jonathan made on him by his faithful, absorbing love. On this account, and because of the expression: “I am distressed,” the “thy love” can only = “thy love to me,” not “my love to thee” (Bunsen). “David mourns for him not because he himself loved him, but because he has lost him” (Then.). “More wonderful, extraordinary”[FN36] than the love of women, the love that women bear—thus he sets forth the deep devotion of Jonathan’s love, like that which is peculiar to women, and is the basis of the completest loving union between man and woman. Theodoret; “As they that are married are made one flesh by their union, so they that love one another perfectly are made one in soul by their disposition of mind.” In these words David has not only reared to Jonathan a monument of friendship, but also borne testimony to that highest ideal of friendship (realized in him), which in the Old Testament was possible only on the basis of a common covenant of heart with the living God.

2 Samuel 1:27. The climacteric expression of sorrow after this declaration of highest loss in Jonathan’s love: How are the heroes fallen! At this culmination of grief the lament again sounds the key-note of the whole, and returns in conclusion to its chief object, the sorrow for the hero-glory of Israel destroyed in Saul and Jonathan. For the concluding words: The weapons of war are perished, refer not to materials of war (Vulg, De Wette, Böttcher, al.). This would be a psychologically inconceivable transition, in sharpest contrast with the lofty tone of the Song of Solomon, from the deepest, tenderest, innermost sorrow of heart for what the singer and all Israel had lost in these two heroes, to a lament which, as Thenius admirably says, a Napoleon might have made, but not a David. The “weapons of war” are the heroes considered as instruments of battle and war; comp. Isaiah 13:5; Acts 9:15 (σκεν͂ος). [The exquisite beauty of this Ode has been noted by all commentators. The artistic skill with which its successive thoughts are introduced is equal to the beauty and passionate tenderness of the thoughts themselves. The lament over Israel’s glory slain—the picture of exulting foes—the imprecation on the spot of ground that witnessed and, as it were, permitted the misfortune—the praise of the military exploits of the heroes, their oneness, their strength—the appeal to the women—the picture of Jonathan’s deep and faithful love—these are all exquisitely expressed and connected; the ode has unity, and yet, short as it Isaiah, has wonderful variety.—It is to be observed that the divine name does not occur in the Song of Solomon, nor does it contain any theocratic or religious thought. There is no reference to Jehovah’s wrath, no prayer for Jehovah’s interposition, no expression of resignation to the divine will. Whatever David may have thought of these things, he here says nothing about them. The elegy, therefore (though noble in feeling), is not religious; it is a national Song of Solomon, as the title seems to indicate, and is here chronicled by the historian as the speech of Jotham ( Judges 9.) or that of Tertullus ( Acts 24.) is recorded—a gem of ancient Hebrew poetry, not only pleasing as poetry, but instructive in the light that it throws on the personages and events of the time.—Tr.]

HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL

1. David’s noble, kingly disposition is here splendidly attested in the temptation that the announcement of Saul’s death brought him. Suddenly he sees himself freed from the persistent murderous persecutions of Saul, and the way open for his accession to the long-promised royal power and honor; how easily might his heart have abandoned itself, if not to malicious joy, at any rate to joy at God’s righteous judgment on his enemy, and the restoration of quiet in his life and peace in his land! How human and natural it would seem if he expressed satisfaction at Saul’s end and its results for himself! Instead of this we see in David’s words and conduct in the presence of this terrible catastrophe the noblest and purest unselfishness, and concern only for the sacred interests of Israel as the people of the Lord. Looking altogether away from himself and his royal calling, he immerses himself with his men in mourning for the national calamity, for the downfall of the army of the Lord, for the violation done to the Lord’s honor in the defeat of His people. He shows deep, true sorrow for Saul’s death, looking away from all that Saul had done to him, and taking note only of what he was for Israel in his royal calling as Anointed of the Lord. Further, he without envy celebrates him as the glory of Israel in the elegy, which contemplates Saul only as military hero, but as such from the theocratic point of view in his quality of leader of the people and army of the Lord. As he acted theocratically with perfect justice in slaying in holy anger the Amalekite as the murderer of the Lord’s anointed, giving no room in his heart to revenge, so he stands on the summit of the theocratic view, when in his elegy he celebrates Saul as the national hero and consecrated leader of Israel, being wholly free from bitterness and anger at the suffering that Saul had so long inflicted on him. All selfish feeling vanishes, in the presence of the slaughtered people and the slain king, in the general theocratic concern for Israel and in the consciousness of the Lord’s control over His people with the army and its leaders. “David’s lament over Saul and Jonathan is the consecration of completion that is poured out over the attestation of his royal disposition” (Baumgarten). It is “a monument of his noble unrevengeful spirit. He who can so speak of the enemy who has for years sought his life and inflicted on his soul wounds that never heal, can certainly not be charged with revenge” (Hengst, 4:298 sq.).

