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The Reciting of the Psalm of the Bow

II Samuel 1:17-27

Victor M. Eskew


1.     Outline the text:


i.                    DAVID DISCLOSES HIS SORROW (II Sam. 1:17-18)

ii.                  DADIV DESCRIBES THE DEFEAT(II Sam 1:19)

iii.                DAVID DISALLOWS AN ANNOUNCMENT (II Sam. 1:20)

iv.                DAVID DENOUNCES MOUNT GILBOA (II Sam. 1:21)

v.                  DAVID DELIBERATES ON SAUL AND JONATHAN (II Sam. 1:22-23)

vi.                DAVID DIRECTS THE DAUGHTERS OF ISRAEL (II Sam. 1:24)

vii.              DAVID DISTRESSES OVER JONATHAN (II Sam. 1:25-27)


2.    For whom did David lament? (II Sam. 1:17)


And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son.


A.    Saul and Jonathan


3.    Define:  lamented (II Sam. 1:17)


A.    Strong (6969): to chant or wail


B.      BDB:  to chant a dirge, chant, wail, lament


4.    What did David say should be taught the children of Judah? (II Sam. 1:18)


(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow…


A.    The use of the bow

1.        Notice in the KJV, the words “the use of” are in italics, meaning, they were not in the original manuscript.  They were supplied by the translators.

2.       The text read:  “…teach the children of Israel the bow…”

3.       The words of “The Bow” follow.  It was the title of a psalm.  Thus, many refer to it as “The Psalm/Song of the Bow.”


B.      Here, it possibly commended the bow of Jonathan (See II Sam. 2:22)


C.     “It is one of the finest odes of the Old Testament; full of lofty sentiment, and springing from deep and sanctified emotion, in which, without the slightest allusion to his own relation to the fallen king, David celebrates without envy the bravery and virtues of Saul and his son Jonathan, and bitterly laments their loss” (Keil and Delitzsch, e-sword).


5.    In what book can this be found? (II Sam. 1:18)


…behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)


A.    The book of Jasher


6.    What is “the book of Jasher”? (II Sam. 1:18)


A.    This book is mentioned twice in the Bible (II Sam. 1:18; Josh. 10:13).


And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.  Is not this written in the book of Jasher?  So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.


B.      Barnes:  “It has been further suggested that in the Book of Jasher there was, among other things, a collection of poems, in which special mention was made of the bow. This was one of them. 1Sa_2:1-10 was another; Num_21:27-30 was another; Lam. 2 was another; Lam. 3 was another; Jacob’s blessing Gen. 49; Moses’ song Deut. 32; perhaps his Blessing (Deut. 33. See 2 Sam. 1:29); and such Psalms as Ps. 44; Psa_46:1-11; Psa_76:1-12, etc.; Hab. 3; and Zec_9:9-17, also belonged to it. The title by which all the poems in this collection were distinguished was קשׁת qesheth, “the bow” (e-sword).


7.    “The beauty of Israel is slain upon they high places” (II Sam. 1:19)


8.    Define:  beauty (II Sam. 1:19)


A.    Strong (6643):  in the sense of prominence, splendor


B.      Thayer:  beauty, glory, honor


C.     Barnes:  Saul and Jonathan were the chief ornament and pride of Israel.


9.    “…how are the mighty fallen!” (II Sam. 1:19)


A.    Keil and Delitzsch

1.        The song has three strophes (vs. 19-24, vs. 25-26, vs. 27)

2.       Each strophe begins with “how are the mighty fallen.”

3.       K&D:  “The first contains all that had to be said in praise of the fallen heroes; the deepest mourning for their death; and praise of their bravery, of their inseparable love, and of the virtues of Saul as king. The second commemorates the friendship between David and Jonathan. The third simply utters the last sigh, with which the elegy becomes silent” (e-sword).


B.      Saul and Jonathan were not only beautiful, they were also mighty.

1.        Strong (1368):  powerful, warrior       :- champion, chief, mighty man, mighty one, strong man, valiant man

2.       BDB:  strong, brave, mighty


10.  What two cities did David not want to hear the news of Saul’s death? (II Sam. 1:20)


Tell is not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon.


A.                Gath and Askelon


B.                  These were two lordships of the Philistines, that is, the place where their lord lived.


C.                 These were major cities with a large population of Philistines.




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11.   Why didn’t he want them to hear the news? (II Sam. 1:20)


…lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.


