As a nation we recently observed Memorial Day. This is a special day that is set aside for us to reflect upon the men and women who died in service to our country. Without their willingness to step into harm’s way to protect our freedom and interests, we surely would not be where we are today. Although this is a national holiday and not a spiritual one, many great nations have observed memorial days like us. Biblically we do not have records of many of them, but there is one I would like to reference in this brief article.
In 2 Samuel 1:17-27, David is about to be anointed and appointed King over Israel. Before this takes place though, he takes a moment to reflect upon the lives lost in recent war with special emphasis placed upon two great men: King Saul and his friend, Jonathan. King Saul was someone that had been up until recently a great enemy of David. Saul was jealous of his favor among God and the nation and sought to kill him. That did not take place. David instead of reflecting upon those negative engagements, reflected upon the good that Saul did. 2 Samuel 1:24, “O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with luxury; who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.” This verse indicates that David was praising the life of the King because prosperity came from his reign. Surely not all the things that Saul did were righteous, but he still had redeeming qualities.
The second person David remembers in this song is Jonathan. David and Jonathan were best friends. This friendship was so great is led a son away from his father, for good reason. Jonathan wanted no part in killing righteous David, and helped him when he could. His life was lost in battle and David remembers his sacrifice. 2 Samuel 1:25b-27, “Jonathan was slain in your high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me; your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women. How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!”
We see the heart of a King breaking before God in this song of remembrance. The nation of Israel would remember this moment in their “Book of Righteousness” (Jasher, v.18). Let us not forget the men and women who gave their lives like David did not in times of old. God bless us as we seek to do His will.