2. While he thus exhibits a noble, high-hearted disposition, David also presents an example of true love of enemies, being not merely free from all feeling of revenge in the heart, making no complaint or accusation concerning the wrong done him, uttering no word of joy over the judgment that has befallen his enemy, but mourning his fall as that of a friend, avenging in holy anger the insult offered to God in his person, and dwelling with just recognition and praise on the good with which God has endowed him.

3. As David did, so must every servant of God keep the good and righteous cause for which he fights and suffers (whether it be merely personal, or also a matter of God’s kingdom) free and pure from the self-seeking that mingles therewith under the pretence of furthering and completing it, that he may not set himself at variance with God’s holy will, whose wise direction prepares right ways for it, nor with the ends of his kingdom which can never be furthered by sinful means. He who employs the sin of the world for a cause good and holy in itself, so as to make himself partaker of this sin, treads the path of falsehood and destruction, and desecrates the name and the aims of the kingdom of God.

4. Sincere love of enemies has its root in a heart purified from selfishness and in fellowship with the living God, which seeks not its own, but looks only to God’s love and honor. For God’s sake the truly God-fearing man loves his enemy. And so love to enemies shows itself in such main features as are here described: in the putting away of all revengeful feeling, in the refraining from a strictly justifiable condemnation in view of God’s completed judgment, in silence of heart and mouth before God and man as to the evil that the enemy has done, in covering the sin that the Lord has visited or will visit, in recognizing what was good and praise-worthy in the enemy, and what he was and what he accomplished by God’s will and endowment for his kingdom, in praising the name of God for all whereby the Lord even in the person and life of the enemy has maintained His honor and exhibited His merciful and long-suffering love.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Wonderful is God’s management in the life of His people. When through the entanglement of their life with the world their anxieties and afflictions have risen highest, the Lord suddenly causes things to take a turn that puts an end to all need and conflict, and introduces a thoroughgoing help that brings all temptations and trials of faith to a wholesome conclusion.—To those who are distinguished in the kingdom of God as specially called and favored instruments of His grace, falsehood and hypocrisy draw near most pressingly and corruptingly in the guise of humility and self-abasement.—Children of God should not betake themselves to the ways of unrighteousness and self-will, in order to attain the goal set up for them; they can reach this only through decided rejection of the means offered and commended to them by the tempting world.—The God-fearing man sees in the misfortune that strikes his enemy the judicial righteousness of God, and accordingly lets no feeling of revenge or of rejoicing at injury to others gain a place in his heart, and is humbly silent when the Lord speaks. Rather does he mourn over the fall of his opponent, and over the damage that has been done not only to the opponent, but to the common good cause.—Love to an enemy is righteous in that it recognizes the good in an opponent without envy and without reserve, and thankfully recognizes what God has done in his case according to His own goodness and mercy.—Even amid the most painful experiences we should be quick to discern the stamp of divine nobility in an immortal human soul.—When we behold God’s hand righteously smiting men from whom as our persecutors and foes we have had to suffer for the sake of God’s cause and kingdom, we should keep our eyes open against the sin which wishes to anticipate God’s will and assail the life of our opposers: we should by word and deed testify in holy wrath against conduct so offensive to God.

2 Samuel 1:1 sq. Schlier: God the Lord has for every one of us also fixed His aim, and though it be no royal crown that is destined for us, yet about us all God has long ago formed His special plan. The way to reach this end is the way of duty, the way of quiet, faithful obedience to God’s will. In such a way we come to the goal. Think of David, to whom the crown was promised, and who in order to obtain it did absolutely nothing else than his duty, and how beautifully did David reach the goal! without his asking, the crown was laid at his feet.

