2 Samuel 1:21
O mountains of Gilboa, may you have no dew or rain, no fields yielding offerings of grain. For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul, no longer anointed with oil.
The Blood of Christ Speaking Better Things than the Blood of SaulA. Brandram, A. M.2 Samuel 1:21
David's Lamentation Over Saul and JonathanD. Fraser 2 Samuel 1:19-27
David's Lament Over SaulJ. Parker, D. D.2 Samuel 1:20-22
The ElegyJ. A. Miller.2 Samuel 1:20-22

Tell it not in Gath, etc. A poetical deprecation; for already had it been told among the Philistines, and triumphed over; and yet would be. The language expresses David's sorrow at the joy of the Philistines, and its cause. The words have often been used to express the concern of good men when Christians give occasion to the enemies of Christ's kingdom to rejoice.


1. In general, the misfortunes of the Church, whatever hinders its advancement or causes reversal.

2. In particular, the inconsistencies of professing Christians. It is amazing how men will gloat over the occasional lapses of Christians into sins which they are themselves habitually committing. Still it is a serious enhancement of the guilt of such lapses that they cause "the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme" (2 Samuel 12:14).

3. Contentions and divisions among Christians. When these are rife, the world is apt to exclaim in scorn, "See how these Christians love one another!"

4. Failures in their work.


1. Hatred of God and goodness. To "rejoice in iniquity" is a sure sign of this; and to rejoice in the enfeebling of the power which most of all tends to its subjugation - the power of Christian life and teaching - is scarcely less so. It is a diabolical joy.

2. The encouragement in sin which is derived from the faults of good men. Sinners feel as if justified in their own sins when Christians fall into them; their guilty consciences are relieved. As if sin in themselves were less sinful because practised by those who profess to have renounced it; or as if the Law of God, Which condemns the Christian's occasional sins, did not at least equally condemn the habitual sins of others. Rather should they remember that the knowledge of the evil of sin by which they condemn others is to their own condemnation (Romans 2:1, 3). They ought, therefore, to take warning instead of indulging satisfaction.


1. They should be careful not needlessly to publish that which will produce it. "Tell it not," etc. Not needlessly; for ofttimes secrecy is impossible, sometimes it would be injurious. We must not deny facts, nor palliate sin, to prevent the triumph of enemies. But we ought not to eagerly announce to the world the occurrences which tend to our humiliation and their exultation.

(1) For the sake of those who would exult. That they may not add to their sins by their unholy joy, nor become more hardened in them.

(2) Lest we should put stumbling blocks in the way of feeble Christians; or

(3) discourage our brethren in their conflicts with evil; or

(4) lessen the power of the testimony of the Church on the side of Christ and holiness.

2. They should be still more careful so to live as to give no occasion for such exultation. "That by well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men" (1 Peter 2:15).

3. They should in no degree imitate it. Which they do when they rejoice at any scandal which arises in another Church that they regard as a rival, or at failure on its part in efforts to do good. Christian love "rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth," and will be grieved at sin wherever it may be found, and at the failure of Christian work by whomsoever it may be done. - G.W.

Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew.
These words form a part of that song of lamentation which David composed after that Saul, and Jonathan his son, had fallen in battle with the Philistines. The death of Saul was in the eyes of David an exceedingly grievous event; an event in connexion with which he considered that no small degree of guilt had been incurred; because Saul was the Lord's anointed: and so grievous, and so guiltful, if we may use such an expression, was that event in the eyes of David, that in this solemn lamentation he imprecates Divine vengeance even upon the very place where the foul deed had been perpetrated; he prays, that henceforth on these mountains of Gilboa there might be neither dew nor rain nor fields of offering. We may take occasion from it to illustrate the enormity of that sin of which those were guilty who embrued their hands in our Saviour's blood; and we may take occasion to draw a like contrast with that which the Apostle has drawn in the case of Abel; and we may dwell with delight upon the encouraging fact, that while the blood of Saul that was thus shed called for vengeance on the very spot where it was shed, the blood of Christ calls for nothing but blessings, the very opposite of these curses.


1. What was the principal circumstance upon which David dwelt, but that Saul was the Lord's anointed? But if it be said of Saul, that he was the Lord's anointed, how much more may it be said of Christ, whose very name — Messiah, signifies the Anointed, or the Christ of God. It was indeed manifest to every unprejudiced mind, by the whole course of our Saviour's history, that he was indeed the Lord's Anointed — the Son of God. It is recorded of Saul, that he had on more than one occasion rejected the Lord, rejected the authority of that God who had caused him to be anointed king over Israel. What shall we say, therefore, in contrast, with reference to our blessed Saviour? He glorified and adorned the doctrines of his heavenly Father, by the most unreserved, entire, and continued obedience; so that the great adversary of man when he came to search and to sift him, could find nothing in him; yea, his very accusers had nothing that they could allege or prove against him, when they had arraigned him.

2. David dwelt upon the disgrace connected with his death, as adding bitterness to the event — that he had been slain by the hands of the Philistines, the sworn enemies of the Children of Israel. If we turn to the history of our blessed Saviour we shall find that there were still more embittered circumstances in his history, which made His cup even still more cruel.

3. If we turn again to the history of Saul, we shall find a variety of other particulars, all lessening the enormity of the guilt; and we shall find the contrast again heighten the guilt of our Saviour's death.

4. And whilst in the ease of Saul, we may observe, that it was made most manifest in the hour of his death, that he had not the fear of God before his eyes, it was made most manifest to all those who surrounded our Saviour as he hung upon the cross, that He was indeed the Son of God.


1. It may be fairly admitted that the language of David is poetical where he prays, that there may be neither dew nor rain upon the mountains of Gilboa; "Ye mountains of Gilboa," etc. And we may, therefore, at once turn to the striking, but all-important contrast which may be obtained as it respects the death of Christ. Had they been dealt with according to their descry-into, the vengeance would have come on those who were guilty of our Saviour's death, and that without remedy.

2. But we shall proceed a little further in this illustration, to show the excellence of the blood-shedding of Christ. And we may take encouragement from this fact, that it was at Jerusalem that the glad tidings of the forgiveness of sins, and of the Spirit of promise, were first to be made known. Surely, if they of Jerusalem — if many of the priests who had been foremost in stirring up the people to ask that Christ might be crucified, if many of these very priests received the dew and the rain of heaven — if many of these very persons were enabled to offer themselves up to God to be His servants for ever, through the merit of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, there are none but may hope that they also, approaching God in the same way, shall also be kept, shall be visited with that grace of the Holy Spirit, and shall be privileged to be numbered among the servants and the children of God.

(A. Brandram, A. M.)

Amalekites, David, Jasher, Jonathan, Saul
Ashkelon, Gath, Gilboa, Mount Gilboa, Ziklag
Anointed, Arms, Cast, Choice, Death, Deep, Defiled, Dew, Fields, Fruits, Gilboa, Gilbo'a, Grain, Heave-offerings, Holy, Loathsome, Longer, Marked, Mighty, Mountains, O, Offerings, Oil, Rain, Rubbed, Saul, Shamed, Shield, Strong, Though, Upsurging, Vilely, Yield
1. The Amalekite who accused himself of Saul's death is slain
17. David laments Saul and Jonathan with a song

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Samuel 1:21

     4814   dew
     4816   drought, physical

2 Samuel 1:17-27

     5086   David, rise of
     5899   lament

The History of the Psalter
[Sidenote: Nature of the Psalter] Corresponding to the book of Proverbs, itself a select library containing Israel's best gnomic literature, is the Psalter, the compendium of the nation's lyrical songs and hymns and prayers. It is the record of the soul experiences of the race. Its language is that of the heart, and its thoughts of common interest to worshipful humanity. It reflects almost every phase of religious feeling: penitence, doubt, remorse, confession, fear, faith, hope, adoration, and
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

The Christ Crowned, the Fact
"When God sought a King for His people of old, He went to the fields to find him; A shepherd was he, with his crook and his lute And a following flock behind him. "O love of the sheep, O joy of the lute, And the sling and the stone for battle; A shepherd was King, the giant was naught, And the enemy driven like cattle. "When God looked to tell of His good will to men, And the Shepherd-King's son whom He gave them; To shepherds, made meek a-caring for sheep, He told of a Christ sent to save them.
by S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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