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2 Samuel 1 International Standard Version (ISV)

David Mourns for Saul and Jonathan

Shortly after Saul had died, David returned from defeating the Amalekites and remained in Ziklag for two days. The next[a] day, a man escaped from Saul’s camp! With torn clothes and dirty hair, he approached David, fell to the ground, and bowed down to him.

David asked him, “Where did you come from?

He answered him, “I just escaped from Israel’s encampment.”

David continued questioning him, “How did things go? Please tell me!”

He replied, “The army has fled the battlefield, many of the army are wounded[b] or have died, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.”

David asked the young man who related the story,[c] “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”

The young man who had been relating the story[d] answered, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa and there was Saul, leaning on his spear! Meanwhile, the chariots and horsemen were rapidly drawing near. Saul[e] glanced behind him, saw me, and called out to me, so I replied, ‘Here I am!’ He asked me, ‘Who are you?’ So I answered him, ‘I’m an Amalekite!’ He begged me, ‘Please—come stand here next to me and kill me, because I’m still alive.’ 10 So I stood next to him and killed him, because I knew that he wouldn’t live after he had fallen. I took the crown that had been on his head, along with the bracelet that had been on his arm, and I have brought them to your majesty.”[f]

11 On hearing this,[g] David grabbed his clothes and tore them, as did all the men who were attending to him. 12 They mourned and wept, and then decided to fast[h] until dusk for Saul, for his son Jonathan, for the army of the Lord, and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen in battle.[i]

13 Meanwhile, David asked the young man who had told him the story,[j] “Where are you from?”

He answered, “I’m an Amalekite, the son of a foreign man.”

14 At this David asked him, “How is it that you weren’t afraid to raise your hand to strike the Lord’s anointed?”

15 Then David called out to one of his young men and ordered him, “Go up to him and cut him down!” So he attacked him and killed him.

16 David told him, “Your blood is on your own head, because your own words[k] testified against you! After all, you said, ‘I myself have killed the Lord’s anointed!’”

David’s Song for Saul and Jonathan

17 So David intoned this song of lament about Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he gave orders[l] to teach the descendants of Judah the art of warfare,[m] as is recorded in the Book of Jashar:[n]

19 “Your beauty, Israel, lies slain on your high places!
    O, how the valiant have fallen!
20 Don’t make it known in Gath!
    Don’t declare it in the avenues of Ashkelon!
Otherwise, the daughters of Philistia will rejoice;
    and the daughters of the uncircumcised will triumph.
21 Mountains of Gilboa,
    let no dew or rain fall on you,
        and may none of your fields be filled with plenty,
because in that place the shield of the valiant ones was defiled,
    the shield of Saul without an anointing with oil.
22 From the blood of the slain,
    from the blood of the valiant,
Jonathan’s bow would not retreat
    nor would Saul’s sword return empty.
23 Saul and Jonathan, loved and handsome in life,
    in death were not separated.
Swifter than eagles they were,
    and more valiant than lions.
24 Daughters of Israel, weep over Saul!
    He clothed you in scarlet luxury
        and decorated your garments with gold.
25 How have the valiant fallen in the tumult of battle!
    Jonathan lies slain on your high places.
26 I am in distress for you, my brother Jonathan.
    You have been most kind[o] to me.
Your love for me was extraordinary[p]
    beyond love from women.
27 How the valiant have fallen!
    How the weapons of war are destroyed!”


  1. 2 Samuel 1:2 Lit. third
  2. 2 Samuel 1:4 Lit. fallen
  3. 2 Samuel 1:5 The Heb. lacks the story
  4. 2 Samuel 1:6 The Heb. lacks the story
  5. 2 Samuel 1:7 Lit. He
  6. 2 Samuel 1:10 Lit. my lord; and so throughout the book
  7. 2 Samuel 1:11 Lit. Then
  8. 2 Samuel 1:12 Lit. wept, fasting
  9. 2 Samuel 1:12 Lit. fallen by the sword
  10. 2 Samuel 1:13 The Heb. lacks story
  11. 2 Samuel 1:16 Lit. mouth
  12. 2 Samuel 1:18 Lit. he said
  13. 2 Samuel 1:18 Lit. Judah the bow; or Judah the Song of the Bow; i.e., David’s lament in vs. 19-27
  14. 2 Samuel 1:18 Lit. the Book of the Upright; i.e. an ancient chronicle of Israel, apparently now lost.
  15. 2 Samuel 1:26 Or pleasant
  16. 2 Samuel 1:26 Or wonderful
International Standard Version (ISV)

Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.

2 Samuel 1 New International Version (NIV)

David Hears of Saul’s Death

After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.

“Where have you come from?” David asked him.

He answered, “I have escaped from the Israelite camp.”

“What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.”

“The men fled from the battle,” he replied. “Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”

Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”

“I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’

“He asked me, ‘Who are you?’

“‘An Amalekite,’ I answered.

“Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’

10 “So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.”

11 Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

13 David said to the young man who brought him the report, “Where are you from?”

“I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,” he answered.

14 David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?

15 Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. 16 For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed.’”

David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan

17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):

19 “A gazelle[a] lies slain on your heights, Israel.
    How the mighty have fallen!

20 “Tell it not in Gath,
    proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
    lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.

21 “Mountains of Gilboa,
    may you have neither dew nor rain,
    may no showers fall on your terraced fields.[b]
For there the shield of the mighty was despised,
    the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.

22 “From the blood of the slain,
    from the flesh of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
    the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.
23 Saul and Jonathan—
    in life they were loved and admired,
    and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
    they were stronger than lions.

24 “Daughters of Israel,
    weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery,
    who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.

25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle!
    Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
    you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
    more wonderful than that of women.

27 “How the mighty have fallen!
    The weapons of war have perished!”


  1. 2 Samuel 1:19 Gazelle here symbolizes a human dignitary.
  2. 2 Samuel 1:21 Or / nor fields that yield grain for offerings
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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