2 Samuel 21

1 There was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the face of the LORD. The LORD said, “It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” 2 The king called the Gibeonites, and said to 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 to them; and Saul sought to kill them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah); 3 and David said to the Gibeonites, “What should I do for you? And with what should I make atonement, that you may bless the LORD’s inheritance?” 4 The Gibeonites said to him, “It is no matter of silver or gold between us and Saul, or his house; neither is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.” He said, “Whatever you say, that I will do for you.” 5 They said to the king, “The man who consumed us, and who devised against us, that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the borders of Israel, 6 let seven men of his sons be delivered to us, and we will hang them up to the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD.” 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 bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 9 He delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the mountain before the LORD, and all seven of them fell together. They were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, at the beginning of barley harvest. 10 Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water poured on them from the sky. She allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day, nor the animals of the field by night. 11 David was told what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. 12 So David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh Gilead, who had stolen them from the street of Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, in the day that the Philistines killed Saul in Gilboa; 13 and he brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son. They also gathered the bones of those who were hanged. 14 They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer for the land. 15 The Philistines had war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines. David grew faint; 16 and Ishbibenob, who was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being armed with a new sword, thought he would kill David. 17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, “Don’t go out with us to battle any more, so that you don’t quench the lamp of Israel.” 18 After this, that there was again war with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was of the sons of the giant. 19 There was again war with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan the son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite’s brother, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. 20 There was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on every hand, and six toes on every foot, twenty four in count; and he also was born to the giant. 21 When he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, killed him. 22 These four were born to the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–9

Every affliction arises from sin, and should lead us to repent and humble ourselves before God; but some troubles especially show that they are sent to bring sin to remembrance. God’s judgments often look a great way back, which requires us to do so, when we are under his rebukes. It is not for us to object against the people’s smarting for the sin of their king; perhaps they helped him. Nor against this generation suffering for the sin of the last. God often visits the sins of the fathers upon the children, and he gives no account of any matters. Time does not wear out the guilt of sin; nor can we build hopes of escape upon the delay of judgments. If we cannot understand all the reasons of Providence in this matter, still we have no right to demand that God should acquaint us with those reasons. It must be right, because it is the will of God, and in the end it will be proved to be so. Money is no satisfaction for blood. It should seem, Saul’s posterity trod in his steps, for it is called a bloody house. It was the spirit of the family, therefore they are justly reckoned with for his sin, as well as for their own. The Gibeonites did not require this out of malice against Saul or his family. It was not to gratify any revenge, but for the public good. They were put to death at the beginning of harvest; they were thus sacrificed to turn away the wrath of Almighty God, who had withheld the harvest-mercies for some years past, and to obtain his favour in the present harvest. In vain do we expect mercy from God, unless we do justice upon our sins. Executions must not be thought cruel, which are for the public welfare.

Verses 10–14

That a guilty land should enjoy many years of plenty, calls for gratitude; and we need not wonder misused abundance should be punished with scarcity; yet how few are disposed to ask of the Lord concerning the sinful cause, while numbers search for the second causes by which he is pleased to work! But the Lord will plead the cause of those who cannot or will not avenge themselves; and the prayers of the poor are of great power. When God sent rain to water the earth, these bodies were buried, for then it appeared that God was entreated for the land. When justice is done on earth, vengeance from heaven ceases. God is pacified, and is entreated for us through Christ, who was hanged on a tree, and so made a curse for us, to do away our guilt, though he was himself guiltless.

Verses 15–22

These events seem to have taken place towards the end of David’s reign. David fainted, but he did not flee, and God sent help in the time of need. In spiritual conflicts, even strong saints sometimes wax faint; then Satan attacks them furiously; but those who stand their ground and resist him, shall be relieved and made more than conquerors. Death is a Christian’s last enemy, and a son of Anak; but through Him that triumphed for us, believers shall be more than conquerors at last, even over that enemy.

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