Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 21:6

let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we will hang them before the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the Lord ." And the king said, "I will give them."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Covenant;   David;   Gibeon;   Saul;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Gibeonites;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gibeah;   Mephibosheth;   Rizpah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Feasts and Festivals of Israel;   Murder;   Easton Bible Dictionary - David;   Gibeah;   Hanging;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - David;   Gibeah;   Joshua;   Punishments;   Saul;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Adriel;   Beeroth;   Court Systems;   Gibeon;   Mephibosheth;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ethics;   Haggai;   Israel;   Rizpah;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Ransom (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gibeah ;   Gibeonites ;   Punishment;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Gibeon;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Gib'eonites, the,;   Punishments;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Heredity;   Number;   Punishments;   Salvation;   Samuel, Books of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Atonement;   Crime;   Gibeah;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Seven men of his sons - Meaning sons, grandsons, or other near branches of his family. It is supposed that the persons chosen were principal in assisting Saul to exterminate the Gibeonites. But where is the proof of this?

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Seven men - Seven was a sacred number not only with the Hebrews but with other Oriental nations Numbers 23:1, Numbers 23:29, and is therefore brought in on this occasion when the judicial death of the sons of Saul was a religious act intended to appease the wrath of God for the violation of an oath Numbers 25:4.

Whom the Lord did choose - Rather, “the Lord‘s chosen,” or elect. The same phrase is applied to Moses Psalm 106:23, to the Israelites Isaiah 43:20, and to Christ Isaiah 42:1.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-21.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us,.... They settled upon this number, either because they were seven, and no more of the Gibeonites, whom Saul slew, as the Jew sayF9T. Hieros. Kiddushin, fol. 65. 2. ; two hewers of wood, two drawers of water, a keeper (of a synagogue), a scribe, and a servant; but perhaps the true reason was, they knew there were no more besides Mephibosheth, for whom David had a great respect, and therefore required no more:

and we will hang them up unto the Lord; not to gratify a revengeful spirit of theirs, but in honour to the justice of God, and to appease his wrath:

in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord did choose; which was Saul's native place, and where he always lived; so that to hang them there was to the greater disgrace of him and his family; and he being chosen of the Lord to be a king of Israel, was an aggravation of his crime in violating the oath made to the Gibeonites

and the king said, I will give them; for though he had sworn to Saul that he would not cut off his seed, yet as he had a divine direction in this case, as appears by the Lord's being pleased with it, and was entreated for the land by it, this oath of his was dispensed with; nor did he cut them off himself but delivered them to others, according to the will of God.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-21.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Let seven men of his d sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up e unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, [whom] the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give [them].

(d) Of Saul's kinsmen.

(e) To pacify the Lord.

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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-21.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul — The practice of the Hebrews, as of most Oriental nations, was to slay first, and afterwards to suspend on a gibbet, the body not being left hanging after sunset. The king could not refuse this demand of the Gibeonites, who, in making it, were only exercising their right as blood-avengers; and, although through fear and a sense of weakness they had not hitherto claimed satisfaction, yet now that David had been apprised by the oracle of the cause of the long-prevailing calamity, he felt it his duty to give the Gibeonites full satisfaction - hence their specifying the number seven, which was reckoned full and complete. And if it should seem unjust to make the descendants suffer for a crime which, in all probability, originated with Saul himself, yet his sons and grandsons might be the instruments of his cruelty, the willing and zealous executors of this bloody raid.

the king said, I will give them — David cannot be charged with doing this as an indirect way or ridding himself of rival competitors for the throne, for those delivered up were only collateral branches of Saul‘s family, and never set up any claim to the sovereignty. Moreover, David was only granting the request of the Gibeonites as God had bidden him do.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-samuel-21.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give them.

I will — Having doubtless consulted God in the matter; who as he had before declared Saul's bloody house to be the causes of this judgment, so now commanded that justice should be done upon it, and that the remaining branches of it should be cut off; as sufficiently appears from hence, that God was well pleased with the action; which he would not have been, if David had done it without his command; for then it had been a sinful action of David's, and contrary to a double law of God, Deuteronomy 21:23; 24:16.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-21.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 21:6 Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, [whom] the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give [them].

Ver. 6. Let seven men of his sons.] Saul and some of his sons perished in that last battle of his against the Philistines, for the massacre of God’s priests: and now more of them for his cruel dealing with these Gibeonites. Murder is a crying sin; and albeit mortal judges may not punish the children for the father’s offence, - although the Japanese do so, they say; and it was the cruellest manner of Uladus Prince of Wallachia, together with the offender, to execute the whole family, yea, sometimes the whole kindred, (a) - yet God may justly punish the father in the children, though innocent in that particular, because all are sinners before him: children also are part of their parents’ goods, &c. women from Tekoah confessed that they were all worthy to die. [2 Samuel 14:14] and Mephibosheth stated. [2 Samuel 9:8]

Whom the Lord did choose.] And therefore his sin was the greater. As he perished "as though he had not been anointed with oil," [2 Samuel 1:21] so he sinned as if he had not been elected of God for king of Israel. Junius referreth it to David, and readeth it, "O thou who art the chosen one of the Lord": but the former interpretation seemeth to be the better.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-21.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 21:6. In Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord did choose Whom the Lord had chosen, says Houbigant; or, according to the word of the Lord: for when David asks the Gibeonites, 2 Samuel 21:3. What shall I do for you? it seems, God had commanded that the wickedness of Saul should be expiated with that blood which the Gibeonites should require; otherwise David would have consulted God only, and would not have gone to the Gibeonites to inquire of them what they would choose.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-samuel-21.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Unto the Lord; to vindicate his honour, which was injured by Saul’s violation of the oath and covenant of God, and to appease his wrath.

