2 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.
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2 Samuel 1:22. The bow of Jonathan returned not back — Without effect. The arrows shot from his bow did not miss their mark, but pierced deep into the fat and flesh, the heart and bowels, and shed the blood of the mighty. The sword of Saul returned not empty — Always did great execution (as we now speak) upon those with whom he fought.

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.Let there be no dew ... - For a similar passionate form of poetical malediction, compare Job 3:3-10; Jeremiah 20:14-18.

Nor fields of offerings - He imprecates such complete barrenness on the soil of Gilboa, that not even enough may grow for an offering of first-fruits. The latter part of the verse is better rendered thus: For there the shield of the mighty was polluted, the shield of Saul was not anointed with oil, but with blood). Shields were usually anointed with oil in preparation for the battle Isaiah 21:5.

21. let there be no dew, neither let there be rain—To be deprived of the genial atmospheric influences which, in those anciently cultivated hills, seem to have reared plenty of first-fruits in the corn harvests, was specified as the greatest calamity the lacerated feelings of the poet could imagine. The curse seems still to lie upon them; for the mountains of Gilboa are naked and sterile.

the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away—To cast away the shield was counted a national disgrace. Yet, on that fatal battle of Gilboa, many of the Jewish soldiers, who had displayed unflinching valor in former battles, forgetful of their own reputation and their country's honor, threw away their shields and fled from the field. This dishonorable and cowardly conduct is alluded to with exquisitely touching pathos.

Turned not back, to wit, without effect: compare Isaiah 45:23 55:2. Their arrows shot from their bows, and their swords, did seldom miss, and commonly pierced fat, and flesh, and blood, and reached even to the heart and bowels.

Empty, i.e. not filled and glutted with blood: for the sword is metaphorically said to have a mouth, which we translate an edge; and to devour, 2 Samuel 2:26 11:25 Jeremiah 2:30 46:10. And this their former successfulness is here mentioned as an aggravation of their last infelicity.

From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back,.... That is, it always did execution, the arrows shot frown it pierced into men, shed their blood, and slew them; even they entered into the fat of the mighty, or mighty ones, that were fat, and brought them down; so the arrows of the Medes and Persians, the expert men among them, are said not to return in vain, Jeremiah 50:9,

and the sword of Saul returned not empty; but was the means of slaying many; though Abarbinel observes also that this may be interpreted of the blood of the slain, and of the fat of the mighty men of Israel; and that though Saul and Jonathan saw many of these fall before their eyes, yet "for" or "because" of their blood, they were not intimidated and restrained from fighting; the bow of the one, and the shield of the other, turned not back on that account.

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.
22. From the blood, &c.] In the figurative language of poetry arrows are represented as drinking blood, the sword as eating flesh. See Deuteronomy 32:42; Isaiah 34:6; Jeremiah 46:10.

the bow of Jonathan] His favourite weapon, by the gift of which he sealed his friendship with David. See 1 Samuel 18:4; 1 Samuel 20:20. Was it a reminiscence of that gift which made David call this elegy the Bow?

Verse 22. - From the blood of the slain. In old time, Saul and Jonathan had been victorious warriors, who had returned from the battlefield stained with the blood of their enemies: from this battle they return no more, and their weapons have lost their old renown. 2 Samuel 1:22Such was the ignominy experienced upon Gilboa by those who had always fought so bravely, that their bow and sword did not turn back until it was satisfied with the blood and fat of the slain. The figure upon which the passage is founded is, that arrows drink the blood of the enemy, and a sword devours their flesh (vid., Deuteronomy 32:42; Isaiah 34:5-6; Jeremiah 46:10). The two principal weapons are divided between Saul and Jonathan, so that the bow is assigned to the latter and the sword to the former.
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