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Scripture Story: 1 Samuel 29; 30; 2 Samuel 1.

Commentary: Patriarchs and Prophets (or Beginning of the End), chapter 68.

a sad end

Photo by Lew Campbell


“Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.” (2 Samuel 1:11, 12, NIV)


“David seemed to be cut off from every human support. All that he held dear on earth had been swept from him. Saul had driven him from his country; the Philistines had driven him from the camp; the Amalekites had plundered his city; his wives and children had been made prisoners; and his own familiar friends had banded against him, and threatened him even with death. In this hour of utmost extremity David, instead of permitting his mind to dwell upon these painful circumstances, looked earnestly to God for help. He ‘encouraged himself in the Lord’” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 692).

what do you think?

Which do you like better, the beginning of a long journey or the ending of one? Explain your answer:

Do you remember a particularly trying time in your life that you wished would come to an end? What did you learn from that experience?

did you know?

Do you know the meaning of the word “lament”? To lament something is to show grief, sorrow, or regret by way of a song or poem.


David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):

“’A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel. How the mighty have fallen!

“‘Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.

“ ‘Mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, may no showers fall on yhour terraced fields. For there the shield of the mighty was despised, the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.

“‘From the blood of the slain, from the flesh of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.

“‘Saul and Jonathan—in life they were loved and admired, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.

“‘Daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.

“‘How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights.

“‘I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.

“‘How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war have perished!’”

(2 Samuel 1:17-27, NIV)


Who is the main character in this passage?

Who is the audience that is listening to David’s lament?

What do you think is the objective of David’s lament? Why does he make all the men of Judah learn the lament and share in its presentation?

Who are the minor characters in this passage? (Circle them.)

List three phrases or lines in the lament that are especially emotional.

What lesson(s) can you learn from this passage?

punch lines

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1, NIV).

“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you” (Job 22:21, NIV).

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make your way straight before me” (Psalm 5:8, NIV).

My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away” (Psalm 38:11, NIV).

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13, NIV).

further insight

“The angels of heaven are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 639.

“We know not what results a day, an hour, or a moment may determine, and never should we begin the day without committing our ways to our heavenly Father. His angels are appointed to watch over us, and if we put ourselves under their guardianship, then in every time of danger they will be at our right hand.” —Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 341.



Read Ecclesiastes 7:8.

Read and respond to the What Do You Think? questions in this week’s lesson. Life is filled with beginnings and endings, journeys started and ended, projects begun and finished. In this week’s study, David’s life as a fugitive comes to an end, as does Saul’s life of disobedience to God.

Do you agree with Solomon’s opinion in Ecclesiastes 7:8? Do you agree?

How are Solomon’s words applicable to the experience his father went through while running from Saul?


Read 1 Samuel 30.

As you read the Into the Story passage and complete the Out of the Story study questions, keep the setting in mind. David, his men, and their families have just returned to their burned-out homes after a daring rescue from the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30).

As they struggle to survey the damage to the city and their homes, an Amalekite brings news of Saul’s and Jonathan’s deaths. Remember, David respected Saul, and he loved Jonathan.

What do you think David felt as all of these events came together at once?


Read 2 Samuel 1:5-15.

The news of Saul’s and Jonathan’s deaths devastated David and his men. Read 2 Samuel 1:5-10. How did David and his men find out about Saul’s and Jonathan’s deaths?

What did David do to the Amalekite who killed Saul (2 Samuel 1:14, 15)?


What does this act tell you about David’s respect for the person God chose to be king?


Read 1 Samuel 27:1-4 and 29:1-7.

Read the Flashlight focus for this week. Ellen White is writing about one of the lowest moments in David’s life. As great as David was, he was not without human flaws. As he fled from Saul, David made a pact with Achish, a Philistine commander, and hid among his people.

How did the alliance fall apart?

Why did David put his safety and that of his people in the hands of an enemy? What does this say about his trust in God’s protection?


As you read this week’s Punch Lines, focus on the promise given to us by God in each one. God’s promises are always conditional upon our obedience. Choose two scriptures from the Punch Lines list and state below the promises God makes and the conditions we must meet to receive them.



Read Job 22:21.

Do you know of someone at your church, school, or in your community who has been hurt or killed? What can you do to help this person and/or their loved ones during this difficult time?

Not sure what to do? Why not ask God to show you how to help, then talk with your parents, pastor, and youth leader to get ideas about what you can do.


Read Psalm 38:11.

When King David and his men returned to Ziklag—their home among the Philistines— following their broken alliance, they found the city in flames and their families taken captive.

The Amalekites were exacting revenge on David for his raids on them. David’s alliance with the Philistines brought him much trouble. How did David’s failure to trust God affect those around him? How do your failures to obey God affect others?

Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

this week’s reading*

Patriarchs and Prophets (or Beginning of the End), chapter 68.

*Beginning of the End is a special adaptation of Patriarchs and Prophets, created for you by the Ellen G. White Estate and Pacific Press. Get more information about it at By following the weekly reading plan, you will read at least one book of the Conflict of the Ages Series each year.