We start the book of 2 Samuel with the anointed king Saul dead and see an interesting reaction from David to this news.
2 Samuel 1:1-16
1 After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. 2 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 honour.
3 ‘Where have you come from?’ David asked him.
He answered, ‘I have escaped from the Israelite camp.’
4 ‘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.’
5 Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, ‘How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?’
6 ‘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. 7 When he turned round and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, “What can I do?”
8 ‘He asked me, “Who are you?”
‘“An Amalekite,” I answered.
9 ‘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.”’
Well this is a lovely start to the book of 2 Samuel, death of the king and then the death of the man who claimed to kill him. Often the first chapter of a book is setting the scene for what the rest of the book will be about, which makes me wonder, will all of 2 Samuel just be filled with death?
If you were with us last year for 1 Samuel or have read it, you will notice that this is a different account to the death of Saul in 1 Samuel 31. In 1 Samuel we see that Saul asked his armour bearer to kill him because he was injured and doesn’t want to be killed by the Philistines. Then in this passage we see this man claiming to have killed Saul. I suspect he is doing this to try to gain favour with David, whom everyone knows will now be king. David’s response to this man’s claim is astonishing. Instead of thanking the guy for removing Saul as king and bringing this news, he is distraught and mourns. Following his mourning David doesn’t let the guy go but asks him why he wasn’t afraid to destroy the Lord’s anointed? Even though David knew that God had anointed him to be king, he knew that God had also anointed Saul also. See, David had been waiting on God’s timing for him to step into the kingship not trying to take the position, even though he knew God had chosen him to be king. We have seen this throughout 1 Samuel when at a few points David could have taken Saul’s life, but he didn’t.
As we will see in coming chapters, David isn’t the perfect king, just like Saul wasn’t. Jesus however is the perfect king that David gives us a glimpse of. David at this point shows his reliance on God to bring about the kingdom in his timing and is not grasping for power. Jesus shows us an even better example of this, he was so patient and on multiple times in his ministry made the comment that it wasn’t his time yet. Jesus didn’t grasp for power even though he was anointed to be king. Instead he held out his arms on the cross to take on the sins of the world. Jesus is the true king we have all been waiting for.
Head: Was David’s reaction to Saul’s death the kind or reaction you expected?
Heart: Would you react the same way David did? This way of reacting is countercultural in our world and in David’s.
Hands: Have you been grasping for power? How can you give that up today to live a countercultural life that will point others to the hope you have in Jesus?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the example David showed of patiently waiting for your timing, not grasping for power when he could have. Thank you that Jesus was the perfect example of not grasping for power in the way he went to the cross for my sake. Help me to not grasp for power like the world around me does. Help me to live in a way that is countercultural so that others will see you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
A song to listen to: Centre My Life
Living Church City South