2 Samuel 1:2. Cramer: Hypocrites turn their cloak according to the wind, and worship the rising more than the setting sun; but He who deals hypocritically with his neighbor prepares a net for his own feet ( Proverbs 29:5);

2 Samuel 1:3. Osiander: Those who wish to deceive other people mix truth and falsehood together, in order that they may sell one along with the other, like good and bad wares ( James 3:10-12).

[ 2 Samuel 1:10. Hall: Worldly minds think no man can be of any other than their own diet; and because they find the respects of self-love, and private profit, so strongly prevailing with themselves, they cannot conceive how these should be capable of a repulse from others.—Henry: David had been long waiting for the crown, and now it is brought him by an Amalekite. See how God can serve His own purpose of kindness to His people, even by designing men, who aim at nothing but to set up themselves.—Tr.]

2 Samuel 1:11-12. For him who has the Holy Spirit it is not impossible to love his enemies.—Schlier: Who among us has such a persecutor as David had in Saul? What we have in the worst case is one or another opposer, who injures us or hurts our feelings. And yet how full we are of hate! and even if we do our opposer no evil, how glad we are when evil befalls him! Of this we will be ashamed, we will learn better the love of enemies. We are Christians, and as Christians have double cause to follow Him who for us, His enemies, gave up His life.—F. W. Krummacher: O how it should shame us, already in the days of the Old Testament to meet with a love of enemies such as here manifests itself in David, while it must with sincerity, truth and candor be confessed that among us, though we know the revelation of love to sinners in Christ, it belongs, alas! to the rarest pearls.

2 Samuel 1:16. It was indignation at such an outrage when David caused the regicide to be slain, and such indignation proceeded from fear of God, and at such a moment there was nothing like calculating prudence to be found in David. But in truth the fear of the Lord is always at the same time true prudence.—[David’s course in this matter was the best policy for him; but we have no right to conclude from that fact that he was led to it by considerations of policy. He had himself shown, on an occasion of great temptation ( 1 Samuel 24:6), that reverence for the Lord’s anointed of which he here speaks. The fact that “honesty is the best policy” will not of itself alone make a man honest; but neither does it prevent a man’s being honest, or give us a right to suspect a good man’s motives.—Tr.]

2 Samuel 1:17. S. Schmid: When a man dies, it is for the first time seen how people have been disposed towards him during his life.

2 Samuel 1:20. Krummacher: The word: “Tell it not in Gath,” etc., has since become a proverb in believing circles. It is often heard when one of their number has not guarded his feet, and has somewhere given offence. Would that this call were but more faithfully lived up to than is for the most part the case! Would that the honor of the spiritual Zion lay everywhere as near the heart of the children of the kingdom as to David’s heart that of the earthly Zion! But how often it happens that they are even zealous to uncover the nakedness of their brethren, and by this renewal of Ham’s offence become traitors in the Church which Christ has purchased with His blood. They thus make themselves partakers in the guilt of calumniating the gospel, in that they open the way for it by their perhaps thoroughly malicious tale-telling—Schlier: Do but let us once learn to love our fellow- Prayer of Manasseh, not for the sake of what he is or deserves, but for the Lord’s sake who demands it of us; then shall we, even when we suffer injustice, for all that not be wanting in love, but shall understand the blessed art of showing love even where we find no love! How it ought to shame us though that David, after long banishment and tribulation, feels nothing at the death of Saul but mourning and lamentation.—Where office and calling does not otherwise demand, we should be silent as to the evil done by a dead Prayer of Manasseh, especially when it was a prince or a king; love should cover all that, should find no joy m saying much of the faults of others. But it should be to us a rightful concern and a holy joy to bring to light the good that another has done.—[“De mortuis nil nisi bonum.”—Tr.]

[ 2 Samuel 1:23. How could David sincerely speak thus? There came back to him now the recollection of those bright days when he dwelt peacefully as Saul’s son and Jonathan’s brother, and his heart melted into tenderness as he recalled the amiable traits which not only his dear friend Jonathan, but even Saul in his better moments, had manifested. Eulogies over the dead often seem insincere or exaggerated to those who know not the memories awakened.

2 Samuel 1:26. To say, as is sometimes done, that the Scriptures speak of the love of Christ as “passing the love of women,” is utterly unwarrantable “accommodation.”—Tr.]

