"How Are The Mighty Fallen"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 165

Context: David, having regained all that the Amalekites had captured from the Israelites, has established his camp at Ziklag to await news of the encounter that King Saul and his sons have led against the Philistines. On the third day a man with torn clothing and dirt upon his head presents himself to David with the message that Saul, his son Jonathan, and many Israelites have died in battle at Gilboa and that the Israelite forces have been routed. The messenger reports that Saul, badly wounded, asked him, an Amalekite, to take the sword of the king and kill him. The messenger gives Saul's crown and bracelet to David. David and his men tear their garments, weep, mourn, and fast for Saul, Jonathan, and the Israelites lost in battle. David, after ordering that the Amalekite who has slain Saul be killed, utters a moving lament:

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How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.

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