The Second Book of Samuel

Chapter 21

Three years of famine on account of the Gibeonites ceases by hanging seven of Saul's sons, 1-9. Rizpah's kindness to the dead, 10, 11. David buries the bones of Saul and Jonathan in his father's sepulcher, 12-14. Four battles against the Philistines, wherein four of David's valiant men slay four giants, 15-22.

1 Then there was a famine in the days of David for 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 the Gibeonites." 2 And the king called the Gibeonites and spoke 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, but Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) 3 Therefore, David said to the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make the atonement so that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD?" 4 And the Gibeonites said to him, "We will have no silver or gold of Saul, or of his house, neither for us shall you kill any man in Israel." And he said, "What you say, that I will do for you." 5 And they answered the king, "The man who consumed us and who devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining within 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, whom the LORD chose." 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 bore to 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 on 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 herself upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and allowed 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 to 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 who 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 there the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son, and they gathered the bones of those who were hanged. 14 And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son they buried in the country of Benjamin in Zelah in the sepulcher of Kish his father. And they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was entreated for the land.

15 Moreover, the Philistines had yet warred again with Israel, and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines. And David became faint. 16 And Ishbi-benob, who was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear was 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 helped him, and smote the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, "You shall no longer go out with us to battle so that you may not extinguish 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, who was of the sons of the giant. 19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, 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 there was a man of great stature, who had on every hand six fingers and on every foot six toes, twenty-four in number, and he also was born to the giant. 21 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimeah 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.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Samuel, Chapter 21[➚]


[v.2] - "the children of Israel had sworn to them" - The account of the Gibeonites is found in Joshua, ch. 9.

[v.7a] - "the king spared Mephibosheth" - Reference, 2nd Samuel, ch. 9.

[v.7b] - "the LORD'S oath that was between them" - Reference, 1st Samuel 20:12-17.

[v.12] - Reference, 1st Samuel 31:8-13.