The Fall of the Mighty
2 Samuel 1:25
How are the mighty fallen in the middle of the battle! O Jonathan, you were slain in your high places.

The mighty, you know, are the puissant and great; and persons may be styled mighty on account of their birth, station, abilities, or noble exploits. This title is given in common to the kings, princes, and nobles of the earth: but the term is more peculiarly adapted to persons of s military profession, and fitly sets forth a champion or general experienced in war. They are properly mighty who are justly renowned for their valour and skill, like the princes of Israel, recorded in 1 Chronicles 26. And this idea of the word agreeth with the character of those whose decease David mourns. "How are the mighty fallen!" Fallen indeed! Not merely fallen. A general may fall from his horse, or by a dangerous wound. But from such falls the mighty may recover, rise up again, speak with the enemy, and gloriously triumph in the end. The mighty are fallen; fallen like Sisera (Judges 5:27) fallen down dead. This is his sorrowful dirge! 'Tis added, "And the weapons of war perished!" I cannot be of opinion that this is to be taken in a literal sense, as though the loss of these instruments of war, properly speaking, grieved the soul of the Psalmist. Could the value of any number of weapons which can with reason be supposed to be broken or lost on this fatal defeat, demand so deep a lamentation; and especially after weeping over the mighty themselves, who were famous for handling the instruments of battle with skill and success? It seems evident to me that David concludes the elegy with a figure, under which he describes those eminent persons whose fall he bewails. The mighty who are fallen, and the weapons of war, are one and the same.

I. CONSIDER THE FACT, namely, that the noblest of princes, or the most valiant and honourable of the earth, are liable to fall. Death reigns over all without distinction, under the prince of life, our exalted Saviour, who is alive from the dead, anti hath the keys of the grave. Crowns and sceptres, thrones and palaces, and the whole force of the mighty, secure them not for an hour; yea, not for a moment from the domination of darkness.


1. That when the mighty fall, in proportion to their zeal, puissance, and highness, the glory of a people is departed.

2. By the fall of the mighty the strength of a people is impaired, which is another reason for mourning when such are removed. The mighty, in proportion to their rank and activity, for the welfare of the public, are the defence of a nation.

3. The known disposition of the enemies of a land to rejoice, and to avail themselves of the loss a people sustain when their mighty men die, is a further reason for mourning their fall. On this account we have seen David enjoin it on Israel, not to spread the melancholy report of Jonathan and Saul.

4. Individuals have just cause of mourning the fall of great men, on account of the general grief that spreads through the nation. Under such awful strokes the land mourns, and every one who seeks its prosperity is sensibly afflicted.

II. Since the mighty fall, and die, as other men, and since the most noble and valiant are liable thus suddenly to perish, LET US TAKE HEED THAT WE DO NOT PLACE AN ABSOLUTE DEPENDENCE UPON THEM. Under God, there is a just expectation and confidence in wise and good princes: we see they are in some measure the glory and defence of a land; and are doubtless to be honoured and trusted; yet, since they must die, and may be cut down in a moment, our ultimate hope should not be in them. This also shows it to be foolish and vain for great men to exalt themselves as though they were gods, and the baseness of those sycophants who at any time flatter them; such instances are upon record. In one word, when the mighty fall, how vain is this world in its best estate, how uncertain and transitory its honour and beauty l The advantages gained by the exploits of the greatest men on earth are temporal, but one thing is needful, an interest in the triumphs of the cross, and the redemption obtained by the blood of the Son of God.

(B. Wallin.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.

WEB: How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places.

The Dirge of the Mighty
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