Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 21:7

But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the oath of the Lord which was between them, between David and Saul's son Jonathan.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Covenant;   David;   Gibeon;   Mephibosheth;   Oath;   Saul;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Gibeonites;   Oaths;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Mephibosheth;   Rizpah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Murder;   Easton Bible Dictionary - David;   Gibeah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - David;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Adriel;   Armoni;   Beeroth;   Compassion;   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 - Gibeonites ;   Mephibosheth ;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Heredity;   Mephibosheth;   Salvation;   Samuel, Books of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Atonement;   Crime;   Names (Personal);  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The Lord‘s oath - The calamity brought upon Israel by Saul‘s breach of the oath to the Gibeonites would make David doubly careful in the matter of his own oath to Jonathan.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-21.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

DAVID COMPLIED WITH THEIR BLOODY REQUEST

"But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul's son Jonathan, because of the oath of the Lord which was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. The king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite; and he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them there on the mountain before the Lord, and the seven of them perished together. They were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest."

"The two sons of Rizpah" (2 Samuel 21:8). This was one of Saul's concubines, concerning whom the quarrel between Abner and Mephibosheth occurred, resulting in Abner's defection to the cause of David (2 Samuel 3:7-11). It is of interest that one of her sons was named Mephibosheth. Thus, Saul had two sons with the same name.

"And the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel" (2 Samuel 21:8). The corrupt Hebrew text here has Michal instead of Merab, an error which the KJV translators avoided by rendering the place, "which she brought up for Adriel." That also is an adequate solution of what is obviously a corrupt text. The solution by the translators of the RSV simply changed the name Michal to Merab. To us, it appears that one solution is just as good as the other one. If Merab and Adriel were deceased, Michal, as a member of the king's harem, would have had both the opportunity and the means to have brought up their five orphaned sons. Guessing at the true meaning of a damaged and corrupt text is, at best, a very precarious business.

"Barzillai" (2 Samuel 21:8). "This man is not the same as the Barzillai who helped David at Mahanaim (2 Samuel 19:31-40).[11]

"And he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them" (2 Samuel 21:9). Mercifully, we are not told any of the cruel and disgusting details of this pagan execution of the grandsons of Saul. The assertion of Matthew Henry that, "Those executions must not be complained of as cruel which have become necessary to the public welfare,"[12] while true enough if his assumption that these executions were necessary is allowed, is nevertheless founded upon what this writer believes to be a false premise. Nowhere did God declare that these executions were necessary. David alone, acting upon the bloody request of the Gibeonites, ordered these killings.

Jamieson noted that, "The practice of gibbeting men with a view of appeasing the anger of the gods in seasons of famine was a heathen custom; and the Gibeonites, who were a remnant of the Canaanite pagans, although brought to a knowledge of the true God, were not free from that superstition."[13] Willis also tells us that, "Several scholars have suggested that the Gibeonites sacrificed these seven descendants of Saul at this time as a sacrifice to their (pagan) god of fertility."[14] And this writer finds no fault with that viewpoint. These murders cannot be made to fit anything else.

"They were put to death at the beginning of the barley harvest" (2 Samuel 21:9). "The barley harvest began about the first of April at the time of the Passover; and the wheat harvest began fifty days later at the time of Pentecost. Adam Clarke identified the beginning of the barley harvest with the vernal equinox on March 21st.[15]

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:7". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-samuel-21.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul,.... As they did not name particular persons, only required seven sons, it was at the option of the king what sons to deliver to them, and therefore kept back Mephibosheth, who is thus described, to distinguish him from a son of Saul's of the same name, after mentioned:

because of the Lord's oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul; not merely or only out of affection to Mephibosheth, but because of the oath, that he might not be guilty of the same crime Saul was in slaying the Gibeonites.

Copyright Statement
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-21.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD's oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.

Spared — For the Gibeonites desiring only such a number, it was at David's choice whom to spare.

Of Jonathan — This is added, to distinguish him from the other Mephibosheth, verse8.

Copyright Statement
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 21:7". "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 21:7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD’S oath that [was] between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.

Ver. 7. Because of the Lord’s oath that was betwixt them.] That oath, if it had been rightly thought on, should have saved Mephibosheth’s land as well as his life. If it kept Mephibosheth: from the gallows, how much more shall the Father of all mercies do good to the children of the faithful, for the covenant made with their parents?

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-21.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The king spared Mephibosheth; for the Gibeonites desiring only such a number, without designing the persons, it was at David’s choice whom to spare. Or, he prevailed with the Gibeonites that they did not demand him; and with the Lord, that he might not be one of those who were devoted to destruction.

The son of Jonathan: this is expressly added, to distinguish him from the other Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 21:8.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-21.html. 1685.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD's oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-21.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD'S oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.
Mephibosheth
4:4; 9:10; 16:4; 19:25
because
1 Samuel 18:3; 20:8,15,17,42; 23:18
Reciprocal: Leviticus 5:4 - to do evil;  Joshua 2:17 - GeneralJoshua 6:22 - as ye sware unto her;  Joshua 9:18 - had sworn;  Proverbs 18:24 - that hath;  Proverbs 27:10 - own

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 21:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-21.html.