David Learns of Saul’s Death
1After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag. 2On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s army camp. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect.
3“Where have you come from?” David asked.
“I escaped from the Israelite camp,” the man replied.
4“What happened?” David demanded. “Tell me how the battle went.”
The man replied, “Our entire army fled from the battle. Many of the men are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.”
5“How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?” David demanded of the young man.
6The man answered, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear with the enemy chariots and charioteers closing in on him. 7When he turned and saw me, he cried out for me to come to him. ‘How can I help?’ I asked him.
8“He responded, ‘Who are you?’
“‘I am an Amalekite,’ I told him.
9“Then he begged me, ‘Come over here and put me out of my misery, for I am in terrible pain and want to die.’
10“So I killed him,” the Amalekite told David, “for I knew he couldn’t live. Then I took his crown and his armband, and I have brought them here to you, my lord.”
11David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. 12They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day.
13Then David said to the young man who had brought the news, “Where are you from?”
And he replied, “I am a foreigner, an Amalekite, who lives in your land.”
14“Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?” David asked.
15Then David said to one of his men, “Kill him!” So the man thrust his sword into the Amalekite and killed him. 16“You have condemned yourself,” David said, “for you yourself confessed that you killed the Lord’s anointed one.”
David’s Song for Saul and Jonathan
17Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, 18and he commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in The Book of Jashar.*1:18 Or The Book of the Upright.
19Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!
Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
20Don’t announce the news in Gath,
don’t proclaim it in the streets of Ashkelon,
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice
and the pagans will laugh in triumph.
21O mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor fruitful fields producing offerings of grain.*1:21 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
For there the shield of the mighty heroes was defiled;
the shield of Saul will no longer be anointed with oil.
22The bow of Jonathan was powerful,
and the sword of Saul did its mighty work.
They shed the blood of their enemies
and pierced the bodies of mighty heroes.
23How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan!
They were together in life and in death.
They were swifter than eagles,
stronger than lions.
24O women of Israel, weep for Saul,
for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing,
in garments decorated with gold.
25Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies dead on the hills.
26How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan!
Oh, how much I loved you!
And your love for me was deep,
deeper than the love of women!
27Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.