2 Samuel 21 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Gibeonites Hang Saul’s Descendants
21 While David was king, there were three years in a row when the nation of Israel could not grow enough food. So David asked the Lord for help, and the Lord answered, “Saul and his family are guilty of murder, because he had the Gibeonites killed.”
2 The Gibeonites were not Israelites; they were descendants of the Amorites. The people of Israel had promised not to kill them,[a] but Saul had tried to kill them because he wanted Israel and Judah to control all the land.
David had the Gibeonites come, and he talked with them. 3 He said, “What can I do to make up for what Saul did, so that you’ll ask the Lord to be kind to his people again?”[b]
4 The Gibeonites answered, “Silver and gold from Saul and his family are not enough. On the other hand, we don’t have the right to put any Israelite to death.”
David said, “I’ll do whatever you ask.”[c]
5 They replied, “Saul tried to kill all our people so that none of us would be left in the land of Israel. 6 Give us seven of his descendants. We will hang[d] these men near the place where the Lord is worshiped in Gibeah, the hometown of Saul, the Lord’s chosen king.”
“I’ll give them to you,” David said.
7 David had made a promise to Jonathan with the Lord as his witness, so he spared Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul. 8 But Saul and Rizpah the daughter of Aiah had two sons named Armoni and Mephibosheth. Saul’s daughter Merab[e] had five sons whose father was Adriel the son of Barzillai from Meholah.[f] David took Rizpah’s two sons and Merab’s five sons and 9 turned them over to the Gibeonites, who hanged[g] all seven of them on the mountain near the place where the Lord was worshiped. This happened right at the beginning of the barley harvest.[h]
Rizpah Takes Care of the Bodies
10 Rizpah spread out some sackcloth[i] on a nearby rock. She wouldn’t let the birds land on the bodies during the day, and she kept the wild animals away at night. She stayed there from the beginning of the harvest until it started to rain.[j]
The Burial of Saul and His Descendants
11-12 Earlier the Philistines had killed Saul and Jonathan on Mount Gilboa and had hung their bodies in the town square at Beth-Shan. The people of Jabesh in Gilead had secretly taken the bodies away, but David found out what Saul’s wife[k] Rizpah had done, and he went to the leaders of Jabesh to get the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan. 13-14 David had their bones taken to the land of Benjamin and buried in a side room in Saul’s family burial place. Then he gave orders for the bones of the men who had been hanged[l] to be buried there. It was done, and God answered prayers to bless the land.
The Descendants of the Rephaim
15 One time David got very tired when he and his soldiers were fighting the Philistines. 16 One of the Philistine warriors was Ishbibenob, who was a descendant of the Rephaim,[m] and he tried to kill David. Ishbibenob was armed with a new sword,[n] and his bronze spearhead[o] alone weighed seven and a half pounds. 17 But Abishai[p] came to the rescue and killed the Philistine.
David’s soldiers told him, “We can’t let you risk your life in battle anymore! You give light to our nation, and we want that flame to keep burning.”
18 There was another battle with the Philistines at Gob, where Sibbecai from Hushah killed a descendant of the Rephaim named Saph.
19 There was still another battle with the Philistines at Gob. A soldier named Elhanan killed Goliath[q] from Gath, whose spear shaft was like a weaver’s beam.[r] Elhanan’s father was Jari[s] from Bethlehem.
20 There was another war, this time in Gath. One of the enemy soldiers was a descendant of the Rephaim. He was as big as a giant and had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. 21 But when he made fun of Israel, David’s nephew Jonathan killed him. Jonathan was the son of David’s brother Shimei.
22 David and his soldiers killed these four men who were descendants of the Rephaim from Gath.
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