1 Samuel 30-31
David’s Wives Are Captured
30 Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire 2 and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. 3 And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. 5 David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
And David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 And David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.” 9 So David set out, and the six hundred men who were with him, and they came to the brook Besor, where those who were left behind stayed. 10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men. Two hundred stayed behind, who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor.
11 They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. And they gave him bread and he ate. They gave him water to drink, 12 and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. And when he had eaten, his spirit revived, for he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13 And David said to him, “To whom do you belong? And where are you from?” He said, “I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite, and my master left me behind because I fell sick three days ago. 14 We had made a raid against the Negeb of the Cherethites and against that which belongs to Judah and against the Negeb of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire.” 15 And David said to him, “Will you take me down to this band?” And he said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will take you down to this band.”
David Defeats the Amalekites
16 And when he had taken him down, behold, they were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17 And David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled. 18 David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought back all. 20 David also captured all the flocks and herds, and the people drove the livestock before him, and said, “This is David’s spoil.”
21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. And they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near to the people he greeted them. 22 Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.” 23 But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. 24 Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” 25 And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day.
26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the spoil to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, “Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the Lord.” 27 It was for those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negeb, in Jattir, 28 in Aroer, in Siphmoth, in Eshtemoa, 29 in Racal, in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, in the cities of the Kenites, 30 in Hormah, in Bor-ashan, in Athach, 31 in Hebron, for all the places where David and his men had roamed.
The Death of Saul
31 Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. 3 The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5 And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. 6 Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together. 7 And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those beyond the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled. And the Philistines came and lived in them.
The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11 But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days. [1]
Psalms 18, 121, 123-125, 128-130
The Lord Is My Rock and My Fortress
18 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who addressed the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:
1    I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2    The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3    I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
4    The cords of death encompassed me;
the torrents of destruction assailed me;
5    the cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6    In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
       From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
7    Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8    Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9    He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
10    He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11    He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
12    Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
13    The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
14    And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
15    Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
       at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
16    He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
17    He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
18    They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
19    He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
20    The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
21    For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22    For all his rules were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23    I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from my guilt.
24    So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25    With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
26    with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
27    For you save a humble people,
but the haughty eyes you bring down.
28    For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
29    For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30    This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
31    For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
32    the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
33    He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
34    He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35    You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
36    You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
37    I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
and did not turn back till they were consumed.
38    I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
they fell under my feet.
39    For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.
40    You made my enemies turn their backs to me,
and those who hated me I destroyed.
41    They cried for help, but there was none to save;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
42    I beat them fine as dust before the wind;
I cast them out like the mire of the streets.
43    You delivered me from strife with the people;
you made me the head of the nations;
people whom I had not known served me.
44    As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
foreigners came cringing to me.
45    Foreigners lost heart
and came trembling out of their fortresses.
46    The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
47    the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me,
48    who rescued me from my enemies;
yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
you delivered me from the man of violence.
49    For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing to your name.
50    Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever. [2]
My Help Comes from the Lord
121 A Song of Ascents.
1    I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2    My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3    He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4    Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5    The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6    The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7    The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8    The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore. [3]
Our Eyes Look to the Lord Our God
123 A Song of Ascents.
1    To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2    Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
       as the eyes of a maidservant
to the hand of her mistress,
       so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he has mercy upon us.
3    Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4    Our soul has had more than enough
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.
Our Help Is in the Name of the Lord
124 A Song of Ascents. Of David.
1    If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—
let Israel now say—
2    if it had not been the Lord who was on our side
when people rose up against us,
3    then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
4    then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
5    then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
6    Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
7    We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
       the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!
8    Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
The Lord Surrounds His People
125 A Song of Ascents.
1    Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2    As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore.
3    For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
on the land allotted to the righteous,
       lest the righteous stretch out
their hands to do wrong.
4    Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
and to those who are upright in their hearts!
5    But those who turn aside to their crooked ways
the Lord will lead away with evildoers!
Peace be upon Israel! [4]
Blessed Is Everyone Who Fears the Lord
128 A Song of Ascents.
1    Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
2    You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
3    Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
       your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4    Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.
5    The Lord bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life!
6    May you see your children’s children!
Peace be upon Israel!
They Have Afflicted Me from My Youth
129 A Song of Ascents.
1    “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”—
let Israel now say—
2    “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
yet they have not prevailed against me.
3    The plowers plowed upon my back;
they made long their furrows.”
4    The Lord is righteous;
he has cut the cords of the wicked.
5    May all who hate Zion
be put to shame and turned backward!
6    Let them be like the grass on the housetops,
which withers before it grows up,
7    with which the reaper does not fill his hand
nor the binder of sheaves his arms,
8    nor do those who pass by say,
“The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
We bless you in the name of the Lord!”
My Soul Waits for the Lord
130 A Song of Ascents.
1    Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
2        O Lord, hear my voice!
       Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
3    If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4    But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
5    I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6    my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
7    O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
8    And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities. [5]
2 Samuel 1
David Hears of Saul’s Death
After the death of Saul, when David had returned from striking down the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag. 2 And on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage. 3 David said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” 4 And David said to him, “How did it go? Tell me.” And he answered, “The people fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.” 5 Then David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” 6 And the young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear, and behold, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him. 7 And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 8 And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ 9 And he said to me, ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’ 10 So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”
11 Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. 12 And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 13 And David said to the young man who told him, “Where do you come from?” And he answered, “I am the son of a sojourner, an Amalekite.” 14 David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” 15 Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go, execute him.” And he struck him down so that he died. 16 And David said to him, “Your blood be on your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord’s anointed.’ ”
David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan
17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he said it should be taught to the people of Judah; behold, it is written in the Book of Jashar. He said:
19    “Your glory, O Israel, is slain on your high places!
How the mighty have fallen!
20    Tell it not in Gath,
publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
       lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised exult.
21    “You mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor fields of offerings!
       For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.
22    “From the blood of the slain,
from the fat of the mighty,
       the bow of Jonathan turned not back,
and the sword of Saul returned not empty.
23    “Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were not divided;
       they were swifter than eagles;
they were stronger than lions.
24    “You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet,
who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.
25    “How the mighty have fallen
in the midst of the battle!
       “Jonathan lies slain on your high places.
26        I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
       very pleasant have you been to me;
your love to me was extraordinary,
surpassing the love of women.
27    “How the mighty have fallen,
and the weapons of war perished!”[6]

