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v. 1. And when Saul's son, Ishbosheth, heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, slack, he completely lost heart, and all the Israelites were troubled, not only terrified, but completely at a loss what to do next. Things became altogether unsettled, chaos reigned in Israel.
v. 2. And Saul's son had two men that were captains of bands, bold, adventurous men who had divisions of the former Israelitish army under their command. The name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the son of Rimmon, a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin. (For Beeroth, although on its extreme western boundary, also was reckoned to Benjamin, Joshua 18:25.
v. 3. And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, probably because the Philistines had captured Beeroth, and were sojourners there until this day. )
v. 4. And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet, the last representative of Saul's house after Ishbosheth, a cripple and a minor. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, at the time of the great defeat by the Philistines, 1 Samuel 29:1-11, and his nurse took him up and fled; and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth (or Meribbaal, 1 Chronicles 8:34).
v. 5. And the sons of Rimmon, the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who lay on a bed at noon, on the midday-bed, during the drowsiest part of the day, the time of the daily siesta, when men were not so alert as at other times.
v. 6. And they came thither into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat, grain to distribute to their soldiers, which was probably stored off the court or open space in the center of the house. Their presence for such a purpose would attract no attention. And they smote him under the fifth rib, through the abdomen; and Rechab and Baanah, his brother, escaped.
v. 7. For when they came in to the house, which was open to them by reason of their position in the army, he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, in the inner, more remote section of the house, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the plain all night, they fled down the valley of the Jordan.
v. 8. And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the Lord hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul and of his seed. To their crime of cold-blooded assassination they added that of blasphemy by ascribing the success of their deed to Jehovah. The object of the murderers evidently was to commend themselves to David and to obtain a reward of some kind. It is impossible to correct a wrong by committing a wrong, for the punishment of all crimes is in the hands of the authorities, who have received their power from God.
The Murder Avenged
v. 9. And David answered Rechab and Baanah, his brother, the sons of Rimmon, the Beerothite, and said unto them, As the Lord liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity, from all the suffering with which he had been afflicted, thus putting him beyond the necessity of freeing himself from his enemies by crime,
v. 10. when one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, namely, the Amalekite who came to Ziklag, 2 Samuel 1:2, thinking to have brought good tidings, literally, "and he was as a bringer of good tidings in his own eyes," I took hold of him and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings, or, in order to give him the reward, to inflict on him the punishment which he deserved;
v. 11. how much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? Ishbosheth, although connected with a wrong cause, was himself without falsehood and blameless; he was not out on a raiding expedition or engaged in anything wrong, but was at home, doing no one any harm. Shall I not, therefore, now require his blood of your hand, God Himself being the chief avenger of blood and the king His instrument in carrying out justice upon the murderers, and take you away from the earth?
v. 12. And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands, which had committed the murder, and their feet, which had hurried after the reward, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron, a public place visited by many people, as a testimony to David's just severity against criminals of this kind. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, which the murderers had brought along as a trophy of their deed, and buried it in the sepulcher of Abner in Hebron. Note: As David finally subdued all his enemies who challenged his right to be king over Israel, so Christ, the Son of David, having conquered all enemies of mankind, will finally obtain the eternal victory.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany