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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 21

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-22

2 Samuel 21:1 . There was a famine three years, and in succession. Men, under the aspects of dying, like the seamen in Jonah’s case, are led to the profoundest researches of conscience.

2 Samuel 21:8 . The five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul. Merab, not Michal, was married to Adriel. Therefore the sons are called Michal’s after the Hebrew manner of speaking, because as a mother, having no children of her own, she had undertaken to bring them up. See Genesis 16:2; Genesis 30:3; Genesis 1:23. Ruth 4:17. So Jeremiah’s uncle is put for his uncle’s son: Jeremiah 32:12.

2 Samuel 21:9 . Hanged them in the hill in the beginning of barley harvest. These seven were religiously slain as victims to the Lord. It is very remarkable that the druids every five years, and at the vernal equinox, which is the beginning of barley harvest, did offer human sacrifices to the Lord. There cannot be a doubt but all human victims were instituted from a corrupt notion of the words of God to Adam, that the serpent should bruise the heel, or occasion the death of Christ, which really took place at the jewish passover, or the vernal equinox. The whole gentile world had once this horrid but mysterious practice. The Hindoos still keep this custom. The Burmese every five years offer up a young man about twenty five years of age. This is affirmed by the missionaries, since the English have invaded that country.

2 Samuel 21:10 . Until water dropped; that is, till rain fell, indicating that heaven was pacified by sending fruitful showers. She stayed till the rain forced her away.


This extraordinary occurrence seems to have been long delayed in regard to chronology, that it might not interrupt the tragic history of David’s fall, and David’s troubles. This will farther appear, if it be considered, that no intimation is given of any of the seven victims of justice being married: whereas if the history be in its proper place, they might have been about forty years of age. Be that as it may, the history is very instructive. We learn from it, that a covenant once sworn and contracted is of sacred obligation; for the God of truth ever lives the witness and guardian of every fair compact between man and man. To the Gibeonites, Joshua and the elders had sworn that they should live. Now it is supposed, while Saul in his zeal was expelling witches and wizards from the land, that he slew many of the Gibeonites under those pretexts, whom he wished in reality to expel. We learn also, that innocent blood has a voice which pierces heaven; and though the delinquents may sometimes be long reprieved, having a part to act in the scheme of providence, yet in the issue vengeance will overtake the impenitent. Yes, and that vengeance will come likewise on the children of guilty parents, when those children shall approve of the deeds of their fathers. Hence the famine was not because of Saul only, but because of his bloody house. Abner, Ishbosheth, and Sheba, were all bloody men; and the Lord requited them in kind. Farther, when a nation delays to execute justice, and to grant the injured redress; (and what men had ever fairer claims than the Gibeonites?) then the whole land is implicated in the guilt, and they are punished in a correspondent way. The land was deeply stained with innocent blood; and justice having been long delayed, no man troubled himself about the guilt. God therefore asserted his rights, by withholding the promised plenty from the earth. What an argument is this to legislators and magistrates for the suppression of vice, and the reformation of manners. Those theatres, those haunts of infamy, those schools of infidelity, those glaring instances of apostasy from the sound faith and religion of our fathers, may in the issue be of serious consequence to us as a nation. We are severe enough against depredations committed on our property; but with regard to the insults offered to heaven we are strangely indifferent, as though we were fated to suffer our crimes to accumulate till the vengeance bursts in total destruction. This chapter closes with David’s fourth and last war with Philistia, in which the giants were all slain, and the Philistines for ever ruined as a nation. Then David sung a psalm of the sublimest praise to God. So Jesus, reigning at the Father’s right hand, shall vanquish all his foes, and fill the church with peace and joy, and all the glory of the millenium day.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/2-samuel-21.html. 1835.
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