By Scott Tibbs, August 16, 2013
When King Saul disobeyed God and was told the kingdom of Israel would be taken away from him, he became increasingly paranoid and attempted to murder David. Despite Saul's wickedness and repeated attempts to murder him, David refused to raise his hand against the Lord's anointed king.
David's devotion to Saul and his devotion to God was demonstrated again in II Samuel chapter 1. In the last chapter of I Samuel, Saul killed himself by falling on his sword rather than be captured by the Philistines, who would likely torture him. After the battle, an Amalekite stole Saul's crown and bracelet and presented it to David. The Amalekite lied and said he had killed Saul to prevent him from being tortured.
He thought David would reward him for killing David's enemy. He could not have been more wrong.
David (who had no way to know whether what the man was saying was true or not) ordered his men to execute the Amalekite for killing the Lord's anointed king - he had condemned himself by his own mouth and the fact that he had physical evidence gave his story credibility. David tore his clothes and loudly mourned for King Saul, composing a psalm to remember the fallen king as a great man.
Keep in mind that Saul had spent many years trying to murder David, had given David's wife to another man and dealt treacherously with David. Saul even tried to murder his own son, Jonathan, for helping David. There was nothing positive about the way the wicked king had dealt with his righteous servant. There was no earthly reason for David to do anything other than celebrate the death of the wicked king and be relieved that his tormentor was dead.
That is not how this righteous man reacted. He loved God and he loved God's law. He mourned the passing of the Lord's anointed king, but it was not simply respect for God's anointing of Saul as king that drove David to execute the man who appeared to have murdered Saul. David clearly loved Saul even though Saul had treated him so badly. David's humble and forgiving spirit serve as an example to all of us to follow.
A wicked king and his righteous servant, Part I