Memory verses for this week:
Job 19:25 For I know that my redeemer
liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
Job 19:26 And though
after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see
Overview of II Samuel
21: This chapter presents the matter of the three year famine,
David’s inquiry of the Lord about it, and the avenging of the
Gibeonites. The chapter ends with record of another war with the
The Three Years of Famine
Sam 21:1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years,
year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD
answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew
famine over 3 years of time is highly unusual. David realized this
and asked God why. God answered, perhaps through an unspecified
prophet that He was chastening the land because of Saul’s unjust
treatment of the Gibeonites. Israel had made a covenant with the
Gibeonites in Joshua 9:15 more than four hundred years earlier not
to kill them.
Josh 9:15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with
them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware
Josh 9:16 And it came to pass at the end of three days after they
had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their
neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.
Josh 9:17 And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their
cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah,
and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim.
Josh 9:18 And the children of Israel smote them not, because the
princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of
Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.
Josh 9:19 But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We
have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may
not touch them.
broke that covenant. Amazing in this is that God’s chastening upon
Israel came more than forty years after the fact. The fact
that God would deal with sin years later ought to be a sobering
reminder to live unto righteousness continually. Precisely when
this event took place is not clear. Jewish tradition holds that it
was accomplished when Saul killed the priests at Nob. It is
presumed that the Gibeonites were the hewers of wood and drawers of
water to them and that Saul slew them as well.
Sam 21:2 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.)
Sam 21:3 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?
Sam 21:4 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
Sam 21:5 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,
Sam 21:6 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.
history of the Gibeonites here is briefly rehearsed. David then
asked them what they wanted done to rectify the matter. In verse
6, we find the Gibeonites wanted no cash settlement nor did they
want any general retribution of Israelites.
asked, what do you want then? Their request was simple. They
wanted seven descendants of Saul to be delivered for their
the king said, “I will give them.”
Matthew Henry made some good comments about how sin may visit us
many years past the time it is committed.
We find the nation of
Israel chastised with a sore famine, long after, for this sin of
Saul. Observe, 1. Even in the land of Israel, that fruitful land,
and in the reign of David, that glorious reign, there was a famine,
not extreme (for then notice would sooner have been taken of it and
enquiry made into the cause of it), but great drought, and scarcity
of provisions, the consequence of it, for three years together. If
corn miss one year, commonly the next makes up the deficiency; but,
if it miss three years successively, it will be a sore judgment; and
the man of wisdom will by it hear God’s voice crying to the country
to repent of the abuse of plenty. 2. David enquired of God
concerning it. Though he was himself a prophet, he must consult the
oracle, and know God’s mind in his own appointed way. Note, When we
are under God’s judgments we ought to enquire into the grounds of
the controversy. Lord, show me wherefore thou contendest with me. It
is strange that David did not sooner consult the oracle, not till
the third year; but perhaps, till then, he apprehended it not to be
an extraordinary judgment for some particular sin. Even good men are
often slack and remiss in doing their duty. We continue in
ignorance, and under mistake, because we delay to enquire. 3. God
was ready in his answer, though David was slow in his enquiries: It
is for Saul. Note, God’s judgments often look a great way back,
which obliges 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 were aiding and abetting), nor against this
generation’s suffering for the sin of the last God often visiteth
the sins of the fathers upon the children, and his judgments are a
great deep. He gives not account of any of his matters. Time does
not wear out the guilt of sin; nor can we build hopes of impunity
upon the delay of judgments. There is no statute of limitation to be
pleaded against God’s demands. God may punish when he pleases.
Sam 21:7 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.
Sam 21:8 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:
Sam 21:9 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.
Because of his oath made to Jonathan, David spared Mephibosheth.
Further insight into the family of Saul is provided. Saul had a
concubine by the name of Rizpah. Her two sons Armoni and
Mephibosheth (not Jonathan's son, but Rizpah's son Mephibosheth)
were delivered to the Gibeonites. Though Michal had no children,
she brought up her sister’s (Merab) five sons. David delivered
these to be executed as well.
Gibeonites hanged these seven grandsons of Saul evidently at the
hill of Gibeah. This was done in the Spring. The beginning of
the barley harvest was the day after Passover.
Sam 21:10 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
Sam 21:11 And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah,
the concubine of Saul, had done.
Sam 21:12 And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones
of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen
them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged
them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:
Sam 21:13 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
Sam 21:14 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 entreated for the land.
Precisely what Rizpah (the mother of two of those executed) did is
not altogether clear. Some have interpreted this to mean that she
spread a tent of sackcloth over the bodies of her dead sons and
nephews. (It may be they were left hanging.) This is noted as
being accomplished until it finally rained, abating the famine.
She, by doing so, prevented birds and animals of carrion to molest
them. This evidently moved David to do what is recorded next.
verse 12, when Saul and Jonathan were killed at the battle of Mount
Gilboa, men from Jabesh-Gilead came and buried them in Gilead.
