The following commentary covers Chapters 1 and 2.
genuine sorrow at Saul's death: his dependence on God
Nevertheless piety, and
pious (and hence generous) sentiments, were genuine in
David. He did not pretend to feel for Saul's misfortunes,
and then seize upon the kingdom without regret as soon as
Saul had ceased to exist. David's heart was really melted
when he heard of Saul's death. Woe to the hard-hearted
man who, impelled by the hope of reward, thought to be
the bearer of good tidings in announcing it to him.
Whatever Saul's misfortunes, he was the king of Israel to
David. Whatever his faults, he was an unfortunate king.
David had been beloved by him, and had dwelt in his house,
where the king's affliction manifested itself, and
commanded the respect of all around him And if Saul had
unjustly persecuted David, at this moment it was readily
forgotten. Now that he has fallen, David will only
remember that which can do him honour; and, above all,
that it is Jehovah's anointed, and Jehovah's people, who
have fallen before their enemies.
David causes the man to be
put to death who, deluded by selfishness, accused himself
of lacking all fear of Jehovah, all good and generous
feeling. For David fears God; and Jehovah's anointed is
precious in his sight. He then pours out his heart before
God in the touching accents of a grief which, in solemn
and affecting language, recalls whatever would exalt Saul,
and expresses the tender and affectionate recollections
which his heart suggests. Beautiful exhibition of the
fruits of the Spirit of God! David is in no wise
discouraged, for his faith is in action. If this
misfortune grieves him, it gives him also the opportunity
of guarding against a similar calamity. He bade them
teach the children of Judah the use of the bow, by which
weapon Saul was slain. David, still humble, goes on well.
He asks Jehovah if he should go up to Judah, and to which
place; and Jehovah directs him. David testifies also to
the men of Jabesh-gilead his satisfaction at their
conduct with respect to Saul.
king: war results
Nevertheless war has not
yet ceased; if not against enemies from without, it is
carried on against those from within. That which was
linked with Saul's fleshly importance cannot support
David. All is however now changed, for Ishbosheth was not
Jehovah's anointed, and to make him king was in fact to
rebel against God. David makes war upon him by his