And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)2 Samuel 21:11. It was told David what Rizpah had done — And he heard it with so much approbation, that he thought fit to imitate her piety, being by her example provoked to do what hitherto he had neglected, to bestow an honourable interment on the remains of Saul and Jonathan, and, with them, upon those that were now put to death, that the honour done to them therein might be some comfort to this disconsolate widow.Exodus 9:33. The "early rain," or heavy rain of autumn, usually began in October, so that Rizpah's devoted watch continued about six months. How rare rain was in harvest we learn from 1 Samuel 12:17-18; Proverbs 26:1. The reason of the bodies being left unburied, contrary to Deuteronomy 21:23, probably was that the death of these men being an expiation of the guilt of a violated oath, they were to remain until the fall of rain should give the assurance that God's anger was appeased, and the national sin forgiven.
Birds of the air ... beasts of the field - It is well known how in the East, on the death e. g. of a camel in a caravan, the vultures instantly flock to the carcass. (Compare Matthew 24:28.)
10. Rizpah … took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock—She erected a tent near the spot, in which she and her servants kept watch, as the relatives of executed persons were wont to do, day and night, to scare the birds and beasts of prey away from the remains exposed on the low-standing gibbets.It was told David; who heard it with so much approbation, that he thought fit to imitate her piety, being by her example provoked to do what hitherto he had neglected, to bestow an honourable interment upon the remains of Saul and Jonathan, and, with them, upon those that were now put to death, that the honour done to them herein might be some comfort to this dejected and disconsolate widow. And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. The curious addition of the Sept. to this verse, “and they were unfastened, and Dan the son of Joash, who was of the descendants of the giant, took them down,” is almost certainly a corrupt rendering of 2 Samuel 21:15-16, placed here by mistake.Numbers 35:31). The Chethib לי is not to be touched, notwithstanding the לנוּ which follows. The use of the singular may be explained on the simple ground that the speaker thought of the Gibeonites as a corporation. "And it does not pertain to us to put any one to death in Israel" (sc., of our own accord). When David inquired still further, "What do you mean, then, that I should do to you?" they replied, "(As for) the man who consumed us, and who thought against us, that we should be destroyed (נשׁמדנוּ without כּי, subordinately to דּמּה, like אעשׂה in the previous verse), so as not to continue in the whole of the territory of Israel, let seven men of his sons be given us, that we may crucify them to Jehovah at Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of Jehovah." וגו אשׁר אישׁ is placed at the head absolutely (cf. Gesenius, 145, 2). On crucifixion as a capital punishment, see at Numbers 25:4, where it has already been observed that criminals were not impaled or fastened to the cross alive, but were first of all put to death. Consequently the Gibeonites desired that the massacre, which had taken place among them by the command of Saul, should be expiated by the execution of a number of his sons - blood for blood, according to Numbers 35:31. They asked for the crucifixion for Jehovah, i.e., that the persons executed might be impaled, as a public exhibition of the punishment inflicted, before the face of the Lord (vid., 2 Samuel 21:9), as the satisfaction required to expiate His wrath. Seven was a sacred number, denoting the performance of a work of God. This was to take place in Gibeah, the home and capital of Saul, who had brought the wrath of God upon the land through his crime. There is a sacred irony in the epithet applied to Saul, "chosen of the Lord." If Saul was the chosen of Jehovah, his actions ought to have been in accordance with his divine election.
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