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The Lord's Anointed.
pp. 175, 176
As one reads the concluding chapter of I Samuel, with the tragic story of Saul's
death, and then continues on into II Samuel and reads David's lament, one is impressed
with the great contrast that is found in these two references to the one subject.
The Amalekite apparently reckoned that his story of the death of Saul would give him
favour in the eyes of his successor David, and reckoning according to the flesh he was
doubtless justified. David, however, viewed the event and story in quite a different light.
Instead of rewarding the messenger and exhibiting pleasure or satisfaction at the news he
brought, David said unto him:--
"Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. And
David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thy hand to destroy the
Lord's anointed? And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall
upon him. And he smote him that he died. And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon
thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slayed the Lord's
Anointed" (II Sam. 1: 13-16).
Then David lamented Saul in words that he afterward taught the children of Israel. He
opens his lamentation with the words:--
"Thy heart, Israel, is slain upon the high places; How are the mighty fallen!" (verse 19).
Further on he says:--
"Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives" (verse 23).
When one reviews the long persecution which David suffered at the hands of Saul, the
words "lovely and pleasant" sound strangely in our ears. Both words ("love" and
"pleasant') are used of Jonathan:--
"I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant hast thou been unto me;
thou love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women" (verse 26).
This we can understand, but how could David use them of Saul? The secret of
David's regard for Saul lies in the words "The Lord's Anointed". In the days of his
persecution, though tempted by his advisers and his extreme need, he refrained from
killing Saul when he had the power so to do. On one occasion he cut off the skirt of
Saul's robe, yet so tender a conscience did David keep, we read that:--
"David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. And he said unto his
men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord's anointed,
to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord"
(I Sam. 24: 6).