In Gibeah of Saul; Saul’s country, 1 Samuel 10:26 11:4, for their greater shame.

Whom the Lord did choose; this is added to aggravate Saul’s offence, that it was committed not only against them, but also against the Lord, who had chosen and advanced him, and therefore did little deserve this from Saul’s hand, to have his laws broken, and his name dishonoured by perjury.

I will give them; having doubtless consulted God in the matter, who as he had before declared Saul’s bloody house to be the causes of this judgment, so now commanded that justice should be done upon it, and that the remaining branches of it should be cut off; as sufficiently appears from hence, that God was satisfied and well pleased with the action; which he would not have been, if David had done it without his command; for then it had been a sinful action of David’s, and contrary to a double law of God, Deuteronomy 21:23 24:16, which none but God himself could dispense with.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-21.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.Seven men — A sacred number, not only among the Israelites, but among other Oriental nations.

Hang them up — Impale or crucify them. According to the Jewish interpreters the persons were first put to death, and then their bodies were impaled or tied upon a stake. Compare Joshua 8:29, note.

Unto the Lord — That is, to expiate his wrath.

Gibeah of Saul — See marginal references. The place of Saul’s residence was chosen to make the punishment of his crimes more signal.

Whom the Lord did choose — Mark the sentiment and the terrible irony. Hang up unto the Lord the sons of him whom the Lord chose!

I will give them — David dared not refuse the demand, for the penal famine pressed upon the land, and the law had said, “The land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein but by the blood of him that shed it.” Numbers 35:33. It has been asked why similar satisfaction was not required for the massacre of the priests at Nob. 1 Samuel 22:9-19. “The answer is, that the people, and even the family of Saul, had no sympathy with or part in this tragedy, which none but an alien (Doeg) could be found to execute. But both the people and Saul’s family had made themselves parties in the destruction of the unhappy Gibeonites by their sympathy, their concurrence, their aid, and, above all, as we must believe, by their accepting the fruits of the crime.” — Kitto.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-21.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Chosen. Some think it improbable that they should give Saul this title; and Castalion would substitute ber, "in the mountain," (ver. 9) instead of bechir, "anointed," a title which Junius, however, refers to David: "O thou anointed," &c. (Calmet) --- But why might not these people recognize this character in Saul, which would make the punishment more disgraceful, as they chose the city of Saul, in preference, for the execution of his unhappy offspring? (Haydock) --- Them, having received an order from God, lest the people might suspect that he was gratifying his private revenge. (Estius) (Josephus, [Antiquities?] vii. 10, 12.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-21.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

men. Hebrew. "enosh. App-14.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-21.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give them.

Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord. The practice of the Hebrews, as of most Oriental nations, was to slay first, and afterward to suspend on a gibbet [ w

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-21.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) Let seven men of his sons.—The head of the house and his household were closely identified in all the ideas of antiquity. Saul being dead, his male descendants were considered as standing in his place, representing him, and responsible for his acts, just as is largely the case in legal affairs and matters of property at the present day. The number seven is, doubtless, fixed upon as being first, a considerable and sufficient number; and then, on account of its sacred associations, and as the representative of completeness.

We will hang them up.—The sons of Saul are only to be given up by David; their actual execution is to be by the Gibeonites, and the method is that of hanging or fastening to a stake, either by impaling or by crucifixion, the word being used for both methods of execution.

Unto the Lord—i.e., publicly. (Comp. a similar expression in Numbers 25:4.) The sin had been outrageous; its punishment must be conspicuous. The place of execution is fitly chosen in the home of Saul. It seems strange that he should be here spoken of as “the Lord’s chosen;” but this and the expression “unto the Lord” go together; what Saul had done he had done as the head of the theocracy, as God’s chosen ruler, and now his family must be punished in the presence of Him against whom he had offended—“before the Lord.” The idea of regarding the execution of these men as a propitiatory human sacrifice is utterly destitute of any shadow of support.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-21.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give them.
Let seven
As God accepted the expiation here demanded, we must suppose that both the enquiry of David, and the answer of the Gibeonites, were directed by some open or secret intimation from him.
hang
17:23; 18:10; Genesis 40:19,22; Numbers 25:4,5; Deuteronomy 21:22; Joshua 8:29; 10:26; Ezra 6:11; Esther 9:10,13,14; Matthew 27:5
in
1 Samuel 10:26; 11:4
whom the Lord did choose
or, the chosen of the Lord.
1 Samuel 9:16,17; 10:1,24; Acts 13:21
Reciprocal: Exodus 20:5 - visiting;  Deuteronomy 21:23 - he that is hanged is accursed of God;  1 Samuel 13:2 - in Gibeah;  1 Samuel 24:21 - that thou;  2 Samuel 21:9 - before the Lord;  1 Chronicles 2:49 - Gibea;  1 Chronicles 12:3 - Gibeathite;  Hosea 5:8 - Gibeah

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-21.html.