Some scholars believe this is a separate tradition of the account in 1 Sam 31
, with which it disagrees. Another possibility is that the man who brings the news to David changes the story for his own
: The young man's claim that he happened to be on Mount Gilboa in the heat of battle is probably a lie (see v. 10
: Amalekite, David has just come from successfully pursuing Amalekites (1 Sam 30
), who are depicted as scavengers. It is ironic that an Amalekite killed Saul, who (according to 1 Sam 15
) lost his kingship because he did not kill off the Amalekites.
: The Amalekite stripped Saul's corpse and brought the crown and armlet to David hoping for a reward.
: Tearing clothes and fasting were signs of mourning.
: As a resident alien (v. 13
), the Amalekite was subject to the same laws as an Israelite citizen, and therefore David holds him responsible for killing
the LORD's anointed.
Many of the Hebrew verses are “Qinah” (dirge or lament) meter, with the first half longer than the second. Many scholars consider
plausible the text's attribution of authorship to David himself.
: Song of the Bow, the Hebrew has simply “bow.” If not a copyist's mistake, this may refer to a type of song or a title. Book of Jashar, a lost collection of poems (see Josh 10.13
: Gath, Ashkelon, Philistine cities. Uncircumcised, a disparaging term for the Philistines.
: Mountains of Gilboa, the site of the battle where Saul and Jonathan were killed. Shields were made of leather and were anointed with oil to keep them battle‐ready.
: Saul's reign brought prosperity to Israel.
: Passing the love of women expresses the closeness of David's relationship to Jonathan but does not necessarily imply a sexual relationship.
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