Unselfish Grief
2 Samuel 1:11, 12
Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him:…

They mourned, and wept (ver. 12). Few things are more remarkable in the character of David than the generosity which he displayed with respect to Saul. He once and again spared his life; and, instead of rejoicing, he was overwhelmed with grief at his death. He entirely lost sight of any advantage which it promised to himself, in his sorrow over the disaster which befell the king, his sons, and the people of Israel. We have here -

I. THE NEWS OF A GREAT CALAMITY, now only too fully confirmed (vers. 5-11). A calamity is deeply affecting when, as in this case, it:

1. Consists of a combination of mournful events (ver. 12).

2. Falls on those who are intimately connected with us.

3. Occurs suddenly and unexpectedly.

4. Involves irreparable loss, and affords little prospect of alleviation.

And the cloud of affliction is peculiarly dark when it is pervaded by Divine wrath (Hosea 13:11). "Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and my acquaintance into darkness" (Psalm 88:18).

II. THE SCENE OF A GRIEVOUS MOURNING. The sincerity and intensity Of David's grief, in which his six hundred men shared, were shown by

(1) rending the garments;

(2) wailing aloud;

(3) fasting;

(4) until the evening;

common signs of sorrow in the East, as genuine as any other, and relieving as well as indicating a burdened heart. What a "day of trouble" was that on which David and his heroes sat there watching the sinking sun! (For other days of a like nature, see 2 Samuel 2:24; 2 Samuel 3:32; 2 Samuel 6:9; 2 Samuel 12:1, 16; 2 Samuel 13:21, 30; 2 Samuel 15:13; 2 Samuel 18:33; 2 Samuel 20:4; 2 Samuel 21:1; 2 Samuel 24:13, 17.)

III. THE PROOF OF AN EXCELLENT DISPOSITION. Sorrow is an evidence of love. David's disposition was:

1. Forgiving toward an enemy. "For Saul."

2. Faithful toward a friend. "For Jonathan his son."

3. Patriotic. "For the house of Israel."

4. Devout. "For the people of the Lord." The uprightness of his heart and the sincerity of his feelings cannot for a moment be doubted by those who read his lament over Saul and Jonathan with an unprejudiced mind. Pretended sorrow never could speak thus (Hengstenberg). "The only deep mourning for Saul, with the exception of the Jabeshites, proceeded from the man whom he had hated and persecuted for so many years, even to the time of his death; just as David's Successor wept over the fate of Jerusalem even when it was about to destroy himself (O. von Gerlach). Observe:

1. That the most generous grief requires to be restrained within due bounds. Its excessive indulgence is injurious and wrong.

2. That the beneficial effect of trouble is not usually experienced at "the present," but "afterward" by means of reflection and submission (Hebrews 12:11).

3. That to the eye of faith the darkest cloud is illumined by Divine goodness and mercy. "At eventide weeping cometh in to tarry for a night; but with the morning cometh a shout of joy" (Psalm 30:5). - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him:

WEB: Then David took hold on his clothes, and tore them; and likewise all the men who were with him.

A Sad End of a Perverse Life
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