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2 Samuel 21 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Justice for the Gibeonites

21 During David’s reign there was a famine for three successive years, so David inquired of the Lord. The Lord answered, “It is because of the blood shed by Saul and his family when he killed the Gibeonites.”

The Gibeonites were not Israelites but rather a remnant of the Amorites. The Israelites had taken an oath concerning them, but Saul had tried to kill them in his zeal for the Israelites and Judah. So David summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. He asked the Gibeonites, “What should I do for you? How can I make atonement so that you will bring a blessing on[a] the Lord’s inheritance?”

The Gibeonites said to him, “We are not asking for money from[b] Saul or his family, and we cannot put anyone to death in Israel.”

“Whatever you say, I will do for you,” he said.

They replied to the king, “As for the man who annihilated us and plotted to destroy us so we would not exist within the whole territory of Israel, let seven of his male descendants be handed over to us so we may hang[c] them in the presence of the Lord at Gibeah of Saul, the Lord’s chosen.”

The king answered, “I will hand them over.”

David spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul’s son Jonathan, because of the oath of the Lord that was between David and Jonathan, Saul’s son. But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, who were the two sons whom Rizpah daughter of Aiah had borne to Saul, and the five sons whom Merab[d] daughter of Saul had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite and handed them over to the Gibeonites. They hanged[e] them on the hill in the presence of the Lord; the seven of them died together. They were executed in the first days of the harvest at the beginning of the barley harvest.[f]

The Burial of Saul’s Family

10 Rizpah, Aiah’s daughter, took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on the rock from the beginning of the harvest[g] until the rain poured down from heaven on the bodies. She kept the birds of the sky from them by day and the wild animals by night.

11 When it was reported to David what Saul’s concubine Rizpah, daughter of Aiah, had done, 12 he went and got the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the leaders of Jabesh-gilead. They had stolen them from the public square of Beth-shan where the Philistines had hung the bodies the day the Philistines killed Saul at Gilboa. 13 David had the bones brought from there. They gathered up the bones of Saul’s family who had been hung[h] 14 and buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan at Zela in the land of Benjamin in the tomb of Saul’s father Kish. They did everything the king commanded. After this, God answered prayer for the land.

The Philistine Giants

15 The Philistines again waged war against Israel. David went down with his soldiers, and they fought the Philistines, but David became exhausted. 16 Then Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giant,[i] whose bronze spear weighed about eight pounds[j] and who wore new armor, intended to kill David. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to his aid, struck the Philistine, and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him: “You must never again go out with us to battle. You must not extinguish the lamp of Israel.”

18 After this, there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob. At that time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giant.[k]

19 Once again there was a battle with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite killed[l] Goliath the Gittite. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam.

20 At Gath there was still another battle. A huge man was there with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—24 in all. He, too, was descended from the giant.[m] 21 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan, son of David’s brother Shimei, killed him.

22 These four were descended from the giant[n] in Gath and were killed by David and his soldiers.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Samuel 21:3 Lit will bless
  2. 2 Samuel 21:4 Lit “Not for us silver and gold with
  3. 2 Samuel 21:6 Or impale, or expose
  4. 2 Samuel 21:8 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Tg; other Hb mss read Michal
  5. 2 Samuel 21:9 Or impaled, or exposed
  6. 2 Samuel 21:9 = March–April
  7. 2 Samuel 21:10 = April to October
  8. 2 Samuel 21:13 Or impaled, or exposed
  9. 2 Samuel 21:16 Or Raphah
  10. 2 Samuel 21:16 Lit 300 (shekels)
  11. 2 Samuel 21:18 Or Raphah
  12. 2 Samuel 21:19 1Ch 20:5 adds the brother of
  13. 2 Samuel 21:20 Or Raphah
  14. 2 Samuel 21:22 Or Raphah

2 Samuel 21 New International Version (NIV)

The Gibeonites Avenged

21 During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord. The Lord said, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.”

The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.) David asked the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the Lord’s inheritance?”

The Gibeonites answered him, “We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” David asked.

They answered the king, “As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel, let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and their bodies exposed before the Lord at Gibeah of Saul—the Lord’s chosen one.”

So the king said, “I will give them to you.”

The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the Lord between David and Jonathan son of Saul. But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab,[a] whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed them and exposed their bodies on a hill before the Lord. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.

10 Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds touch them by day or the wild animals by night. 11 When David was told what Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, had done, 12 he went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had stolen their bodies from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.) 13 David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.

14 They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul’s father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.

Wars Against the Philistines

15 Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. 16 And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels[b] and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, saying, “Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished.

18 In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbekai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha.

19 In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair[c] the Bethlehemite killed the brother of[d] Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.

20 In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha. 21 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David’s brother, killed him.

22 These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Samuel 21:8 Two Hebrew manuscripts, some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac (see also 1 Samuel 18:19); most Hebrew and Septuagint manuscripts Michal
  2. 2 Samuel 21:16 That is, about 7 1/2 pounds or about 3.5 kilograms
  3. 2 Samuel 21:19 See 1 Chron. 20:5; Hebrew Jaare-Oregim.
  4. 2 Samuel 21:19 See 1 Chron. 20:5; Hebrew does not have the brother of.
New International Version (NIV)

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