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 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.
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!”
I am not sure what to make of this. David writes such a wonderful poem about the man that destroyed his life and did so much harm to the people who tried to help him. Why would he do that? One thing is clear though, David has not lost his ability to compose a good poem. This poem is placed in Book of Jashar which is a collection of poems that have been lost. This poem is written about men, for men and so it is not included in the book of Psalms.
David is using his gift to speak well of the dead, to leave a memory in Israel of a good king who should not have met this end. In a way he helps to restore people’s confidence in a king who at times did some good in the land.
It takes grace to be able to forgive an enemy, but it takes something very special to write a poem about your enemy in such a way that he will be remembered as a great man throughout history. I am not going to say anything more about the poem other than I think we can learn about forgiveness and grace from this poem.
Too often I focus on the negative aspects of the people around me, I start to expect the worse and so that is what I get. Why don’t we make a special effort to look passed the wrong and try to see the good underneath. Take somebody who you don’t like and try to write something good about them. I think we may find that this is how God sees that person… which is why He gives grace to them in the same way that He gives grace to us. Have a peace filled day.