Story Ten

THE SHEPHERD BOY BECOMES A KING
2 Sam. 1; 1 to 4:12
ON the third day after the battle on Mount Ḡĭl˗bṓ ȧ Dā́ vid was at his home in Zĭḱ lăg, on the south of Judah, when a young man came into the town, running, with garments torn and earth on his head, as was the manner of those in deep grief. He hastened to Dā́ vid, and fell down before him. And Dā̆ vid said to him, "From what place have you come?”
And the young man said, "Out of the camp of Ĭś̝ ra-el I have escaped.”
And Dā́ vid said to him, "What has taken place? Tell me quickly.”
Then the man answered, "The men of Ĭś̝ ra-el have been beaten in the battle; very many of them are slain, and the rest have fled away. King Sa̤ul is dead, and so is Jŏń a-than, his son.”
"How do you know that Sa̤ul and Jŏń a-than are dead?" asked Dā́ vid.
And the young man said, "I happened to be on Mount Ḡĭl-bṓ ȧ in the battle; and I saw Sa̤ul leaning upon his spear wounded, and near death, with his enemies close upon him. And he said to me, `Come to me, and kill me, for I am suffering great pain.' So I stood beside and killed him, for I saw that he could not live. And I took the crown that was on his head, and the bracelet on his arm, and I have brought them to you, my lord Dā́ vid.”
Then Dā́ vid and all the men that were with him tore their clothes, and mourned, and wept, and took no food on that day, on account of Sa̤ul, and of Jŏń a-than, and for the people of Ĭś̝ ra-el who had fallen by the sword.
And Dā́ vid said to the young man who had brought to him the news, "Who are you? To what people do you belong?”
And he said, "I am no Ĭś̝ ra-el-īte; I am an Ăḿ a-lĕk-īte.”
"How was it," said Dā́ vid to him, "that you were not afraid to slay the king of Ĭś̝ ra-el, the anointed of the Lord? You shall die for this deed.”
And Dā́ vid commanded one of his men to kill him, because he had said that he had slain the king. He may have told the truth, but it is more likely that he was not in the battle, and that after the fighting he came upon the field to rob the dead bodies, and that he brought a false story of having slain Sa̤ul, hoping to have a reward. But as Dā́ vid would not slay the anointed king, even though he were his enemy, he would not reward, but would rather punish the stranger who claimed to have slain him.
And Dā́ vid wrote a song over the death of Sa̤ul and Jŏń a-than. He taught it to the people of Jū́ dah, and called it
THE SONG OF THE BOW
Thy glory, O Ĭś̝ ra-el, is slain upon thy high places!
How are the mighty fallen!
Tell it not in Găth.
Publish it not in the streets of Ăś ke-lŏn;
Lest the daughters of the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes rejoice,
Lest the daughters of the heathen triumph.
Ye mountains of Ḡĭl-bṓ ȧ,
Let there be no dew nor rain upon you, neither fields of offerings:
For there the shield of the mighty was cast away as a vile thing,
The shield of Sa̤ul, not anointed with oil.
From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty,
The bow of Jŏń a-than turned not back,
And the sword of Sa̤ul returned not empty.
Saul and Jŏń a-than were lovely and pleasant in their lives,
And in their death they were not divided;
They were swifter than eagles,
They were stronger than lions.
Ye daughters of Ĭś̝ ra-el, weep over Sa̤ul,
Who clothed you in scarlet delicately,
Who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel.
O Jŏń a-than, slain upon thy high places!
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jŏń a-than.
Very pleasant hast thou been unto me;
Thy love to me was wonderful,
Passing the love of women.
How are the mighty fallen,
And the weapons of war perished!”
After this, at the command of the Lord, Dā́ vid and his men went up from Ziḱ lăg to Hḗ bron, in the middle of the tribe-land of Jū́ dah. And the men of Jū́ dah met together at Hḗ bron, and they made Dá̄ vid king over their tribe. And Dā́ vid reigned in Hḗ bron, over the tribe of Jū́ dah, for seven years.
But Sa̤ul's uncle, Ăb́ nēr, who had been the chief over his house and over his army, was not willing to have the kingdom go out of the family of Sa̤ul. He made a son of Sa̤ul king over all the tribes in the north of the land. This king was called Ĭsh=bó̄ sheth, a name which means "a worthless man." He was weak and helpless, except for the strong will and power of Ăb́ ne͂r, who had made him king. For six years seemingly under Ĭshbṓ sheth, but really under Ăb́ ne͂r, the form of a kingdom was kept up, while Ĭsh=bṓ sheth was living at Mā-hā̇-ná im, on the east of Jordan.
Thus for a time there were two kingdoms in Ĭś̝ ra-el, that of the north under Ĭsh=bṓ sheth and that of the south under Dā́ vid.
But all the time Dā́vid's kingdom was growing stronger, and Ĭsh=bó sheth's kingdom was growing weaker.
After a 'time Āb́ ne͂r was slain by one of Dā́ vid's men, and at once Ĭsh=bṓ sheth's power dropped away. Then two men of his army killed him, and cut off his head, and brought it to Dā́ vid. They looked for a reward, since Ĭsh=bó̄ sheth had been king against Dā́ vid. But Dā́ vid said, "As the Lord lives, who has brought me out of trouble, I will give no reward to wicked men, who have slain a good man in his own house, and upon his own bed. Take these two murderers away, and kill them!”
So the two slayers of the weak king, Ĭsh=bṓ sheth, were punished with death, and the head of the slain man was buried with honor. Dā́ vid had not forgotten his promise to Sa̤ul to deal kindly with his children.
Lesson 26. The End of Saul's Reign.
(Tell Stories 9 and 10 in Part Third.)
1. What is said of Saul, in the latter part of his reign? The Lord had left Saul.
2. Why did the Lord leave Saul? Because Saul would not obey the Lord.
3. What showed that the Lord had left Saul? There was no one to help him in his need.
4. What people were at war with the Israelites nearly all the time that Saul was king? The Philistines.
5. Where was fought the last battle of Saul's reign? On Mount
6. Which side was beaten in the battle of Mount Gilboa? Saul and the Israelites.
7. What brave man was killed in the battle? Saul's son Jonathan.
8. What did Saul do after this battle? He killed himself.
9. How long had Saul ruled as king? Forty years.
10. What did David do when he heard of Saul's death? He mourned for Saul and Jonathan.
11. After Saul's death what tribe chose David as its king? The tribe of Judah.