“Tell it not in Gath.”

2 Samuel 1:17-27

2 Samuel 1:17, 8

The book of Jasher was probably a collection of national songs and records of heroic acts; it is now lost, for it was not inspired and therefore no special providence preserved its existence. David not only mourned over Saul and Jonathan personally, but he composed an elegy to be sung by the whole nation, and especially by his own tribe. This he entitled “The Bow,” in allusion to the skill in archery for which Jonathan was famous, which is alluded to in the dirge itself David in thus lamenting over the discarded house of Saul, reminds us of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, whose house is left desolate because it knew not its day.

2 Samuel 1:19-27

Dr. Krummacher, in his “David, the King of Israel,” has the following excellent passage, “David did not in his lamentation speak too highly in praise of the King. Was not Saul truly a valiant hero? Did not also that which was gentle and tender oftentimes find an echo in his soul? Did not Jonathan and his other sons shew themselves towards him true and faithful children even unto death? All this at that time hovered before the mind of David. With such recollections as these there was associated a deep, sorrowful compassion for the sad fate of the king. And thus it was David’s genuine feeling and sentiment to which he gave full outspoken expression in his lamentation for the dead. These words of the song—’Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon,’ have, since that time, become a proverb in the circles of the faithful. It is frequently heard when one of their community has failed to take heed to his ways, and, therefore, has given rise to a scandal. Would that the call were more faithfully observed than is usually the case! Would that the honour of the spiritual Zion lay always as near to the heart of the children of the kingdom as did that of the earthly to the heart of David! But how often does it happen that they even strive to disclose before the world the weakness of their brethren, and thus, by a repetition of the wickedness of Ham, become traitors to the Church which Christ has purchased with his own blood. They make themselves guilty of bringing dishonour upon the gospel, by opening the gates to such reproach through their talebearing, and to their own great prejudice they disown the charity which ‘believeth all things and hopeth all things.'”


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