"Tell It Not In Gath"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 191

Context: At his encampment as Ziklag, the young warrior, David, awaits news of the encounter of King Saul and his sons against the Philistines. On the third day a disheveled Amalekite messenger presents himself to David and discloses that the Israelite forces have been routed at Gilboa and that King Saul and his son Jonathon are among the many soldiers who have been slain. The courier, presenting Saul's crown and bracelet to David, swears that, at the command of the wounded king, he himself delivered the death-blow to Saul. Having ordered the Amalekite messenger killed, David leads the Israelites in mourning for their dead king:

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The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!
Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets or Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil.

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