2 SAMUEL 1:1-2:11 | JOHN 12:20-50 | PSALM 118:19-29 | PROVERBS 15:27-28
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Saul is dead, and the messenger who brings this news to David is also soon dead. Why the messenger, you ask? Because, it was the principle of it—twice David had opportunity to kill Saul, but both times he does not touch a hair on his head for he believes that Saul is still the anointed one of God and is king of Israel.
But this Amalekite who happens upon Saul in the midst of battle thinks he is doing Saul a favor by putting him out of his misery when he finds that he is still alive almost impaled on his own spear—and proceeds to kill him. But this young man does not find favor in the eyes of David when he brings the news of Saul’s death to him.
David mourns Saul’s death and records a lament on this occasion. Jonathan was like a brother to him, after all, and David always viewed Saul as the anointed king of Israel—despite the great insecurity that Saul harbored ever since David slew the great Goliath. And so, David sings this lament, paying tribute to both Saul and Jonathan:
23 Saul and Jonathan— in life they were loved and admired, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
24 “Daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.
25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.
27 “How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war have perished!”
An end of an era, but certainly the beginning of a new one. We are now, incidentally, into a new book: the second book of Samuel. After the death of Saul, in due time, David inquires of the Lord and goes down to Hebron where he is established king of Judah. However, Judah is one of many provinces in ancient Palestine. One of Saul’s sons is appointed king of the rest of the tribes in succession. There would have been conflict surely between the Houses of David and Saul.
Turning now to our reading in the book of John, Jesus foretells his death, and continues to exhort the people to believe in him as the long-awaited Messiah.
He says quite plainly: “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”
There are many who believe, and yet there are still many others who do not. Jesus continues: “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
Our psalm for the day is a continuation of Psalm 118. David is foretelling the great salvation that is to come with the coming of the Messiah who would be unfortunately rejected by his people. It is Jesus himself who is that cornerstone that David speaks of:
22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
23 the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.
David’s frequent litanies of praise are ones to be emulated. It is never too much or too soon to raise our voices in praise to the Lord. Like David, may we also say:
28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Finally, two verses from the book of Proverbs that are good food for thought. The first one is a straightforward instruction to flee from the giving or getting of bribes. The second is one that reminds us to weigh our responses with care. Solomon, wise king of Israel, says:
27 The greedy bring ruin to their households,
but the one who hates bribes will live.
28 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.