Report of Saul’s Death. 1After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days.a 2On the third day a man came from the field of battle, one of Saul’s people, with his garments torn and his head covered with dirt. Going to David, he fell to the ground in homage. 3David asked him, “Where have you come from?” He replied, “From the Israelite camp: I have escaped.” 4“What happened?” David said. “Tell me.” He answered that the soldiers had fled the battle and many of them had fallen and were dead; and that Saul and his son Jonathan were dead. 5Then David said to the youth who was reporting to him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” 6b The youth reporting to him replied: “I happened to find myself on Mount Gilboa and saw Saul leaning on his spear, with chariots and horsemen closing in on him. 7He turned around and saw me, and called me to him. When I said, ‘Here I am,’ 8he asked me, ‘Who are you?’ and I replied, ‘An Amalekite.’ 9Then he said to me, ‘Stand over me, please, and put me to death, for I am in great suffering, but still alive.’ 10So I stood over him and put him to death, for I knew that he could not survive his wound. I removed the crown from his head and the armlet from his arm and brought them here to my lord.”
11David seized his garments and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him.c 12They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the people of the LORD and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.d 13David said to the youth who had reported to him, “Where are you from?” He replied, “I am the son of a resident alien, an Amalekite.” 14David said to him, “How is it that you were not afraid to put forth your hand to desecrate the LORD’s anointed?”e 15David then called one of the attendants and said to him, “Come, strike him down”; so he struck him and he died. 16David said to him, “Your blood is on your head, for you testified against yourself when you said, ‘I put the LORD’s anointed to death.’”
Lament for Saul and Jonathan. 17Then David chanted this lament for Saul and his son Jonathan 18(he commanded that it be taught to the Judahites; it is recorded in the Book of Jashar):f
19Alas! the glory of Israel,
slain upon your heights!
How can the warriors have fallen!
20Do not report it in Gath,
as good news in Ashkelon’s streets,
Lest Philistine women rejoice,
lest the women of the uncircumcised exult!g
21O mountains of Gilboa,
upon you be neither dew nor rain,
nor surging from the deeps!*
Defiled there the warriors’ shields,
the shield of Saul—no longer anointed with oil!h
22From the blood of the slain,
from the bodies of the warriors,
The bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
nor the sword of Saul return unstained.* i
23Saul and Jonathan, beloved and dear,
separated neither in life nor death,
swifter than eagles, stronger than lions!
24Women of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and in finery,
covered your clothing with ornaments of gold.
25How can the warriors have fallen
in the thick of battle!
Jonathan—slain upon your heights!
26I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother!
Most dear have you been to me;
More wondrous your love to me
than the love of women.j
27How can the warriors have fallen,
the weapons of war have perished!
* [1:21] Surging from the deeps: this conjectural reading of the Hebrew yields a parallelism with dew and rain: the mountains where the warriors have fallen in battle are to be desiccated, deprived of water from above (rain, dew) and below (the primordial deeps).
* [1:22] Unstained: lit., “empty.” The sword was conceived as a devouring mouth; see, e.g., 2:26.
a. [1:1] 1 Sm 30:17–20; 31:1–13.
b. [1:6–10] 2 Sm 4:10; 1 Sm 31:1–4; 1 Chr 10:1–4.
c. [1:11] 2 Sm 13:31.
d. [1:12] 1 Sm 31:13.
e. [1:14] 1 Sm 10:1; 24:7; Ps 105:15.
g. [1:20] Jgs 16:23; 1 Sm 31:9; Mi 1:10.
i. [1:22] 1 Sm 14:47.