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A melancholy relation this chapter hath of the murder of Ish-bosheth by two captains in his band. After they had perpetrated the deed they hastened with the head of Ish-bosheth to David, who so far from approving of what they had done, ordered their execution. These are the principal points here related.
2 Samuel 4:1
(1) ¶ And when Saul's son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled.
We hardly know what to make of the character of this son of Saul; certainly there could be but little regard to the law of the Lord in his heart; for had he reverenced God's ordination, he would not have suffered Abner to have opposed the succession of David to the kingdom.
(2) And Saul's son had two men that were captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin: (for Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin: (3) And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and were sojourners there until this day.) (4) And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, 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. (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. (6) And they came thither into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat; and they smote him under the fifth rib: and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. (7) For when they came into the house, he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the plain all night.
But, whatever the real character of Ish-bosheth might be, the conduct of those brothers we cannot be at a loss to gather. Wherefore the account of the city to which they belonged is inserted here, by way of a parenthesis, is not certain, unless it be to mark their atrocity still more in that being Benjamites, they ought to have had more love to the house of Saul, who was of that tribe. The account of Mephibosheth, which is given here, though short, is interesting. The lameness, induced by the event of the battle on the day of Saul's death, and Jonathan being the father of Mephibosheth, may serve to show how the sin of the parent involves the children in the consequent punishment. Alas! how evident is it, that the whole nature is fallen, when the whole nature groans from being universally implicated in the fall.
(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. (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, (10) When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings: (11) How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?
Observe; with what faith and assurance David speaks of redemption. Not as a thing to be done; but as a work already accomplished. Sweet thought this! So concluded holy men of old. "Blessed, (said Zacharias) he the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited, and redeemed his people. Let thy servant, (said Simeon) depart in peace according to thy word! for mine eyes have seen thy salvation". Luk_1:68; Luk_2:29-30 . The just detestation of David at this horridly cruel and unprovoked deed of Rechab and Baanah, could not have been expressed in a stronger manner.
(12) And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron.
Doth not David's just decision and judgment on those murderers, serve to remind us of the awful sentence which Jesus, we are assured, shall one day pass on the wicked, when they shall be driven from his presence with everlasting destruction. It is an awful thought, but ought to be kept alive in the remembrance, that the very gracious name of God as Jehovah Alehim; that is, Jehovah in Covenant with his people by Christ, is as solemnly engaged as the denouncer of wrath, as in the covenant promises of redemption. Jehovah at the right hand of Adonai (the believer's Lord and stay) shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. Psalms 110:5 .
THE sudden and unexpected death of Saul's son, while dreaming of an earthly kingdom, may serve to furnish out, both to the Reader and Writer, an important reflection on the sure, but uncertain, coming of our latter end. There is but one security against the evil of that day; and that is, an interest in his blood and righteousness, who by his death hath overcome death, and by his resurrection hath secured the resurrection of his people. That precious, precious scripture, is a motto to be worn in the bosom of the faithful, and to be fixed in the largest characters over the couches of believers; Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation. Thus to be found in Christ, is to be found in peace before him. And in this case, sudden death is sudden glory.
Reader! if Jesus be your hope, your trust, your confidence, your rock, you can never be moved. For how can the soul be naked which hath Christ himself for his covering? I know (says Paul) whom I have believed; and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. What day that might be Paul knew not; but every day he was looking out for it. I protest (says he) by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. Blessed Paul! what a happy reckoning did he make of it. And what assurance was founded in it. Reader! let you and I keep Jesus always in view; let us set this precious Redeemer always before us; and depend upon it, living upon him, and trusting wholly in him, for his atoning blood and justifying righteousness, our departure will be in peace, though the signal be given for our removal without a moment's warning. It is but to close the eyes of the body to this world, and the soul will open them in glory. Blessed (says Jesus) is that servant, whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26