II Samuel 21

When we are under God’s judgments, we should inquire the grounds of the controversy,
and when the cause is revealed, should go to all lengths to make right the wrongs of the past,
that God’s full blessing may be renewed upon us.

1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.

2 And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)

3 Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LORD?

4 And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you.

5 And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel,

6 Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give them.

7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD’S oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.

8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:

9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.

10 ¶ And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.

11 And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.

12 ¶ And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, which had stolen them from the street of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:

13 And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged.

14 And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was intreated for the land.

15 ¶ Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint.

16 And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David.

17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.

18 And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant.

19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Beth-lehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.

21 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him.

22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.

2 Samuel 21:1-11 – A Devoted Mother

   The time of this famine cannot be fixed with certainty. Probably it took place before Absalom’s rebellion. The reason for it was found in Saul’s slaughter of the Gibeonites. See I Samuel 22:19, etc. Though their fathers had obtained the promise of immunity from Joshua and the princes by fraud, yet it was regarded as binding, and its violation was looked upon as a grave offense, involving the whole nation in the charge of perjury. The remnant of the Gibeonites were therefore allowed to fix their own terms. This tendency to connect a national calamity with a national crime has always obtained. There seems to be a universal consciousness that uncaused judgments do not befall.
   Out of all the scenes of cruelty and blood with which this age was characterized, the love of motherhood shines forth undimmed. It is one of the most precious of God’s gifts to man. But what shall we not say of that divine love which clings to us in our most hopeless condition?

2 Samuel 21:1—Because he slew the Gibeonites.

   The Gibeonites were under the protection of a special covenant, which had been entered into between them and Joshua. That covenant was the outcome of a ruse on their part. But since it had been most solemnly made by the leaders of Israel, it held good. The fact of their deceit and chicanery could not absolve Israel from the oath which had been passed for their safety. For centuries the provisions of this covenant had been observed, till Saul invaded them, and slew the Gibeonites. This was a grievous sin, which, according to the religious light of the time, seemed to demand blood; and David proposed to atone for blood by blood. Nothing but blood could atone for sin so black and dark.
   We are also protected by a covenant, into which the Father has entered with the Son, not for our worthiness or merit, but only because He would. The provisions of that covenant engage to take us to be his people, to remember our sins no more, and to make the Divine law the object of our love (Hebrews 8). And the argument is irresistible, that if man is as mindful of a covenant as to feel that its infraction is a sin which can only be expiated by blood shedding, it is impossible to suppose that God will ever run back from his.
   O my soul, thou mayest rest secure in this: here is an everlasting rock; this foundation shall suffice thee for evermore. Thou art in the Son of his love. Though thou art sinful and evil, yet thou art included in the covenant which is more lasting than that of day and night. Jesus has met its conditions on thy behalf, and has undertaken to secure thy obedience and holiness.

2 Samuel 21:12-22 – More Giants Slain

   It was in unsettled weather that Rizpah began her watch; but no hardship daunted her, no cost was too great. She shielded the dear remains from bird and beast till the falling rain gave assurance that the long famine was ended, II Samuel 21:10. Her devotion seems to have aroused David to treat with similar honor the remains of Saul and Jonathan, and all were buried together in the sepulcher of Kish.
   Love ignites love, as fire kindles fire, without impoverishment. How often a voice raised in prayerful and passionate affection to Jesus has made volcanic fires leap out where all had seemed extinct! Do not stint your alabaster-boxes, for though they drive a Judas to desperation, they will stimulate a David or a Peter to a forgotten duty.
   Monstrous sin stalked the world in the person of these giants, II Samuel 21:16-22. They beset the old age of David, as they did his youth, though we may not be assailed by the identical temptations as at first, there never will be a time when the progeny of sin will not molest us—if not passion, then jealousy, or avarice, or pride.