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Sunday, April 20 2014

2 Samuel 1: How The Mighty Have Fallen

"The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!"

The news of the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan (see 1 Samuel 31: Saul's Last Stand and 1 Samuel 20: David and Jonathan) came as a shock to King David (see 1 Samuel 16: The Anointing Of David). The civil war (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Civil War) had been ongoing for over a year, but David had refused to kill Saul, despite easy opportunities to have done so (see 1 Samuel 21: Why Didn't David Kill Saul?; also 1 Samuel 24: The Cave Of The Wild Goats Incident and 1 Samuel 26: The Raid On Saul's Camp). David's response to the fall of King Saul was that "David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword."

The Death Of Saul

"1:1 Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag; 1:2 It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance.

1:3 And David said unto him, From whence comest thou?

And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped.

1:4 And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me.

And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.

1:5 And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?

1:6 And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. 1:7 And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.

1:8 And he said unto me, Who art thou?

And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.

1:9 He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.

1:10 So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.

1:11 Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: 1:12 And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.

1:13 And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou?

And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite.

1:14 And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD'S anointed?

1:15 And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. 1:16 And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD'S anointed." (2 Samuel 1:1-16 KJV)

David's "how the mighty have fallen" remains one of the most familiar expressions of the Holy Bible. It was both a genuine statement of grief and a rhetorical question that could only be answered in view of Saul's choice of attitude and behavior after he became king (see the Fact Finder question below).

"1:17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: 1:18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)

1:19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! 1:20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

1:21 Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. 1:22 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.

1:23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 1:24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

1:25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. 1:26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.

1:27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!" (2 Samuel 1:17-27 KJV)

Fact Finder: (a) Was Saul chosen as Israel's first king because he was wise, humble and righteous? (b) What did Saul do after he became king that made him unfit to continue as king?
(a) See 1 Samuel 9: Saul Of Benjamin and Samuel The Seer, 1 Samuel 10: King Saul of Israel and 1 Samuel 11: Saul The Deliverer
(b) See 1 Samuel 13: Saul's Burnt Offering, 1 Samuel 14: Jonathan's Sweet Victory, 1 Samuel 15: Saul's Impeachment, 1 Samuel 19: The Parting of David and Saul and 1 Samuel 21: Why Didn't David Kill Saul?


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This Day In History, April 20

295: The 8th recorded passage of Halley's Comet.

1139: The Second Lateran Council opened in Rome (see also The Struggle For The Papacy).

1453: The last major naval battle in Byzantine (i.e. the East Roman Empire) history occurred; three Genoese galleys escorting a Byzantine transport versus the Ottoman blockade fleet.

1505: Jews were expelled from Orange Burgundy by Philibert of Luxembourg.

1534: French explorer Jacques Cartier set sail from St. Malo to explore the eastern coastline of Canada (see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).

Cartier 1653: In England, Oliver Cromwell expelled the "Long Parliament" for trying to pass the Perpetuation Bill, which would have kept Parliament in the hands of a few members only.

1657: The English navy, under Admiral Robert Blake, destroyed the Spanish fleet in Santa Cruz harbor, Tenerife.

1689: The siege of Londonderry began when supporters of James II attacked the city. The population nearly starved to death before the siege was lifted on July 30.

1769: Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawa Indians, was murdered by an Illinois Indian. In 1763 he had led an uprising against the British garrisons in North America.

1770: English explorer James Cook discovered what is today the coast of New South Wales, Australia.

1792: France declared war on Austria, Prussia and Sardinia in the War of the First Coalition.

1809: Napoleon fought the Austrians at the Battle of Abensberg in Bavaria.

1862: Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard complete the first "pasteurization" (named after Pasteur) experiments.

1902: Pierre and Marie Curie isolated the radioactive element radium.

1910: Halley's Comet 29th recorded perihelion at 87.9 million kilometers.

1918: Manfred von Richthofen (the famous "Red Baron") shot down his 79th and 80th opponents - his final victories before being shot down and killed by a Canadian fighter pilot, Captain Roy Brown, the next day.

1940: The first electron microscope was demonstrated.

1945: Near the end of the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Soviet troops began their attack on Berlin.

1947: King Christian X of Denmark died.

1957: Comet Arend-Roland made its closest approach to earth. It was discovered the previous November by Belgians S. Arend and P. Roland. It was remarkable for its anomalous second tail which appeared as a sharp spike aimed at the sun.

1973: The Canadian Anik A2 became the first commercial satellite in earth orbit.

1978: Korean Airlines flight 007 was shot down by Soviet fighter jets after the airliner strayed over Russian airspace.

1989: The last Canadian $1.00 bill was printed. It was replaced by a $1.00 coin that became known as the "loonie" (as did the Canadian dollar itself) because of the engraving of a swimming loon (a fish-eating diving bird of the northern hemisphere) on one side of the gold-colored coin.

1999: The Columbine High School massacre in Colorado: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed 13 people and wounded 24 others before committing suicide.

2010: The Deepwater Horizon oil well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, beginning an oil spill that would last six months.





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