|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:17-27 Kasheth, or the bow, probably was the title of this mournful, funeral song. David does not commend Saul for what he was not; and says nothing of his piety or goodness. Jonathan was a dutiful son, Saul an affectionate father, therefore dear to each other. David had reason to say, that Jonathan's love to him was wonderful. Next to the love between Christ and his people, that affection which springs form it, produces the strongest friendship. The trouble of the Lord's people, and triumphs of his enemies, will always grieve true believers, whatever advantages they may obtain by them.
Verse 17. - David lamented with this lamentation. The Hebrew word for "lamentation" is kinah, a technical term for an elegy or poem commemorative of the dead. Thus Jeremiah wrote a kinah in memory of King Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:25); and there is little doubt that the "lamentations" there spoken of were a collection of dirges, in which probably this ode written by David held an honoured place. In 2 Samuel 3:33, 34 we have a short kinah in Abner's honour, which possibly formed part of a longer poem, of which those two verses only are quoted as sufficing to prove, not only David's innocence, but also his indignation at Joab's foul deed. In both these places we have remains of David's secular poetry, and find it marked by the same strong emotion and the same sublimity of thought as distinguish his psalms. We observe also the nobleness of David's nature in his total silence concerning himself, and his generous eulogy, not of Jonathan only, but also of Saul. The mean envy and the implacable jealousy of the latter are no more remembered, and he sees in him, not the personal foe, but the brave king who has fallen in his country's cause.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul, and over Jonathan his son. Composed the following elegy on account of their death, and sung it in a tune agreeable to it, he and the men that were with him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2Sa 1:17-27. David Laments Saul and Jonathan.
17, 18. David lamented with this lamentation—It has always been customary for Eastern people, on the death of great kings and warriors, to celebrate their qualities and deeds in funeral songs. This inimitable pathetic elegy is supposed by many writers to have become a national war song, and to have been taught to the young Israelites under the name of "The Bow," in conformity with the practice of Hebrew and many classical writers in giving titles to their songs from the principal theme (Ps 22:1; 56:1; 60:1; 80:1; 100:1). Although the words "the use of" are a supplement by our translators, they may be rightly introduced, for the natural sense of this parenthetical verse is, that David took immediate measures for instructing the people in the knowledge and practice of archery, their great inferiority to the enemy in this military arm having been the main cause of the late national disaster.
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