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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 21

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Chapter 21

Now in chapter twenty-one it is recorded that at this time,

There were three years of famine in the land; So David sought the Lord. [Why the famine?] And the Lord said, The famine was in judgment because of the treatment of Saul of the Gibeonites. For Saul had killed many of the Gibeonites ( 2 Samuel 21:1 ).

Now this is interesting to me because when Joshua was coming in to conquer the land, God said to Joshua, "Don't make a covenant with any of the people in the land. You're not to make any treaties, any covenants. Wipe them out." So after the conquest of the city of Ai, there came to Joshua these old men, with worn out shoes, with moldy bread in their hands, and ragged clothes.

They said, "We've come from a long distance, because we've heard of your fame, and how that God destroyed the Egyptians and how God is with you. Our leaders have sent us to you to make a league with you that we'll not attack you, and you're not to attack us."

Joshua said, "Well, where are you from?"

They said, "Well, we're just a long way off. In fact, when we left home, this bread was hot in our hands, but look how moldy it is. These sandals were brand new, look how worn out they are."

The Bible says, "They took stock of their victuals and inquired not of the Lord." And they made the covenant with them. They made the same mistake that we often make, using our own "good judgment" instead of seeking God for wisdom and advice. We look over a situation, we say, "Oh well, that's all right. That's obvious, Lord, what You want me to do here. I don't need to really bother You about this. I'll take care of this matter. I can see what's going on here, Lord." We don't inquire of the Lord.

There is that verse to the song, "Oh what needless pain we bear all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." That is so true.

So they took stock of their victuals, inquired not of the Lord, and they made this covenant with the Gibeonites. And, as they got to the next city, and they started to deploy the troops, the guy said, "Oh no, you can't attack this city."

"What do you mean?"

"This is our city."

So Joshua realized that he had been snookered by these guys, and so he said, "Okay, I accept it. You've deceived me, but," he said, "you guys are gonna have to chop our wood for us and be our servants." They said, "That's fine, you know better to be your wood choppers and servants and all, than to be dead."

Now they made the covenant. God told them not to. They made it, but the interesting thing is, once they made it, God expected them to honor it. Even though the covenant they made was wrong to begin with, even though they had no business making that covenant. Even though they made it in deception, being deceived, once they made it, they were told not to make any covenant to begin with. So they disobeyed God in making it, and in making it, they did it because they were deceived, yet God required that they honor that covenant.

It is interesting to me how that God expects us to honor the covenants that we make. Now I have so many times, people come to me for counsel and they have made a covenant of marriage, and they say, "Oh, it was a mistake. I never should've done it." And they want to disannul the covenant. They want to set aside the covenant that they made, say, "Oh, that was a mistake. I should never have done it and I want to set aside that covenant." It is interesting to me that once you make a covenant, mistake or not, God expects you to honor that covenant.

Saul broke the covenant with the Gibeonites. He began to kill some of them, and so later on, and this is years later under David's reign, Saul had been dead for years, Saul has been dead for at least thirty years at this point, but now here comes three years of famine.

David inquires of the Lord, and the Lord said, "This is in judgment because of Saul breaking the covenant with the Gibeonites, and killing many of the Gibeonites.

And so David called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; What shall I do for you? how can I make it right with you, that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord? And the Gibeonites said unto him, We don't want any silver or gold from Saul, nor from his house; neither do we want you to kill any man in Israel. And he said, Well what shall I do for you? And he answered, and said, The man that consumed us, and devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, that we may hang them before the LORD in Gibeah, [the city where Saul lived]. And the king said, I will give them. But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan because of his own covenant with Jonathan, but he took the two sons of Rizpah, whom she bare unto Saul, and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite ( 2 Samuel 21:3-8 ):

Now we are told earlier in the scriptures that Michal was sort of childless, as David's punishment to her for her sort of mockery of him when he was dancing before the Lord, as he brought the Ark of the Covenant back from the Kirjath-Jearim when he was bringing it back to Jerusalem. There he was out dancing before the Lord, and when he got home, you know he was all excited. He was gonna bless his family, she says, "Aha, weren't you a pretty one out there today dancing with all of those people like you were a commoner."

David says, "I'm gonna be more common than this" and all. He refused to have relations with her. She did not have-she remained childless till the day of her death. So if you will go back in the record, you will find that these five sons were the sons of Merab, who was the daughter of Saul, who originally was supposed to be given to David for killing Goliath.

Remember Saul said, "If any man kills the giant, I'll give my son, great rewards." And so forth. Merab was the daughter that was supposed to have been given to David, but Saul gave him a dirty turn and gave her to someone else. She had five sons, and so these sons that were turned over now to the Gibeonites to be hung, were the five sons of Merab the woman who was supposed to be David's wife originally. Plus the two others who were actually the sons of Saul from one of his concubines.

And so he delivered them to the Gibeonites, and they hung them all seven, in the days of the barley harvest. And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah [whose two sons were hung] took sackcloth, and spread it upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped on them out of heaven, and she did not allow the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor beasts of the field by night. And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. And David took the bones of Saul and of Jonathan, [and the bones of these fellows] and buried them all together there in one of the burial places in the sepulchre of Kish ( 2 Samuel 21:9-14 ):

Now beginning with the fifteenth verse, we find that,

The Philistines again make war against David; and David was out in battle against the Philistines: and he began to wax faint. And Ishbibenob, who was one of the sons of Goliath, whose spear had weighed three hundred shekels of brass, he was about ready to kill David. And Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped David, and he smote the Philistine, and he killed him. And then the men of David sware unto him, saying, You're not to go out into battle with us anymore at all, lest you quench the light of Israel ( 2 Samuel 21:15-17 ).

So David's getting a little old now for fighting. He's out there, he's out of shape, started to faint, and the son of Goliath just about got him, until Abishai came to his help. And so from this point on, they wouldn't allow David to go out into battle.

It tells then of the death of the rest of Goliath's relatives, all of the giants of the Philistines, even ones who had six fingers, and six toes on each hand, twenty four in all as far as his toes and fingers in number. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/2-samuel-21.html. 2014.
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