2 Samuel 1:23 NASB

“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions.

When Saul is finally killed David laments over him and describes him together with Jonathan as pleasant.But Saul had done many unpleasant things not only to David but also to God as well as the Israelites.

1)Saul performs an unsanctioned sacrifice(1 Sam 13)

2)Saul forces the Israelites to fight on an empty stomach(1 Sam 14)

3)Saul disobeys God concerning the amalekites(1 Sam 15)

4)Saul turns against David(1 Sam 16)

5)Saul tries to kill David(1 Sam 19)

6)Saul tries to kill his own son Jonathan(1 Sam 20)

7)Saul kills the priest at Nob(1 Sam 22)

8)Saul chases after David(1 Sam 24)

9)Saul consults the spirit medium(1 Sam 28)

It does seems Saul;s reign was littered with a lot of inconsistency which David bore the full brunt of.

Why then does David say he was pleasant?

  • See 1 Samuel 9:2.
    – Lucian
    Aug 8, 2019 at 0:01
  • @lucian,was this not referring to his outward appearance Aug 8, 2019 at 5:16
  • Nice-looking people are usually liked by others.
    – Lucian
    Aug 9, 2019 at 18:41

1 Answer 1


The OP has asked a very valid question as Saul, from this vantage point of history, appears to have been a disastrous king of Israel. However, his early life was quite different and successful.

Ellicott offers the simplest solution to this question:

(23) Lovely and pleasant.--This applies peculiarly to Jonathan, but also in a good degree to Saul in his earlier years and his better moments, which David chose at this moment to recall. It also applies truthfully to them both in their relations to each other.

  • 1
    Giving praise to dead king who did evil because of good early life is illogical. David as warlord and gold-giver showing respect to man skilled in same professions seems more likely. Aug 7, 2019 at 17:54
  • David wanted to say something good about Saul out of respect for the fact that Saul had been "the Lord's Anointed".
    – moron
    Aug 29, 2021 at 0:36

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