2 Samuel 21:9
And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the hill before the LORD. So all seven of them fell together; they were put to death in the first days of the harvest, at the beginning of the barley harvest.
Conscience AssertiveT. Guthrie.2 Samuel 21:1-14
FamineB. Dale 2 Samuel 21:1-14
Famine and WarC. Ness.2 Samuel 21:1-14
Famine in the Days of DavidG. T. Coster.2 Samuel 21:1-14
God's Delays in PunishingJ. Armstrong, D. D.2 Samuel 21:1-14
Punished Sin ExpiatedJ. Parker, D. D.2 Samuel 21:1-14
The Enquiry into SinR. W. Evans, B. D.2 Samuel 21:1-14
The Quickening of David's Conscience by Rizpah's ExampleC. Vince.2 Samuel 21:1-14
RizpahB. Dale 2 Samuel 21:8-14

2 Samuel 21:8-14. - (GIBEAH.)
And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, etc. (ver. 10; 2 Samuel 3:7). The days of harvest had come; but not the fruits of harvest. The heaven was brass, and the earth iron (Deuteronomy 28:23). The misery of famine was accompanied by a sense of Divine wrath on account of sin. The guilt of blood was on the land, and especially on "the house of Saul," for the destruction of the Gibeonites. Nothing would satisfy the demand of the sorrowing bondservants of Israel, or (as it was believed) restore Divine favour, save the death of seven men of Saul's family (John 11:50). These, therefore, two of them being sons of Rizpah, were taken and crucified (Numbers 25:4) at once on the hill before Jehovah, and their remains left unburied, a prey to ravenous birds and beasts. And in her maternal grief and affection, spreading sackcloth on the rocky floor (either for her bed or as a rough tent to shelter her), she watched them there, under the scorching sun by day and the drenching dews by night, and protected them from molestation until they received an honourable burial. "They were accounted as accursed and unworthy of the burial of dogs; but she would not cast them out of her heart. The more they were shunned by others, the more she clung to them; and the deeper the disgrace, the deeper her compassion." Observe -

I. HER SPECIAL DESIRE AND AIM; for it was more than an instinct of natural affection that prompted her watching near the dead. Regarding their unburied condition as one of ignominy (Psalm 79:2), and perhaps as, in some way, affecting their happiness in the future life, she was desirous of their being honourably interred. It was deemed necessary (unlike what was required in other instances, Deuteronomy 21:22, 23) that they should remain exposed before Jehovah till assurance was given, by the fall of rain, that the satisfaction was accepted. If she could not do what she would, she would do what she could (Mark 14:8); and, by preventing further injury, render the fulfilment of her desire possible. Her intense maternal love led her to seek the safety and honour of the dead; well may a similar love lead others to seek the safety and honour of the living!


1. Her unquenchable attachment. Others might despise them as criminals, but she could only regard them and cling to them as children (Song of Solomon 8:7).

2. Her humble submission and resignation to what was unavoidable. "Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it" (Jeremiah 10:19).

3. Her entire self-surrender and self-sacrifice. If she could not remove their reproach, she could share it with them.

4. Her patient endurance of suffering; through long and lonely nights, and dark and dreary days.

5. Her ceaseless vigilance, zeal, and courage.

6. Her unwearied, faithful, hopeful perseverance. "The emotions in woman act as powerful motives on the will, and, when strongly called forth, produce a degree of vigour and determination which is very surprising to those who have usually seen the individual under a different aspect" (Carpenter).

7. Her importunate prayers for the fulfilment of her desire. "She refrained from all violent and illegal methods of gaining her object. She used no force or stratagem to secure for her beloved ones a safe and decent burial; but waited watchfully, meekly, and humbly, for the time appointed by the Lord. Neither did she give way to despondency, and quit the melancholy scene in wild despair; but did what she could to alleviate the dreadful evil. Though her heart was broken and her grief too bitter for utterance, she still hoped in God, still looked for his merciful interposition, and waited day after day, and night after night until the rain of heaven came down and released the bodies of her beloved ones" (Hughes, 'Female Characters of Holy Writ').

