|II Samuel 1:17-22: "David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son
Jonathan and ordered that the men of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written
in the Book of Jashar):
Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights.
How the mighty have fallen!
Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Askelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.
O mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
nor fields that yield offerings of grain.
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
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."
|"A tragedy is a story that begins in joy but ends in pain. A
comedy is a story that begins in pain, but ends in joy."
|King Saul's rule, which began with such promise, quickly turned to
disobedience against God, proceeded to implode in distrust and madness, and ended in
pettiness and defeat. Yet David still chose to eulogize Saul, for David felt greatly the
loss of his life and life's purpose. What value should we find in reading the lives of
those who fail? While the Christian vision is ultimately hopeful in its implications, it
can embrace and discern a more immediate tragic understanding. After all, the costs of sin
to the lives of Lot, Saul, Manasseh, and Ananias and Sapphira are all sad and
disappointing. Tragedies teach us the great value of human loss. We can catch something of
the broken heart of God over our broken world. At times, the tragic vision also extends to
the lessons we learn through our fallenness. David's adultery with Bathsheba and his
murder of Uriah, cost him and his family and his kingdom greatly, and consequently, he
learned a deeper lesson not only in sin's price but in God's forgiveness. Having said
this, one should not forget that the final vision of the Christian faith is not tragic but
deeply hopeful--a restored world, a new heaven and earth.
Tragedies can teach us about the
consequences of sin in a fallen world.
Suggestions for Application:
Discuss a tragic element of the work within the context of Christian reflection and
compassion for sinful consequences.