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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
2 Samuel 1

 

 

Verses 1-16

2 Samuel 1:1-16. David Receives the News of Saul's Death.—The account of the death of Saul told by the fugitive here is different from that in 1 Samuel 31. A common explanation is that the fugitive falsely represented himself as the slayer of Saul, in the hope of receiving a reward from David. But it is now widely held that here also we have a blending of two documents: 2 Samuel 1:1-4; 2 Samuel 1:11 f. are from the same document (J) as the bulk of 1 Samuel 25-31; 2 Samuel 1:6-10, 1 Samuel 1:13-16 are from another source which may be fairly early. 1 Samuel 1:5 is inserted by an editor to combine the two accounts.

2 Samuel 1:1-5. A fugitive Israelite (?) from Saul's camp brings David the news of the disaster.

2 Samuel 1:6-10. An Amalekite tells how, seeing Saul closely pursued by chariots and horsemen, he slew him at his own request, and took his crown and armlet, and brought them to David.

2 Samuel 1:11 f. David and his men rend their clothes and fast till evening.

2 Samuel 1:12. and for the people of Yahweh: possibly, the army. LXX, "people of Judah." The clause may be an editorial insertion.

2 Samuel 1:13-16. David asks the messenger who he is. He replies: an Amalekite, the son of a ger, or foreigner settled as a dependent among the Israelites (Leviticus 17:8 f.*, Deuteronomy 1:16*, p 110). David has him executed (cf. 2 Samuel 4:9).


Verses 17-27

2 Samuel 1:17-27. David's Lament over Saul and Jonathan.—This poem is almost universally accepted as the work of David. It was included in the Book of Jashar (Joshua 10:12 ff., p. 45), and probably borrowed from that book by the author of one of the documents from which Samuel was composed (p. 273).

"Let the evil tidings be kept from the Philistines, lest they triumph over Israel. May Gilboa be accursed. Saul and Jonathan were mighty warriors, united in life and death. Let the Israelite women lament them. Alas for Jonathan."

2 Samuel 1:18. he bade them . . . bow: the RV insertion of "the song of" represents a theory that "The Bow" was the title of the poem: this is hardly likely to be correct. Probably the text is corrupt. The favourite explanation is that 2 Samuel 1:18 a contains a corruption of the opening words of the poem. Eg., SBOT proposes the following reconstruction of 2 Samuel 1:18 f.:

"Behold it is written in the Book of Jashar.—And he said:

Think on calamity, O Judah!

Grieve, O Israel!

On thy heights are the slain;

How are the mighty fallen!"

2 Samuel 1:21. not anointed with oil: i.e. uncared for.

2 Samuel 1:25. Jonathan is slain upon thy high places: the text and rendering are uncertain; Cent.B, following Budde, proposes to restore 2 Samuel 1:25 thus:

How are the mighty fallen

In the midst of the battle!

Jonathan, my heart (?) by thy death

Is pierced through.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 1:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/2-samuel-1.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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