Bible Readings for September 7th
In the opening of 2 Samuel, David learns about the deaths of Saul and Jonathan—a scene that teaches us important principles about the nature of Yahweh’s anointing of his kings. In 1 Samuel 31, we read that Saul had fallen on his own sword to end his life after being wounded (1 Sam. 31:4–6), but here in 2 Samuel 1, we learn a bit more of the story.
Apparently, Saul’s attempt at suicide was not successful, so he pleaded with an Amalekite to finish him. The Amalekite judged that Saul was correct about the impossibility of surviving, so he killed Saul, took Saul’s crown, and promptly went to report what had happened to David (2 Sam. 1:6–11). Now, remember that David had refused twice to kill Saul in 1 Samuel 24 and 26 (despite the fact that Saul was actually trying to kill him), so this news does not please David. Instead, he orders that the Amalekite be executed for putting his hand against Yahweh’s anointed (2 Sam. 1:14–16).
David’s response to the deaths of Saul and Jonathan is significant in two ways. First, David demonstrates again that he values Yahweh’s anointed king more than he does his own life. Saul represented a serious, unrelenting threat to David’s life and yet we see David writing a lament for Saul in 2 Samuel 1:17–27 rather than breathing a sigh of relief. David understood first and foremost that Saul was king because Yahweh had anointed him, which meant that David owed Saul boundless loyalty.
Second, David’s action to execute the Amalekite signals both his commitment to justice and his shift toward becoming the king. God had commanded in his covenant with Noah that anyone who sheds the blood of another human being must be put to death (Gen. 9:6)—and beyond the sin of murder, this Amalekite had murdered the man whom Yahweh had anointed as king. For David to order the Amalekite’s execution, then, was his first act as king, since God calls the state, not individuals, to judge criminals.
These two principles set up the theological foundations of 2 Samuel. If the entire book of Judges was an extended argument on why Israel needs a king, and if 1 Samuel demonstrated that Israel needed a specific kind of king—that is, a king after God’s own heart—2 Samuel will give us a much fuller picture of what Yahweh’s anointed king should look like.
This doesn’t mean that David will be perfect. In fact, we will read in 2 Samuel that David has serious, horrific flaws. But as we study the anointed kingship of David, we will learn more about what God’s ultimate anointed king, the Lord Jesus Christ, will look like—not only in the ways that he must resemble David, but in the ways that he must exceed David as well.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.