A.    He knew the women of the Philistines would rejoice at the news.  It was customary for the women to come out to meet the returning armies with rejoicing when battles were won (See I Sam. 18:6).


B.      He was keenly aware that the women of the Philistines would glory in their victory.


12.  What three things did David not want to come upon the mountains of Gilboa” (II Sam. 1:21)


Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, nor fields of offerings…


A.    No dew


B.      No rain


C.     No fields of offerings  (NOTE:  From the fruit of trees, the first fruits were offered to God).


13.  What had been vilely cast away? (II Sam. 1:21)


…for the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away.


A.    The shield of the mighty


B.      Vilely

1.        Strong (1602):  to detest, reject.

2.       BDB:  to abhor, loath, fall, to be defiled


14.  “…as though he had not been anointed with oil” (II Sam. 1:21)


A.    Saul’s and Jonathan’s bodies had not been treated with reverence.  They were beheaded and their bodies were pinned to the wall of Beth-shan (See I Sam. 31:8-10).


15.  What is the meaning of II Samuel 1:22?


From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty.


A.    Saul and Jonathans were brave and mighty warriors.


B.      The arrow shot from Jonathan’s bow were designed to draw blood.  The sword from Saul’s side was designed to cut the flesh from the body.


C.     These two men did not turn back from the battle.  Their weapons did not return empty when they used them.  Their weapons of war accomplished the purpose for which they were intended.


16.  “Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives…” (II Sam. 1:23)


A.    Definitions:

1.        Lovely

a.       Strong (157):  to be loved

b.      BDB:  lovely, lovable, liked

2.       Pleasant

a.       Strong (5273):  delightful

b.      BDB:  pleasant, delightful, sweet, lovely agreeable


B.      “In his mourning over the death of the fallen hero, David forgets all the injury that Saul has inflicted upon him, so that he only brings out and celebrates the more amiable aspects of his character” (K&D, e-sword).


17.  T – F  Saul and Jonathan were divided in their deaths (II Sam. 1:23)


…and in their death there were not divided…


A.    False


B.      There were many things that could have divided them.

1.        Their personalities

2.       Their friendship/hatred of David

3.       Their view of the kingdom after Saul


C.     Somehow they persevered and were not divided in their death. 


D.    QUESTION:  How many people who should have been closely linked together have been divided from one another in the hour of death?


18.  “…they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions” (II Sam. 1:23).


A.    These were leading characteristics of great warriors of the day.


B.      Being swift and mighty enabled the warrior to defeat his enemy.


19.  What group of women was commanded to “weep over Saul”? (II Sam. 1:24)


Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul…


A.    The daughters of Israel



B.      These were the mothers, the wives, the sisters, and the daughters of the fighting men, along with all other women who were tied to the battle in some way.


20.  What had Saul done for these women? (II Sam. 1:24)


…who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel.


A.    Clothed them in scarlet


B.      Clothed them in other delights


C.     Put ornaments of gold upon their apparel.


D.    NOTE:  Most likely these things involved the spoils of battle brought back by Saul after his many victories over enemy nations.


21.  ”How are the mighty fallen in the midst of battle!” (II Sam. 1:25)


A.    This is the beginning of the second strophe of the psalm.


B.      This reflection applies only to Jonathan.


22.  T- F   Jonathan was slain in the high places. (II Sam. 1:25)


...O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.


A.    True


B.      This refers to his being killed in the mountains of Gilboa.


23.  T – F  David was distressed over Jonathan. (II Sam. 1:26)


I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan...


A.    True


24.  Define:  distressed


A.    Strong (6887):  to cramp


B.      BDB:  to bind, to be narrow, to be in distress, to press hard upon, to suffer distress


25.  “…very pleasant hast thou been unto me…” (II Sam. 1:26)


26.  Define:  pleasant


A.    Strong (5276):  to be agreeable


B.      BDB:  to be pleasant, be beautiful, be sweet, be delightful, be lovely


27.  What two descriptions did David give of Jonathan’s love toward him? (II Sam. 1:26)


…thy love was wonderful to me, passing the love of women.




A.    Wonderful to me

1.        Definition

a.       Strong (6381):  to separate, distinguish, wonderful

b.      BDB:  to be marvelous, be wonderful, be surpassing, be extraordinary, separate by distinguishing action


B.      Passing the love of women

1.        The word “passing” means “more than” the love of women

2.       David had three wives.  They loved him and were loyal to him.  However, Jonathan’s love for David and his loyalty to him was greater than the love his wives had for him.  Jonathan had demonstrated this time and again.

