2 Samuel 21-22


2 Samuel 21-22 (NIV)

The Gibeonites Avenged

21     During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord. The Lord said, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.”

2 The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.) 3 David asked the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make amends so that you will bless the Lord’s inheritance?”

4 The Gibeonites answered him, “We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” David asked.

5 They answered the king, “As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel, 6 let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and exposed before the Lord at Gibeah of Saul—the Lord’s chosen one.”

So the king said, “I will give them to you.”

7 The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the Lord between David and Jonathan son of Saul. 8 But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 9 He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed and exposed them on a hill before the Lord. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.

10 Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds of the air touch them by day or the wild animals by night. 11 When David was told what Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, had done, 12 he went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had taken them secretly from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.) 13 David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.

14 They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul’s father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.

I’m going to just copy and paste a commentary from my Bible software on this unusual passage:

At some point in David’s reign, probably toward the end, Israel was afflicted by a three-year drought. When he inquired of the Lord as to its cause, the Lord revealed that it came as punishment for Saul’s violation of the covenant made with the Gibeonites back in the days of Joshua (Josh. 9:15-21). At that time Israel, under Joshua’s leadership, had just destroyed Jericho and Ai and was about to attack the Amorite federation of the Canaanite hill country. The people of Gibeon, who were in the direct line of Joshua’s conquest, pretended to be faraway aliens and so escaped annihilation. Moreover, they tricked Joshua into making a covenant with them whereby they would forever serve Israel in menial tasks but could never be harmed. Though the covenant was made deceitfully, its binding nature was recognized by both the Israelites and the Gibeonites.

Saul, in an action not recorded in the biblical account, had slain some Gibeonites during his tenure (2 Sam. 21:1). When David learned that the famine had come on Israel as punishment for that covenant violation, he asked the Gibeonite leaders what he should do for them. They responded by denying any interest in silver or gold. Nor, they said, could they, as Israel’s vassals, take vengeance into their own hands. Instead they asked that seven . . . male descendants of Saul be given over to them so that they could practice the age-old tradition of lex talionis-eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and life for life (Ex. 21:23-25).

David recognized the propriety of their demand, but he also had to balance against it the pledge he had made to Jonathan that he would forever preserve his seed (1 Sam. 20:15-16)
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Wars Against the Philistines

15 Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. 16 And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, saying, “Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished.”

18 In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha.

19 In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliathc the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.

20 In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha. 21 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David’s brother, killed him.

22 These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.

David’s Song of Praise

Chapter 22 is very similar to Psalm 18, written as a thanksgiving hymn for victory.  It is full of promises about God. 

22     David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said:

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent men you save me.

4 I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.

5 “The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

6 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.

7 In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.

8 “The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry.

9 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.

10 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.

11 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.

12 He made darkness his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky.

13 Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth.

14 The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.

15 He shot arrows and scattered the enemies, bolts of lightning and routed them.

16 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.

18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.

19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.

20 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

21 “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.

22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not done evil by turning from my God.

23 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.

24 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.

25 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.

26 “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,

27 to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.

28 You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.

29 You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.

30 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.

31 “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

Yes, God is perfect – more perfect than we can imagine.  And his Word is flawless! 

32 For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?

That is a rhetorical question.  While many people are quick to say there are other paths to God, that is not what the Bible says at all.  God demands our devotion to him alone. 

33 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.

34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.

35 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

36 You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great.

37 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.

38 “I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.

39 I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.

40 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.

41 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.

42 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them— to the Lord, but he did not answer.

43 I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets.

44 “You have delivered me from the attacks of my people; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know are subject to me,

45 and foreigners come cringing to me; as soon as they hear me, they obey me.

46 They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.

47 “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!

48 He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me,

49 who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me.

50 Therefore I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.

51 He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.”

How many times do I forget to give God credit for what He has done for me?

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.


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