The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Samuel

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

2 Samuel 1

2Sa 1:1

See Lesson, Josh--Samuel, typical history.

See Lesson, 1Sa / 2Sa, overview.

2Sa: "The book of David's reign covers a period of forty years. David was 30 when he commenced to reign (2Sa 4:5). It is generally believed that Samuel wrote 1Sa 1-24, and the balance was the work of Nathan and Gad (1Ch 29:29,30). The record of David's triumph comprises 2Sa 1-10. 2Sa 1-4 deals with David as king over Judah at Hebron. 2Sa 5-10, including civil war for 7 years, records the events when David ruled as king over Israel in Jerusalem. The second section outlines David's troubles: 2Sa 13-24. 2Sa 11,12 outlines David's sin. 2Sa 13-18: David's family troubles, from Amnon's sin to Absalom's revolt. 2Sa 19-24 outlines David's national troubles, from Sheba's revolt to the judgment of pestilence.

"It is a dramatic account of the rise, fall and rise again of Israel's greatest king, the man after God's own heart. The tender compassion, the fervent spirit, the godly attitude, are all contained within the record, and when blended with the Psalms, there is seen the whole man; a man acquainted with grief, tribulation and failure, and yet a man who manifests the true spirit of repentance and of fulness of love for the things of the Spirit. It is a record borne out of a true spiritual, godly friendship: that of his great friend Jonathan. No wonder the first ch records 'The Lamentation of the Bow', and concludes with the special testimony to his friend: 2Sa 1:25-27. It was a friendship which united two men upon the basis of the Truth; a mutual recognition of Yahweh's purpose, and a willingness to merge themselves to the honour of the divine Will" (GEM).

2Sa 1: "At long last, the man who had hounded David from pillar to post around Israel and indeed had driven him from Israel, was dead. He was the man who had made family life for David impossible. It is likely that David never again saw his mother and his father after he joined Saul's court. He was hounded out of Israel, and the most frightful impact on this faithful man was his lament to Saul, 'You have driven me from the heritage of the LORD, saying, Go, serve other gods!' His life hung on a thread on more than one occasion and he had been mercilessly harassed and ill-treated by Yahweh's anointed. Saul's death might have been an occasion for joy and relief. It might have been time to allow the huge grudge against Saul to be lifted. It might have been time to reward a bragging Amalekite. At last, life could return to normal.

"But instead... what a lament! 'The beauty of Israel is slain upon the high places! How are the mighty fallen!.. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Lovely? Pleasant? Saul???' David's magnanimity and love for one who had harassed, threatened and sought to kill him for so long is breathtakingly beautiful and immensely moving. He loved one who was undeserving of his love. In the face of condemnation, evil talk and murderous intent, David was not easily provoked and answered not a word. His love covered a multitude of sins.

"A fitting example of his greater Son. And a fitting reminder too of what it means to be a man or woman after God's own heart" (KC).

2Sa 1:2

A MAN ARRIVED FROM SAUL'S CAMP: Cp the messenger at Shiloh when ark was captured: 1Sa 4:12.

2Sa 1:6

I HAPPENED TO BE ON MOUNT GILBOA: How does one "happen to be" in the midst of a fierce battle? Clearly this is a fabrication; he is more likely a "vulture", or robber of corpses.

2Sa 1:10

This account contradicts 1Sa 31:4,5. This man is lying, thinking to curry David's favor (2Sa 4:10).

AND I TOOK THE CROWN THAT WAS ON HIS HEAD: Saul had been commanded to exterminate the Amalekites (1Sa 15:8-26). Now one of the them removes his royal crown. How ironic!

2Sa 1:11

AND ALL HIS MEN: The men showed the same sentiment as their leader.

2Sa 1:12

JONATHAN... HOUSE OF ISRAEL: Twofold mourning: for the true saints and for the nation of Israel.

2Sa 1:13

THE SON OF AN ALIEN, AN AMALEKITE: But prob one living in Israel, who presumably served the Lord and His Anointed (v 14).

2Sa 1:14

David could not be an accomplice to such a deed.

2Sa 1:16

YOUR BLOOD BY ON YOUR OWN HEAD: 'May the blood you have shed be on you too!'

2Sa 1:17

Vv 17-27: David's authentic grief: "Love your enemy". His allegiance to the LORD's Anointed. Cp Jesus, who wept over the Jerusalem that was about to crucify him (Mat 23:37-39). (But note also that the song begins and ends esp with Jonathan.)

2Sa 1:18

THIS LAMENT OF THE BOW: Not "the use of the bow" (as in KJV).

THE BOOK OF JASHAR: Cp Jos 10:13. A poetic book of Israel's history. "Jashar" = Israel (cp Jeshurun: Deu 32:15).

2Sa 1:19

HOW: Heb "eyek": an interjection of sorrow, surprise. Sw vv 25,27; Lam 1:1; 2:1; 4:1.

2Sa 1:21

See Lesson, Double negative, Hebrew.

DEFILED: "Cast away" or "rejected", as many soldiers fled away in disgrace.

NO LONGER RUBBED WITH OIL: Not greased with oil in preparation for battle. And, by implication, Saul himself -- once anointed by Samuel -- now no longed the Anointed of the LORD.

2Sa 1:23

LOVED: Heb "ahab".

GRACIOUS: Heb "nayim": beautiful, sweet (cp v 26).

2Sa 1:24

O DAUGHTERS OF ISRAEL: Who would go out to welcome home the warriors.

2Sa 1:26

YOUR LOVE FOR ME WAS WONDERFUL: Jonathan's wonderful self-denial and loyalty to the Lord's new Anointed, David, when he might have himself expected to have a throne: 1Sa 18:1,3,4. "He must increase; I must decrease" (cp Joh 3:29,30).

MORE WONDERFUL THAN THAT OF WOMEN: "David's further statement that Jonathan's 'love' for him was 'more wonderful than that of women,' although occasionally (and perversely) understood in a homosexual sense, should rather be understood to have covenantal connotations, 'love' in such contexts meaning 'covenantal/political loyalty' (see comment on 1Sa 18:1-4...). Indeed, the Hebrew word for 'love' is translated 'friendship' in a similar context (Psa 109:4-5).

"The Hebrew roots underlying the words 'dear' and 'love' in v 26 are repeated from v 23 but in reverse order ('loved and gracious'). 'The first word bespeaks physical attraction, a trait [Jonathan] shared with David himself (cf 1Sa 16:12). The second word expresses an elemental devotion, a devotion he shared distinctively with David. Taken together the two words articulate a peculiar and precious bonding with David' (Brueggemann)" (EBC).

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