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Tell Jesus how much you’re committed to him and his ways: ‘You’re my all, you’re the best, you’re my joy, my righteousness; and I love you, Lord’ (Graham Kendrick © 1993 Make Way Music).

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Bible passage: 2 Samuel 1:1–16

2 Samuel 1

David Hears of Saul's Death
 1 After the death of Saul, David returned from defeating 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 with dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.

 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."
      He said, "The men fled from the battle. 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 riders almost upon him. 7 When he turned around 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 over me and kill me! I am in the throes of death, but I'm still alive.'

 10 "So I stood over 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 the house 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 an alien, an Amalekite," he answered.

 14 David asked him, "Why were you not 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.' "

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


The Lord's anointed
Earlier, ‘Samuel [the prophet] took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance?”’ (1 Samuel 10:1). What is anointed by God – set apart for his special purposes – is sacred.

The nation is now in mourning for King Saul and his son Jonathan. None feels the pain more keenly than David. He has the Amalekite messenger killed (v 15), either because he has murdered Saul (not as the messenger just reported) or because he has violated the Lord’s anointed (v 16). This jars with us – we know not to shoot the messenger, especially one who might just be innocent!

Our commitment
But the challenge to us is how ruthlessly David is committed to what God wants – but I’m not advocating, in our zeal for the gospel, that we start killing people!

Every day, through our thoughts, words and actions, we express our commitment to Jesus. This may look odd to some – for instance, thinking the best of people when they have failed, saying kind things in the face of hostility, demonstrating love sacrificially when not bothering would be easier. But who knows where it might lead?


Let’s pray that our ‘oddness’ will be the start of our friends and family coming to Jesus.

Terry Clutterham

Introduction to 2 Samuel 1–7

Our readings this week take us through the middle period of David’s colourful life story. Compared with the years when he was a fugitive on the run from Saul, his experiences on the throne of Israel seem almost an anticlimax. Here we see him tried and tested again and again, and it was all part of his schooling and equipping for kingship. What were the factors that distinguished him as a man of God and a worthy candidate for the throne of Israel? The secret seems to lie in what Jesus was later to summarise as the first and the second great commandments.

Our first hint is in the way David reacted to the death of his arch-enemy, Saul. Having refused to lay violent hands on the Lord’s anointed on two occasions,1 he did not rejoice when someone claimed to have rid him of his relentless adversary. On the contrary, he promulgated communal mourning which he personally led with a memorable lament. He then went out of his way to honour the brave men of Jabesh Gilead for giving Saul a decent burial. He did not pay mere lip service to his love for Jonathan but sought out the family of his deceased bosom friend, to put that love into action. Thus David did to others what he would have liked done to him.

This was evidently the result of loving the Lord with all his heart. To David, Saul’s life was inviolate only because he was ‘the Lord’s anointed’ (1:14,16). When Saul died and the way to the throne seemed clear, he did not grasp at it. Rather than declare himself king by popular acclaim, he sought God’s direction as to his next move. When he became king, among his top priorities was to relocate the Ark of the Covenant to his capital city. This he did with due decorum and unbridled rejoicing, after an initial setback. He then conceived the idea of a more befitting Temple – but God did not allow him to build it.

Deeper Bible study

King Saul had destroyed the entire tribe of Amalek, at God’s instruction, sparing only the king and some of their flock (1 Samuel 15). We do not know how this young Amalekite in our reading had escaped. It would be understandable for him to harbour a grudge on account of such veritable genocide and so decide to kill the king to avenge his people. His motive, however, had nothing to do with a concern for anyone else but himself and, having taken refuge among God’s people as a sojourner in Israel, it is hardly excusable for him to lay his hands against God’s anointed.

With Saul and his bodyguard dead from their own hands (1 Samuel 31:4–6), the young Amalekite saw his chance and took it. He collected the royal insignia and hurried off to deliver what he thought would be good news to the putative successor and thus ingratiate himself into royal favour. He even lied in order to give himself credit for ridding David of what he had thought was the only obstacle between him and the throne. However, on more than one occasion David had refused to ascend the throne by killing the king (1 Samuel 24,26); he was not going to countenance such regicide now. The Amalekite’s sham symbols of mourning in the form of his torn clothes and dirt on his head was a charade that backfired spectacularly, costing him his life.

There are many who, like Saul of Tarsus, are mistaken in the beliefs they propagate with all their energy. Many are doing it with the conviction and zeal of that young rabbi although some, no doubt, share the mercenary interests of the young Amalekite of our text. Whatever their motivation, unless they repent, their end is destruction.

Emmanuel Oladipo

Background: 2 Samuel overview

David’s line
2 Samuel has sometimes been regarded as the Court Chronicles of David. We are told about his successes, his failures and sins, and in particular, the treachery and domestic strife he had to endure.

However, embedded in this story is a promise which found its fulfilment in Christ. David was not just God’s choice for that time; he was to head up a line which would lead to the Messiah himself.

David’s enemies
David’s great gift was that of military commander. He attracted ‘mighty men’ whose exploits became legends in their own time.

Once on the throne of all Israel, he consolidated his kingdom by dealing with his unruly neighbours in a series of campaigns (8:1–14; 10:1–19; 11:1; 12:26–31). This secured his territory against raids, and gave him control of a larger area than ever before.

David’s administration
Occasionally we are told who held office in David’s government (8:15–18; 20:23–26). Absalom’s ability to fire the people’s discontent (15:1–6) suggests that David was not the most efficient administrator. Although David could inspire intense loyalty, the fact that Absalom could stir up civil war means that, probably, as the king got older, he lost his grip on things somewhat.