            There is a lot to this reading. We start out with a focus on Davids success and yet in just a few verses Saul and his sons come to a bitter end and follows with the horrible treatment of Sauls body. “The Philistines display the bodies with the greatest contempt. Mocking the defeated is another method by which failing human nature would deceive itself about the source of power and control. The men of Jabesh Gilead show honor consistent with David’s honoring of Saul, as they risk their lives to recover the bodies of Saul and his sons and give them proper burial.”[7]
            In 2 Samuel David fulfill his vow in showing kindness to the family of Jonathan after returning from his defeat of the Amalekites. “So, the narrative explains in verses 2–10, how an Amalekite lies about finishing off Saul, thinking he would win the favor of the man he perceived to be Saul’s rival. Anyone else might think the same: “I did you the favor of terminating not only your enemy, but the one who stood in the way of your assuming all the power!” Lest we suspect that David’s reaction to Saul’s death is only for show, actions follow. David tears his clothes, mourns, weeps, and fasts. David then interrogates the messenger to establish a basis for his punishment. David orders his immediate execution (David deals the same way with the assassins of Saul’s son, Ishbosheth in 2 Sam 4:1–11). After all the blood has been shed, David turns to grieve in a song of lament. The loss of Saul, the first king of Israel, and his sons, especially Jonathan, is no victory for David. A deep biblical truth is set before us here: Every loss of human life is tragic and contrary to God’s design for his creation.”[8]  

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Sa 30:1–31:13.
[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ps 18:title–50.
[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ps 121:title–8.
[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ps 123:title–125:5.
[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ps 128:title–130:8.
[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 2 Sa 1:1–27.
[7] Andrew E. Steinmann, Michael Eschelbach, et al., Called to Be God’s People: An Introduction to the Old Testament, ed. Andrew E. Steinmann, vol. 1, Called by the Gospel (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006), 278.
[8] Andrew E. Steinmann, Michael Eschelbach, et al., Called to Be God’s People: An Introduction to the Old Testament, ed. Andrew E. Steinmann, vol. 1, Called by the Gospel (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006), 278.

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