[ 2 Samuel 1:1-16. A cunning schemer failing and perishing; 1) Amid bloodshed and mortal agony he coolly lays a deep scheme to promote his own interest2) He makes a cunning mixture of truth and falsehood (David could not know, and we cannot tell, just how much of it was true)—as deep schemers usually do3) He calculates on the narrow selfishness of human nature—commonly a very safe basis of calculation4) He is foiled by encountering such generosity, loyalty and justice as he has not been used to and did not look for ( 2 Samuel 1:11-15). The shrewdest schemers sometimes mistake their Prayer of Manasseh 5) His plan issues in benefit to another, but only ruin to himself. In this world which so abounds in selfish schemers and tempters there is yet a grace that can sustain and a Providence that overrules.—Tr.]

[ 2 Samuel 1:19-27 : Henry: The excellent spirit which David here shows: 1) Very generous to his enemy, Saul; a) conceals his faults, b) praises what is worthy2) Very grateful to Jonathan, his sworn friend; a) nothing more delightful in this world than a true friend, b) nothing more distressful than the loss of such a friend3) Deeply concerned for the honor of God ( 2 Samuel 1:20). 4) Deeply concerned for the public welfare. The beauty of Israel slain ( 2 Samuel 1:19), the mighty fallen ( 2 Samuel 1:19; 2 Samuel 1:25; 2 Samuel 1:27).—Tr.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - 2 Samuel 1:1. Cahen and Wordsworth regard this phrase as connecting the Second Book with the first; but it seems to be nothing more than the ordinary formula of historical narrative, referring to 1 Samuel31. So begins 2 Samuel2of 2 Sam. There is no trace here of a division of “Samuel” into two Books.—Tr.]

FN#2 - 2 Samuel 1:1. Some MSS. and EDD. read הָעֲמָלֵקִי, the usual form. Whether the present Heb. text (with the Art.) is impossible (Wellh.) may be considered doubtful. A final Yod may, however, have fallen out from similarity to the following Waw.—Tr.]

FN#3 - 2 Samuel 1:2. Thenius thinks that the Sept. reading: “from the people of (מֵעַם) Saul” suits the connection as well as the Heb.; against which Wellhausen remarks that the Greek reading contradicts 2 Samuel 1:6, from which it appears that the Amalekite did not belong to the army. This reason of Wellh. does not seem decisive (for in 2 Samuel 1:3 he seems to say, that he had been in the army); but the Heb. phrase is more natural than the Greek.—Tr.]

FN#4 - 2 Samuel 1:2. בְּגָדָיו, the word for civilian dress, not military vestment (מַד) as in 1 Samuel 4:12; Judges 3:16 (Bib. Com.). This would so far make against the supposition that he was a soldier.—Tr.]

FN#5 - 2 Samuel 1:3. The Impf. (תָּבוֹא) may represent the action as incomplete, = whence art thou now engaged in coming?—Tr.]

FN#6 - 2 Samuel 1:4. Sept.: What is this affair? that Isaiah, What is the matter? = מַה־זֶּה הַדָּבָר (Wellh.), which is not as good as the Heb. text. Syr.: “what is the affair?”—Tr.]

FN#7 - 2 Samuel 1:4. The אֲשֶׁר here = ὄτι, introducing a remark as oratio indirecta (Then. and Erdmann: = “namely”), and we might render: and he said, that the people were fled and … fallen, etc. (so Philippson); but “that” with orat. directa (as in Eng. A. V.) is not Eng. idiom.—Tr.]

FN#8 - 2 Samuel 1:4. This “also … also” is not a very good rendering of the Heb. גַּם ... גַּם, since it does not clearly bring out the collocation and climax in the two clauses. On the other hand Erdmann’s rendering: “not only are many of the people dead, but also Saul and Jonathan are dead,” makes a sharper contrast than the Heb. expresses. Perhaps the sense would be more exactly given by translating: “the people fled, and moreover many are dead, and moreover Saul,” etc—Tr.]

FN#9 - 2 Samuel 1:5. Lit: that Saul is dead, and Jonathan his son? The Syr. has: “David said to the young Prayer of Manasseh, Tell me how died Saul and Jonathan his son?” a reading which seems to have nothing for it. The repetition of the descriptive phrase: “that told him” = “his informant,” is in accordance with the ancient manner of writing; compare the standing epithets of the Homeric gods and heroes—Tr.]