David saw to it that the entire family of Saul was properly buried
in Benjamin, his home tribe, in the family cemetery. In seeing all
of this, God brought relief from the drought and sent rain to the
the King James Study Bible, Jerry Falwell made note that Rizpah's
actions affected King David.
Rizpah’s protection of
Saul’s slain sons, so when the rain fell again the bodies could be
properly buried, moved David to secure the remains of Saul
and Jonathan and give them a proper burial.
II. Another War with the Philistines
Sam 21:15 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.
Sam 21:16 And Ishbibenob, 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
Sam 21:17 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.
was catching up with David. He no longer had the stamina and
strength to be a field commander before his armies. Goliath
evidently had a son by the name of Ishbibenob who was determined to
avenge the death of his father years before. Record is made of him
carrying a massive spear and a new sword with which he was
determined to kill David. The thought is that Abishai helped David
and killed the Philistine. That evidently was a close call David’s
men did not wish to experience again. They told David that they
would not allow him to go into battle with them again.
likened him to the light of Israel as their leader.
Sam 21:18 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.
Sam 21:19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines,
where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the
brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a
Sam 21:20 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
Sam 21:21 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimeah
the brother of David slew him.
Sam 21:22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by
the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
Samuel 12:10, the prophet Nathan had told David that the sword would
never depart from his house. It is conceivable that the
following is a continuation of that chastisement. In this next
battle with the Philistines, another son of Goliath was slain. In
yet another battle, Goliath’s brother came out to fight with a
massive spear. (I Chronicles 20:5 notes this man as Goliath’s
1 Chr 20:5 And there was war again with the Philistines; and
Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the
Gittite, whose spear staff was like a weaver's beam.
1 Chr 20:6 And yet again there was war at Gath, where was a man of
great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on
each hand, and six on each foot: and he also was the son of the
1 Chr 20:7 But when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea
David's brother slew him.
1 Chr 20:8 These were born unto the giant in Gath; and they fell by
the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
seems that the family of Goliath was determined to avenge their
father’s (or brother's) death at the hand of David, though years
earlier. In an additional attempt to kill David another son, a
giant himself with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each
foot, defied Israel to fight him. This time David’s nephew Shimea
Though large in size, the giants of Philistia were no match for the
fierce warriors of Israel. David’s men, one by one, killed
them. In our lives, we face a lot of battles, and some may seem
just as intimidating as these giants did to Israel. But we have a
God that is bigger than anything Satan can throw against us.
1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them:
because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 John 4:5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the
world, and the world heareth them.
1 John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that
is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth,
and the spirit of error.
Conclusion : When we are under Gods judgment, we should inquire as
to the grounds of the controversy. When the cause is revealed, we
should go to all lengths to make right the wrongs of the past that
Gods full blessing may be upon us.
was reading one of Charles Spurgeon's sermons, and I think it really
ties in well with the sin that caused the great famine there in
Israel. God is a jealous God, and he wants His people to be unique
and separate from the world where sin is common place.
Delivered on Sunday Morning, March 29th, 1863, by the
Rev. C. H. SPURGEON, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle,
the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God.”—Exodus
THE PASSION OF JEALOUSY IN MAN is usually exercised in
an evil manner, but it is not in itself necessarily sinful.
A man may be zealously cautious of his honor, and
suspiciously vigilant over another, without deserving blame.
All thoughtful persons will agree that there is such a thing
as virtuous jealousy. Self-love is, no doubt, the usual
foundation of human jealousy, and it may be that Shenstone
is right in his definition of it as “the apprehension of
superiority,” the fear lest another should by any means
supplant us; yet the word “jealous”
is so near
akin to that noble word “zealous,”
I am persuaded it must have something good in it. Certainly
we learn from Scripture that there is such a thing as a
godly jealousy. We find the Apostle Paul declaring to the
Corinthian Church, “I am jealous over you with a godly
jealousy, for I have espoused you to one husband that I may
present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” He had an
earnest, cautious, anxious concern for their holiness, that
the Lord Jesus might be honored in their lives. Let it be
remembered then, that jealousy, like anger, is not evil in
itself, or it could never be ascribed to God; his jealousy
is ever a pure and holy flame. The passion of jealousy
possesses an intense force, it fires the whole nature, its
coals are juniper, which have a most vehement flame; it
resides in the lowest depths of the heart, and takes so firm
a hold that it remains most deeply rooted until the exciting
cause is removed; it wells up from the inmost recesses of
the nature, and like a torrent irresistibly sweeps all
before it; it stops at nothing, for it is cruel as the
grave, it provokes wrath to the utmost, for it is the rage
of a man, therefore he will not spare in the day of
vengeance (Proverbs 6:34),
it over throws everything in the pursuit of its enemy, for
“wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to
stand before jealousy?” For all these reasons jealousy is
selected as some faint picture of that tender regard which
God has for His own Deity, honor, and supremacy, and the
holy indignation which he feels towards those who violate
his laws, offend his majesty, or impeach his character.
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Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA:
Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.
Thomas Nelson, Inc.,
King James Version Study Bible [computer file], electronic
ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
1997, c1988 by Liberty University.