Dave Burnette's Commentary

2 Samuel Chapter 21

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 Struggles (c 11-24)
Message: The Execution of Saul's Sons (v 1-22)

2 Samuel 21 Commentary

(21:1) A Look at David's Reign - The next four chapters are an appendix to the book of 2 Samuel. The events described are not presented in chronological order. They tell of David's exploits at various times during his reign.

(21:1) Saul's Sons are Killed - Although the Bible does not record Saul's act of vengeance against the Gibeonites, it was apparently a serious crime, making him guilty of their blood. Still, why were Saul's sons killed for the murders their father committed? In many ancient Middle Eastern cultures, including Israel's, an entire family was held guilty for the crime of the father because the family was considered an indissoluble unit. Saul broke the vow that the Israelites had made to the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:16-20). This was a serious offense against God's law Numbers 30:1-2). Either David was following the custom of treating the family as a unit or Saul's sons were guilty of helping Saul kill the Gibeonites.

(21:1) A Need for Rain - Farmers relied heavily on spring and fall rains for their crops. If the rains stopped or came at the wrong time, or if the plants became insect infested, there would be drastic food shortages in the coming year. Agriculture at that time was completely dependent upon natural conditions. Irrigation sprinklers, fertilizers, and pesticides did not exist. Even moderate variations in rainfall or insect activity could destroy an entire harvest.

(21:9-10) The Barley Harvest - The barley harvest was in late April and early May. Barley was similar to wheat but less suitable for bread making. Rizpah guarded the men's bodies during the entire harvest season, which lasted from April to October.

(21:16-18) The Giants - The Giants Were Killed by David's Men. For more information on giants, see 1 Samuel 17:4-7 and the note on Genesis 6:4.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Our Sin Affects Others

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 21.  In our text, we see how the sons of Saul were held accountable for the sins of their father. Today we see the principle continuing as sons and daughters of sinners tend to suffer the sins of their parents. Now everyone is accountable for his or her sin, but as parents, we need to realize that our sin affects the ones we love the most, our families. Parents are exampling a sinful lifestyle to their Children, which directs them to the same repetitive sin. How about you? Do you see how your sin affects your family? Let us learn from our text today and the life of Saul to remember how Sin affects the ones we love.


2 Samuel 21

2 Samuel 21

 1Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.

 2And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)

 3Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LORD?

 4And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you.

 5And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel,

 6Let 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.

 7But 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.

 8But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:

 9And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.

 10And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.

 11And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.

 12And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:

 13And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged.

 14And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was intreated for the land.

 15Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint.

 16And Ishbibenob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David.

 17But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.

 18And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant.

 19And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.

 20And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.

 21And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimeah the brother of David slew him.

 22These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.