FN#10 - 2 Samuel 1:6. Lit: “possessors of horses,” where the last word פָרָשׁ is the charger or war-horse as distinguished from the ordinary horse (סוּם). The Chald. translates the first word (בַּעֲלֵי) “army,” which is a loose and inaccurate rendering. Wellhausen, regarding the Heb. phrase as a strange one, has an ingenious supposition that there was originally to this פָרָשִׁים of the text a correction בַּעֲלֵי קֶשֶׁת “possessors of bows,” of which the first word got into the text here, and the second (קֶשֶׁת) into 2 Samuel 1:18, to the vexation of interpreters. Our phrase, though it occurs here only, is perhaps possible, but the בעלי is probably an early insertion—Tr.]

FN#11 - 2 Samuel 1:9. עָמַר עַו. Instead of “stand upon” = “stand against,” some (Gesen, Philippson, Cahen, Erdmann) render “stand by,” = “come near, approach.” The objection to this latter rendering is that the verb means always “stand” or “make a stand,” as in the passages cited by Cahen, Daniel 12:1, Michael stands by (on behalf of) the people, Esther 8:11, the Jews make a stand for their lives. Here we should expect a verb of motion: “come near and slay me,” as in Jeremiah 7:10; Jeremiah 17:9. It is better, therefore, to adopt the sense of rising up, standing against, or to use the phrase “stand on” made familiar by the English Authorized Version.—Tr.]

FN#12 - 2 Samuel 1:9. So Aq. ( σφιγκτήρ) and probably Syr. (צוּרֹנֹא, rendered badly in Walton's Polyg. caligines. Castellus gives vertigo, and J. D. Michaelis spasmus), and so most moderns. See Gesenius, Thesaur. s. v.—The last clause of the verse is literally: “for all yet is my life in me,” which is given by Saul as the reason why the young man should slay him—Tr.]

FN#13 - 2 Samuel 1:10. So Sym. and Theod. Aquila has ἁφορισμα from the ground-meaning of the stem נזר, “to set apart,” perhaps regarding the diadem as that which especially characterizes and sets apart a king (Schleusner)—Wellh. thinks that the Art. is necessary to אֶצְעָדָה.—Tr.]

FN#14 - 2 Samuel 1:12. Sept.: “for the people of Judah and for the house of Israel,” the other VSS. as the Heb. Wellh. thinks “people of Judah” the true text-reading, but supposes that this may be a corruption of “people of Jahveh,” and that it called forth the addition “house of Israel.” But, on the other hand, the Sept. reading looks like an attempt to smooth away a supposed difficulty, and the Heb. text gives a clear and deeply theocratic sense, which is well brought out by Then. and Erdmann. The Synopsis Criticorum and Wellh. are wrong in saying that “people of Jahveh” and “house of Israel” are identical expressions.—Tr.]

FN#15 - 2 Samuel 1:13. Or: “an Amalekite stranger.” Aq. προσηλύτου, and so Gill.—Tr.]

FN#16 - 2 Samuel 1:16. The text has the Plu, the Sing. is found in many MSS. (De Rossi) and in Qeri, apparently as if the Plu. alone meant “blood-guiltiness.” But in the Heb. of O. T. both Sing. and Plu. are used in both senses, of “blood” and of “blood-guiltiness,” see Leviticus 17:4 for the latter sense in the Sing. The Sing. in the VSS. decides nothing for the Heb. text, because elsewhere (as Genesis 4:10) the Heb. Plu. = “blood” is given by the Sing. in Syr. and Chald. Wellh. thinks that this Qeri may have been determined by the use in 1 Kings 2:33; 1 Kings 2:37—After “saying” Sept. has ὄτι of orat. indirecta as in 2 Samuel 1:4, and De Rossi mentions that one MS. in his possession here has כִּי, which is perhaps a copyist's imitation of later usage—Tr.]

FN#17 - 2 Samuel 1:18. So Targ, Rashi and Gill. The discussion in the Exposition—Tr.]

