Today we are reading David’s eulogy for Saul and Jonathan, Saul’s son. Both of them fell in battle. David’s relationship to Saul, the first king of Israel, was complicated. They had been close, David even became Saul’s son-in-law, but Saul also feared David as a prospective king. When Saul threatened to kill David, David was forced to go into exile. And there he remained, even fighting for the enemy army, until Saul died. But throughout his flight and perils, David always remained respectful to Saul, the king. Twice David was presented with the opportunity to kill Saul, and twice he refrained from doing so. And now, after Saul’s death, we witness David’s heartfelt lament for the fallen war heroes.
David’s example teaches us how to deal with our enemies. He does not let his response be dictated by Saul’s wrongdoing. David is his own man, and he does what he believes to be right, even when times get tough. David lived long before Jesus walked the earth, but it is as if Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” are alive in David’s actions.
Gracious Lord, help us to be agents of your peace, always. Amen. — KLB