Dave Burnette's Commentary

2 Samuel Chapter 4

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Nathan, Zabud, & Gad 
Date Penned: (930 BC)
Overview: A Record of David's Reign (c 1-24)
Theme: David's Successes (c 1-10)
Message: The Murder of Ish-bosheth (v 1-12)

2 Samuel 4 Commentary

(4:1) Ish-bosheth Folds Under Fear - Ish-bosheth was a man who took his courage from another man (Abner) rather than from God. When Abner died, Ish-bosheth was left with nothing. In crisis and under pressure, he collapsed in fear. Fear can paralyze us, but faith and trust in God can overcome fear (2 Timothy 1:6-8; Hebrews 13:6). If we trust in God, we will be free to respond boldly to the events around us.

(4:4) A Reference to Mephibosheth - The rest of Mephibosheth's story is told in 2 Samuel 9; 16:1-4; and 19:24-30.

(4:11-12) David Has Compassion toward Ish-bosheth - David called Ish-bosheth a righteous person. As Saul's son, Ish-bosheth had reason to think he was in line for the throne. He was not wicked for wanting to be king; rather, he was simply too weak to stand against injustice. Although David knew that Ish-bosheth was not the leader God wanted to unite the people of Israel, he had no intention of killing him. God had promised the kingdom to David, and he knew that God would fulfill his promise. When David learned of Ish-bosheth's death, he was angry. David had never harmed Saul, and he thought the assassin method was cowardly. David wanted to unite Israel, not drive a permanent wedge between him and Ish-bosheth's supporters. To show that he had nothing to do with the extermination of Saul's royal line, David ordered the assassins killed and gave Ish-bosheth a proper burial. All the tribes of Israel, recognizing in David the strong leader they needed, pledged their loyalty to him. No doubt the Philistine threat and David's military reputation (1 Samuel 18;7) also helped unify the people.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

The Sword

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 2nd Samuel with Chapter 4. In our text, Rechab and Baanah kill Ish-bosheth seeking a reward from David. Ultimately, David puts them to death for shedding Ish-bosheth's blood in his sleep. In making application, we see the result of living by sword could end up dying by the sword. Today, many young people choose the brotherhood of gangs and live by the same code as verse 2 in our text. A life of violence will, in most cases, end in violence. In counseling, some have gone down this path and survived, while others cannot live with the guilt of their violent actions. How about you? Do you know any young folks who may choose gangs as a lifestyle to get their needs met? Let us reach out to those who would be venerable to a life of violence and apply our text today to warn them that those who live by the sword will die by the sword.


2 Samuel 4

2 Samuel 4

 1And when Saul's son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled.

 2And 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.

 3And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and were sojourners there until this day.)

 4And 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.

 5And 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.

 6And 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.

 7For 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.

 8And 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.

 9And 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,

 10When 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:

 11How 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?

 12And 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.