When an enemy dies or is injured, typically the many will rejoice. But Saul was not an enemy to David, even though Saul hunted David like a dog with an intent to kill him. But David recognized him as the Lord’s anointed.
When Saul was killed in battle, the news of his death was brought to David by a young Amalekite, of the people group that just recently stolen everything from David. Obviously this was one of the young escapees.
The young man told him the Saul was killed in battle. Jonathan also. When David questioned him to verify the truth, the man said that Saul was dying and asked to be finished off. So the young man did just that.
Then David confronted the man,
“How is it that you were not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed?” (2 Sam 1:14).
He had committed a treacherous act and David even in this moment defended and respected the LORD’s anointed, and he had the man killed because he had confessed freely to his crime.
Then David sang a funeral dirge with great sorrow, one remembering Saul and his best friend Jonathan. David mourned deeply.
Again it is amazing how deeply David honored the anointing of the Lord. Even though Saul had turned evil and was set on killing David, David still honored him because of the Lord’s anointing. And his sorrow at his death was deep.
It makes me think of the Navy Seals. They are taught and must know that they cannot be a leader unless they are first a good follower. In the same way, it was important for David to honor the Lord’s anointing so that when he became leader, he could rightly lead well.