III. HER EFFECTUAL ENDEAVOUR. At length (how long is not stated) "showers of blessing" fell, and her wish was accomplished. Loving, faithful, devoted service:

1. Exerts an undesigned influence on others. "And it was told David," etc. (ver. 11).

2. Fails not, sooner or later, to receive its due reward.

3. Is followed by effects greater than any that were desired or expected. "David was pleased with her tenderness, and was excited by her example to do honour to the bodies of Saul and Jonathan (1 Samuel 31:12, 13; 2 Samuel 2:5-7), and thus showed that he did not war with the dead, and that his recent act in delivering up Saul's sons was not one of personal revenge, but of public justice" (Wordsworth). She did more than she intended;. and what she did is to this day "told for a memorial for her." - D.

Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant.
If his master bids him perform exploits too hard for him, he draws upon the resources of omnipotence, and achieves impossibilities. Wellington sent word to his troops one night: "Cindad Rodrigo must be taken to-night." And what do you think was the commentary of the British soldiers appointed for attack? "Then," said they all, "we will do it." So, when our great Captain sends round, as He doth to us, the word of command, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature," if we were all good soldiers of the Cross, we should say at once, "We will do it." However hard the task, since God Himself is with us to be our Captain, and Jesus the Priest of the Most High is with us to sound the trumpet, we will do it in Jehovah's name.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

When a man dies they who survive him ask, what property Ire has left behind; the angel who bends over the dying one asks what good deeds he has sent before him.

(H. W. Beecher.)

In one of the Napoleonic wars a young soldier complained to his commanding officer that his sword was too short. "Then add a step to it," was the curt and significant reply. "When I hear," says the Rev. W. L. Watkinson, "a man say, 'You know you cannot do more than you can do,' I am always still for a moment. It is such a philosophic sentence that it can only be taken in slowly." But you never know what you can do until you put your soul into it — until you add a step. Says Paul to Timothy: "Stir up the gift that is in thee." And it is not so much a question of environment as it is a question of soul; it is not a question of opportunity, because "it is in thee."

"It is not the man who knows most, but the one that does best, that wins the victory, Grant, and Meade, and Sheridan could have been taught many lessons by our learned professors of military tactics and strategy, but none of these could have guided his forces to victory as Grant did at Chatanooga, Meade at Gettysberg, or have hurled his masses as Sheridan did at Winchester. Action guided by knowledge, if you will, but better action without knowledge than much knowledge and feeble action."

(General Sherman.).

Abishai, Adriel, Aiah, Amorites, Armoni, Barzillai, Benjamin, David, Elhanan, Gibeon, Gibeonites, Goliath, Ishbibenob, Israelites, Jaareoregim, Jabesh, Jair, Jonathan, Kish, Mephibosheth, Merab, Michal, Rapha, Rizpah, Saph, Saul, Shimea, Shimeah, Shimei, Sibbecai, Sibbechai, Zeruiah
Beth-shan, Gath, Gibeah, Gilboa, Gob, Jabesh-gilead, Jerusalem, Zela
Barley, Barley-harvest, Beginning, Commencement, Cutting, Death, Delivered, During, Exposed, Fall, Fell, Gibeonites, Gib'eonites, Giveth, Grain-cutting, Hands, Hang, Hanged, Hanging, Harvest, Hill, Killed, Mountain, Perished, Seven, Start
1. The three year Gibeonite famine ceases, by hanging seven of Saul's sons.
10. Rizpah's kindness unto the dead
12. David buries the bones of Saul and Jonathan in his father's tomb
15. Four battles against the Philistines, wherein four men of David slay four giants.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Samuel 21:9

     4456   grain
     5277   criminals

2 Samuel 21:1-9

     5088   David, character

2 Samuel 21:9-10

     4464   harvest
     5331   hanging
     5485   punishment, legal aspects

Divers Matters.
I. Beth-cerem, Nehemiah 3:14. "The stones, as well of the altar, as of the ascent to the altar, were from the valley of Beth-cerem, which they digged out beneath the barren land. And thence they are wont to bring whole stones, upon which the working iron came not." The fathers of the traditions, treating concerning the blood of women's terms, reckon up five colours of it; among which that, "which is like the water of the earth, out of the valley of Beth-cerem."--Where the Gloss writes thus, "Beth-cerem
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

The Exile Continued.
"So David fled, and escaped and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done unto him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth" (1 Sam. xix. 18)--or, as the word probably means, in the collection of students' dwellings, inhabited by the sons of the prophets, where possibly there may have been some kind of right of sanctuary. Driven thence by Saul's following him, and having had one last sorrowful hour of Jonathan's companionship--the last but one on earth--he fled to Nob, whither
Alexander Maclaren—The Life of David

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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