Tell It Not in Gath

Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice (2 Samuel 1:20 NIV).

Here we are in the beginning of the lament which David composed concerning Saul and Jonathan when he had heard of their death from the mouth of an Amalekite. David’s whole reaction at the news is testimony to the very sensitive heart he had. He mourned and fasted and wept till evening and then had the Amalekite killed because he himself testified that he had killed Saul.

David knew that God had chosen him in place of Saul to be king over Israel. Judging by all human standards, he should have been the one to rejoice the most at the death of Saul. It was not that he would receive the kingship now. There was more to it because Saul had pursued him relentlessly in order to kill him. Yet we find David weeping and mourning; instead of rejoicing.

In the lament he exclaims wonder at how the mighty had fallen! But he does not want this to be told in Gath nor proclaimed in the streets of Ashkelon. Gath and Ashkelon were prominent cities of the Philistines. Saul and Jonathan had died in the war against them. Definitely they would rejoice at this news. So David, tells everyone not to proclaim it in the cities of the enemies because they would despise the people of God. This in turn would bring God’s name and honor into disrepute. Do we share this concern when the spiritual giants fall for some reason or the other? Do we weep and mourn and fast when the mighty are fallen? Or do we take the lead to proclaim the news before unbelievers?