2 Samuel 1:1-16
1 After Saul died, David returned to Ziklag. He had won the battle over the Amalekites. He stayed in Ziklag for two days. 2 On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp. His clothes were torn. He had dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to show him respect. 3 “Where have you come from?” David asked him. He answered, “I’ve escaped from Israel’s camp.” 4 “What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.” He said, “Israel’s men ran away from the battle. Many of them were killed. Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.” 5 David spoke to the young man who brought him the report. He asked him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” 6 “I just happened to be there on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said. “Saul was there too. He was leaning on his spear. The enemy chariots and chariot drivers had almost caught up with him. 7 Then he turned around and saw me. He called out to me. I said, ‘What do you want me to 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 close to death, but I’m still alive.’ 10 “So I stood beside him and killed him. I did it because I knew that after he had lost the battle he would be killed anyway. So I took the crown that was on his head. I also took his armband. I’ve brought them here to you. You are my master.” 11 Then David tore his clothes. And all his men tore their clothes. 12 All of them were filled with sadness. They mourned over the whole nation of Israel. They didn’t eat anything until evening. That’s because Saul and Jonathan and the Lord’s army had been killed by swords. 13 David spoke to the young man who had brought him the report. He asked, “Where are you from?” “I’m the son of an outsider, an Amalekite,” he answered. 14 David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to kill the Lord’s anointed king?” 15 Then David called for one of his men. He said, “Go! Strike him down!” So he struck the man down, and the man died. 16 That’s because David had said to him, “Anything that happens to you will be your own fault. What your own mouth has spoken is a witness against you. You said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed king.’ ”
“…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.”
Mourning for Jonathan I can understand (David’s best friend), and for the army and nation of Israel, but mourning for Saul? Saul, the jealous King who had been bent on chasing down and killing David for some time now. I think about this whole recount as if it were a modern film, and 99% of plot lines would be celebrating the death of a sworn enemy when David hears about the death of the King. David had nothing but grief well up in this moment.
This tells me: 1) David had a deep love for His nation; 2) David had a deep love and respect for the role of King in the nation of Israel; 3) David was able to keep his heart soft, even though it was difficult.
Would I respond like King David if someone who had a clear vendetta against me suffered misfortune, or even death? I would like to think so, but I am more inclined to think I would be relieved at best, and perhaps celebrate in my heart at worst. The character of a true leader, even more than that, a true child of God, is like David’s in this episode. Moving past the personal issues and problems to keeping a soft heart towards all people. Not allowing bitterness, anger, and resentment to rise even towards someone who mistreats me. No wonder David could be trusted with the Kingship of Israel.
Lord, teach me and grow me to be a child of yours like David. To have a compassion and kindness towards all men, even my enemies. Holy Spirit, show me how!
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh