Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


Second Samuel

Second Samuel was taught by Dr. James Modlish


Chapter Twenty One




II. RIZPAH - (10,11)





The fact that God waited so many years before He publicly evidenced his displeasure against Israel for their heinous transgression in the matter of the Gibeonites, manifested His longsuffering and patience. The Lord granted Israel the space of many years to rectify this wrongdoing. The passage of time does not remove or lessen the guilt of sin. There is a very good lesson in this for us today. It is a solemn thing for a strong nation to go back on its pledged word when they have promised protection to a weak people.

The background for this promise or vow can be found in (Josh. 9:1-17). The inhabitants of Gibeon intentionally deceived the Israelites into making a covenant with them pretending that they were men from a "far country" (Josh. 9:6). Upon the discovery of the trickery involved, Joshua decided to keep his end of the bargain, although it was conceived under false pretense, that's integrity! (Josh. 9:16-19).

"And Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah" (21:2). In utter disregard for the solemn treaty which guaranteed their security, Saul determined to exterminate these Gibeonites; but this was done not out of zeal for the Lord, but "in his zeal to the children of Israel." How perverse is human nature! God had given Saul no commission to slay the Gibeonites, but he had commanded him to destroy the Philistines and Amalekites; but this he left undone.

David asked, "Why the famine, Lord?" He received the answer. See (1 Sam. 22:18,19). It does not seem fair (equitable is the legal term) that these people should pay for something that took place many years before, but "his ways are not our ways." We must be careful not to limit God to our resources and thought processes.

David asks the Gibeonites, "How can I pay for this dastardly deed?" The Gibeonites did not want money, they wanted blood, blood for blood, an eye for an eye, "Let seven men of his (Saul's) sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them...." David concedes their request but spares Mephibosheth for his promise to him (2 Sam. 9; 1 Sam. 20:8).

"But the king took the two sons of Rizpah... (vs. 8; see 2 Sam. 3:7) ... the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul (1 Sam. 14:49; 18:20; 19:11-17; 25:44; 2 Sam. 3:13,14; 6:16-23) and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord" (vss. 8,9). The men are an atonement (vs. 3) for the sins of Saul.


II. RIZPAH - (10,11)

It is touching to behold this mother keeping so lengthy a vigil over the corpses of her two sons. It is true that she made no attempt at cutting her sons down, thereby evidencing her submission to the will and righteousness of God, yet, the faithfulness and tenacity of this soul! Certainly she was not realistic in her ultimate logic, what could be done for the boys at this point? Yet, her love for her sons and motherly instincts told her to do her best to care for them in spite of their deaths. Oh, for a mother that will not give up on her children!

The woman took sackcloth, symbolic of mourning and humility, spread it upon the rock, and for many days (probably 30 or more) maintained her vigil until the bodies were given a decent burial.



The stick-to-it-ive-ness of the woman must have seized David's attention. Rizpah's endurance served to stimulate the heart of the king. The respectful interment of the bones of Saul, Jonathan and the seven by the king, is clear proof that David had not been activated by a spirit of spite or revenge.

If those sons of Saul may justly be taken as a figure of our sins (that which withhold God's blessings from us), and if the slaying of them brings about the believer's mortification of his lusts, then surely it is no far fetched fantasy to regard the interment of their bones as indicated, we are to bury those disgraceful things of the past (Eze. 16:63). Instead of holding up to public view "our testimony," we realize those things are under the blood; bury them!!!

"And after that God was entreated for the land" (vs. 14). Only then could David, with a clear conscience, go to God and ask for the blessings once poured out on his nation and land.



David is in his last years as king of Israel. He is probably 65 or older at this place in the book. The Philistines have not quit, the enemies of the Christian, they never do. David is a "salty" old soldier still on the battlefield in the waning years of his life. The confrontation with Ishbi-benob encourages David's men to compel him to stay in the company headquarters compound. His life is too valuable to be lost in commonplace military skirmishes. Abishai saves David's life. David, as king, represents Israel. Here he is called the "light of Israel" (vs. 17).

Verse (19) holds for us an interesting truth. Note the words placed in italics "the brother of." Read the verse with the italics, then, read it without. The italicized words were placed in the A.V. 1611 to show the reader that the words were not found in the Hebrew or Greek text. However, the elimination of these three words would create a blatant conflict or contradiction of scripture, for David killed Goliath according to (1 Sam. 17) not Elhanan as the text would then read! Many of the new bibles criticize the A.V.'s use of italics and omit them causing for themselves some interesting problems. Notice that the A.V. translators were very cognizant of the problem, and with a proof text, (1 Chron. 20:5), inserted the words in all good conscience preserving (not inspiring) the integrity of the scriptures.

The six fingers and six toes may or may not have some prophetical significance. Yet, in (Gen. 6), we see the first mention of these giants and can not help but wonder if the "number of the beast...the number of a man" (Rev. 13:18), six, six, six, has any relevance.

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