It has been suggested that the census he took was so wrong because it might have been connected with plans for forced labour (24:1–10), something his son Solomon was to exploit cruelly.

David’s domestic problems
Polygamy was not forbidden in the Old Testament, but the story of David’s home life shows its perils. In those days, many wives and concubines, and a large family, were seen as a status symbol. However, it involved real dangers. Every son was a potential heir to the throne, and if headstrong, a threat to his father.

Added to this, David does not come across as the best of parents. He failed to discipline his children as he ought, and suffered as a consequence.

Taken from The Bible in Outline (SU, 1985)


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Even though I walk through the valley (You never let go)
Matt & Beth Redman
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com

All the glory
Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1991 Make Way Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com

  • Rachael Hampton | Sunday, 11 February 2018

    There has been way too much killing in the name of God - and still is. What is said, and what is written can ‘kill’, or deeply wound the soul, if not the body. Some faiths believe it is right to persecute their family members who become Christians. And I think of those who hurled abuse and death threats at a pastor because he advocated for gay marriage. Lord, we want to be zealous for You. May that zeal always be overridden by love. Ruth, so glad you can relax into your recovery now. Carol, I do hope this is a better week for you. Blessings and prayers for all for this new week.

  • Enyobi Chukwunonso | Monday, 12 February 2018

    Backbiting is a very common thing in our present world, people do it in offices, churches etc to receive favor from their superiors. But in the case of the young Amalekite, he lied against himself to receive favor, and it cost him his life. Both the backbiter and the busybody ( the young Amalekite ) I will put them in the same category; lying against oneself or against another for the sake of favor is dangerous... allow God to enthrone you when the time is ripe, as David did patiently, without manipulations. #lessonlearnt

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Monday, 12 February 2018

    Thank you Emmanuel for explanations in Deeper study today

  • Graham Fuller | Monday, 12 February 2018

    I think today’s analysis is all over the place. In the introduction it speaks of the first and second great commandment. It also seems to suggest that the second commandment is ‘do as you would be done by’ and not ‘ love your neighbour as you love yourself’ and then Emmanuel goes on to a complete character assassination of the messenger with not factual evidence. Rant over.

  • Angela Munday | Monday, 12 February 2018

    Agreed GRAHAM - Negativity is not a good thing and leads to fear and hatred....where is the mercy and forgiveness? Our Creator God is love and it is from this positive action we can bring joy into life and there will be healing for brokenness.

  • Roger Hall | Monday, 12 February 2018

    Someone had been rather sneakily making unpleasant remarks to someone by email. The second person told me that they had had three sleepless nights. Showed me the email which I didn't read, handed it back later. I whispered that I had had the same sort of treatment. So, how can I love someone like that? The thing I find helpful is to pray. However, I don't really find it natural in myself to forgive and generally replace antagonism with genuine love. Love does not enjoy another person's downfall, but always encourages. So I accept that I have a long way to go, and ask forgiveness and commit to more prayer.

  • Stephen Nicholls | Monday, 12 February 2018

    Graham - I agree with you! This is a strange story. With the crown and amulet of the enemy king, the young Amalekite could have sold them and had enough money to last him for life. But he chose to return them to David - the reason is not clear, but maybe to gain favour with David. His reward was death. This has always seemed unwarranted, to me. I think I'd steer clear of David!!

  • Janet McIntyre | Monday, 12 February 2018

    Graham and Stephen: l tend to agree more with the SU writers. Why does the Amalekite take the crown, rather than protect the body of the king? And after taking the crown, why go to David? Should it not have been taken to a priest, or back to Saul's family? He is trying to foment rebellion - and he is not even an Israelite! Then he admits to a mercy-killing style regicide.

  • Peter Oliver | Monday, 12 February 2018

    How different things would have been if this young man had let GOD take Saul In his own time sadly today things are no different we do do things our way and suffer as a result May GOD help us to do things HIS way and be blessed as a result.I've been a gift depressed lately because of problems beyond my control Sorry word should be bit.

  • Barbara Sabin | Monday, 12 February 2018

    The young Amelekite had broken two of the ten commandments 5.Thou shalt not kill and 8.thou shalt not bear false witness. Back again to the book of Genesis chapter 37 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. The Amelekite covered his killing of the King with lies. My Dad always said to always tell the truth, that it is possible to catch a thief but not possible to catch a liar. The Amelekite had take the Kings Gold and tried to cover it with a lie. Truth and righteousness prevail. Was David right to kill the Amelekite ?well the instructions given to Saul were to kill all the Amelekites and he failed to keep those instructions. God is mighty to save, his ways are not our ways. Psalm 21 Your hand will find all Your enemies;Your right hand will find those who hate You.You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger;The Lord shall swallow them up in His wrath, And the fire shall devour them.Their offspring You shall destroy from the earth And their descendants from among the sons of men. I am so glad that God is a faithful God and that he loves me with an everlasting love. Jesus blood covers me from all my sins. Thank you Jesus.

  • Ruth Lewis | Monday, 12 February 2018

    Graham Kendrick, Knowing you!!! https://youtu.be/pTTlSx6zXio

  • Eileen Smith | Monday, 12 February 2018

    RUTH, Songs of Praise in the UK seems to be focusing on Graham Kendrick next week.! PETER— I’m sorry to hear that depression has affected you recently— so debilitating — I hope that the problems have been resolved & that you feel better now.

  • Shona McLennan | Monday, 12 February 2018

    Glad to see you back, PETER.

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