3.       A LGBTQ “proof-text”

a.       Argument:

1)       The text compares “the love of women” to Jonathan’s love for David.

2)      The LGBTQ mind immediately brings sex into the equation.

3)      Since men and women show love for one another through sexual expression, then they assume David and Jonathan must have shared a sexual relationship with one another.  This, they say, proves that a loving homosexual relationship is approved in the Scriptures.

b.      Answer:

1)       Love, even between men and women, does not have to involve a sexual avenue (love for mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, and for sisters in Christ).  NOTE:  A man could say:  “My mother’s love for me was greater than my wife’s love for me.”   First, can this be a true statement?  Second, does it necessarily involve an incestuous relationship?

2)      There are many expressions of love that can be shown other than sexual expression.

a)      Loyalty

b)     Confidentiality

c)      Protection

d)     Provision

e)      Comfort in afflictions

3)      As we read about David’s and Jonathan’s friendship in I Samuel, we see all of these things expressed.   There is not one, not one, indication of any type of sexual relationship.  This is just an assumption by the LGBTQ community.  We DO NOT base our believes on assumptions made about the Scriptures.

4)      We know that David and Jonathan did not have this type of relationship.  Both of them were loyal to the Law of Moses.  The law forbade such a relationship (See Lev. 18:22; 20:13).


If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination:  they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.


28.  What happens to the weapons of war when the mighty fall? (II Sam. 1:27)


How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!


A.    The weapons of war perish.


B.      NOTE:  This does not mean the weapons of war cease to exist.

1.        Weapons are only tools. 

2.       Weapons are only effective in the hands of the warrior who uses them.

3.       When the warrior dies, the weapon become ineffective.  It can no longer be wielded by him.







The Reign of David Begins

II Samuel 2:1-11


Victor M. Eskew


1.     Outline the text:


i.                    II SAMUEL 2:1-3

ii.                  II SAMUEL 2:4a

iii.                II SAMUEL 2:4b-7

iv.                II SAMUEL 4:8-11


2.    Of whom did David make inquiry? (II Sam. 2:1)


3.    What was David’s question? (II Sam. 2:1).


4.    T – F  God did not want David to go into Judah. (II Sam. 2:1)


5.    What was David’s second questioned posed to God? (II Sam. 2:1)


6.    Into which city was David to go? (II Sam. 2:1)


7.    T – F  David feared to go to Hebron. (II Sam. 2:2)


8.    Which of David’s wives went with him to Hebron? (II Sam. 2:2)






9.    T- F   David left his men behind? (II Sam. 2:3)


10.  David’s men ( were     were not ) allowed to bring their households. (II Sam. 2:3)


11.   Who came to anoint David king? (II Sam. 2:4)


12.  David was anointed “king over the house of ______________________” (II Sam. 2:4).


13.  Who was David told that buried the body of Saul? (II Sam 2:4)


14.  Who did David send to the men of Jabesh-gilead? (I Sam. 2:5)


15.  “…and said unto them _______________ be ye of the _____________________” (II Sam. 2:5).


16.  When the men of Jabesh-gilead buried the body of Saul, what kind of act did they commit? (II Sam. 2:5).


17.  What two things did David want the Lord to show unto the men of Jabesh-gilead? (II Sam. 2:6)






18.  T – F  David also promised to requite kindness to the men of Jabesh-gilead. (II Sam. 2:6)

19.  “Therefore now let your __________________ be ___________________, and be ye _______________” (II Sam. 2:7).


20.  What did David hope would encourage them, even though Saul was dead? (II Sam. 2:7)


21.  What two descriptions are we given of Abner? (II Sam. 2:8)






22.  Who did Abner bring to Mahanaim? (II Sam. 2:8)


23.  Who was Ish-bosheth? (II Sam. 2:8)


24.  T – F  Abner made Ish-bosheth king? (II Sam. 2:9)


25.  Who was Ish-bosheth made king over? (II Sam. 2:9)














26.  How old was Ish-bosheth when he became king? (II Sam. 2:10)


27.  How long did Ish-bosheth reign over Israel? (II Sam. 2:10)


28.  How long was David over the house of Judah? (II Sam. 2:11)