Did David Really Mourn For Saul Sincerely?

2 Sam 1:17-27

This might be one of the most touching prayers that David prayed in the bible, especially when one reads the parts where he laments for his friend Jonathan. Real tear jerker. But overall, this was a lament for Saul the King of Israel and Jonathan, his son, who were slain in battle. It was a sad moment not for David but for the whole of Israel because their king was slain, and thus the hope and aspirations of Israel.

But someone in class asked a good question (or rather it was an evolved for of my lecturer’s question) but one I disagree with. But nonetheless a good question to think about.

Did David really mourn for Saul? (Was his lament sincere towards him?)

Well, when one reads the lament it does seem logical to say yes to this according to the text.
But what if we would probe further. Reading the story of David’s life and how he went into exile and hiding because of Saul, one could also come to a conclusion that David might have been really ‘pissed’ with this Saul character. This was the man that almost virtually ruined his life.

We also learned that David also had chances to kill Saul, easily but stopped because he thought that Saul was the Lord’s anointed. That understanding in a way relented David from touching Saul’s life with the sword.

But this does bring us to question whether David, in his mind still thought that Saul was still God’s anointed although he was clearly seen in the narrative in 1 Sam as being someone who did a lot of questionable things. What do you think here?

So back to the beginning of the narrative in 2 Sam where someone who came thinking he would make David happy if he depicted himself as striking Saul with the sword, instead of wide open arms and applause from David, being happy of him slaying David’s enemy, David’s reaction was different. That man was struck dead because he had killed the Lord’s anointed.

2Sa 1:14 David asked him, “Why were you not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD’S anointed?”
2Sa 1:15 Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died.
2Sa 1:16 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.’

But if you were to internalize this story, putting yourself in the story, what would your initial feeling be if you were David? If you were living in that period of time, feeling David’s internal emotion as an Israelite, hearing of the death of Israel’s king killed in battle, but yet someone who tried to kill him and yet in David’s mind this man was the Lord’s anointed, was David’s lament for him sincere?

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