July 1, 2012
Second Samuel 1:1, 7-27
First Samuel, which is about the rise of the Jewish kingdom, is appropriately named, for Samuel is the great kingmaker prophet. Second Samuel ought to be called “David,” for it is the story of the kingship of David. Although it is largely a family saga about who would succeed to the throne, the political kingdom established by David and ruled by his son Solomon, was the most successful, expansive, prosperous period in the history of the ancient Jews.
Today we hear how David received the news of the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan, who was David’s closest friend. The bearer of the news, an Amalekite, tells the story of how the mortally wounded king had asked the Amalekite to kill him. David grieves, then deals with the messenger, than picks up his lyre and signs the great dirge, “The Song of the Bow,” that concludes our reading.
Second Corinthians 8:7-15
This is one of several passages in Paul’s letters about a fund he is raising to send to the struggling Church in Jerusalem. The Corinthians, it seems are comparatively well off, and Paul urges them to share what they have with those who are in need. The comment that Christ was rich, but made himself poor for our sake is usually taken to mean that Christ in his pre-existence in Heaven was rich, but in coming to earth as Jesus he made himself poor.
Arthur H. Cash is a historian and distinguished professor emeritus, State University of New York at New Paltz.