After king Saul was killed in battle, David sang a dirge to commemorate the powerful warrior that had sought to kill him. Three times in his song David chants, “How are the mighty fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:19, 25, 27). He is not asking a question, but stating the fact that a proven warrior has gone down in battle. As we commemorate our veterans who have given their lives for their country, so David wanted to bring honor to the first king of Israel.
Although Saul’s life had ended in tragedy, David wanted people to remember that much good had been accomplished during king Saul’s reign. In his song, David also acknowledged the death of Saul’s son Jonathon. There was no better way for David to express his sadness over the loss of his good friend Jonathon than with these words:
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathon: Very pleasant hast thou been unto me: Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished! (2 Samuel 1:26-27)
David and Jonathon were more than companions. I think the best way to describe their relationship would be kindred spirits. When David referred to Jonathon as his brother, he was not speaking of their relationship in a legal sense, but a spiritual sense. You could say David and Jonathon were brothers in the Lord, they shared a common faith much as Believers today do. Their love for each other was supernatural or what is referred to as agape lover, the kind of love God has for his children.
The loss of Jonathon made David’s transition to being king a bitter sweet experience. Jonathon imagined himself by David’s side as he ruled over Israel, but in actuality, all of Saul’s sons were killed except one who escaped and later became crippled. Saul’s disobedience affected the lives of everyone around him and when he died, his legacy went with him. It was truly a very sad ending to what was once a wonderful life.