FN#18 - 2 Samuel 1:19. Some take the ה as Interrog, and render: Is the beauty of Israel slain? etc.; but the interrogative form does not so well suit the connection. Others regard “Israel” as Vocative, on account of the following “thy,” which otherwise would have no antecedent; against this (otherwise most natural) rendering Isaiah, as Erdmann remarks, the hardness of the first word: The beauty, O Israel, is slain, etc. Bib. Com. therefore translates: Thy beauty, O Israel; but it is questionable whether the “thy” can lawfully be supplied. The rendering: “O beauty of Israel slain,” etc., is harsh, because we should expect “thou art slain” Perhaps the second of the above translations is the preferable—Tr.]

FN#19 - 2 Samuel 1:21. Erdmann and others render “defiled,” against which see Ges, Thes. s. v.—Tr.]

FN#20 - 2 Samuel 1:21. The Chald, and perhaps Syr, refers the anointing to Saul instead of to his shield. Eng. A. V. follows Vulg, which is undoubtedly wrong.—In some MSS. and printed EDD. מָשׁוּחַ is written instead of מָשִיחַ, and this is the more usual form; but in this poetical passage the less usual form is not unnatural. Instead of בְּלִי‍, “not,” some MSS. have בְּלּי = “implement:” “the shield of Saul, armor anointed with oil,” an improbable and unsupported reading—Tr.]

FN#21 - 2 Samuel 1:22. The reading חֶרֶב, “sword,” found in some MSS, is perhaps a mere textual error (found in no VS.), or perhaps a correction for dignity—Tr.]

FN#22 - 2 Samuel 1:23. These Adjectives have the Art. in the Hebrews, whence Then and Erdmann render: “Saul and Jonathan, the lovely and pleasant, in life and in death they were not divided.” Eng. A. V. is supported by all the ancient VSS. and by most modern commentators.—Tr.]

FN#23 - 2 Samuel 1:24. עַל instead of אֶל in some MSS.; but the change is unnecessary since אֶל = “in respect to, for.”—In מַלְבִּשְׁכֶם some codices substitute the fem. suffix כֶן, as in the last word of the verse; it is probable, however, that the masc. form was used (especially in poetry) for both genders.—Tr.]

FN#24 - 2 Samuel 1:25. Coislin.: εἰς θάνατον ἐτραυματίσθης, “thou wast wounded unto death,” a weak reading in comparison with the Heb. Text.—Tr.]

FN#25 - On the adverb use of the Inf. Abs. (הַרְבֵּה) see Ew, § 280 c.—On גַּם ... גַּם, see 1 Samuel 17:36 and Ew. § 359, 1.

FN#26 - The Heb. (וַיפֶן) means “turned his face, looked round,” which seems possible for a man lying on the ground, half-raised on a spear.—Tr.]

FN#27 - This insertion of עוֹד between בּל as nomen regens and the nomen rectum occurs in a few other cases, Job 27:3. See Ges, §114, 3 R1.

FN#28 - On the irreg. form (נְפְלוֹ) see Ew, § 255 d.

FN#29 - For Jewish traditions and fables on this whole history see Patrick, Gill, Philippson.—Tr.]

FN#30 - Read the Plu. of דָּם as in the Kethib [Germ. has Qeri, wrongly], since this alone is used in the sense of “blood-gniltiness.” [This is incorrect; see “Text. and Gram.”—Tr.]

FN#31 - As שְׂדֵי is Sing. (the Plu. is שְׂדוֹת), all explanations based on the Plu. are wrong. תְּרוּמָה is used of the bringing of first-fruits, Numbers 15:19 sq.; 2 Chronicles 31:10 [but also of other offerings.—Tr.]

FN#32 - יְעָרֵי וְחָרֵי מָוֶת [which is “unhebraic, and the first word ungrammatical” (Wellh.).—Tr.].

FN#33 - וּשְׂדוֹת יַרְמוּת.

FN#34 - A phrase from Luther’s famous hymn (Eine feste burg)—“shield and weapon.” For a translation see Carlyle's Miscellanies.—Tr.]

FN#35 - On the translation see “Text. and Gram.”—Tr.]

FN#36 - The form נִפְלְאַתָה as if from a verb ל׳׳ה [with אַ for אָ]. Ges, § 75, 21 a, Ew. § 194, b.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 1:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/2-samuel-1.html. 1857-84.

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Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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