2 Samuel 21
Sermon Bible
Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.

2 Samuel 21:10

I. Consider first the Divine dealings with the house of Saul and the people of Israel.

The famine was because Saul and his bloody house had slain the Gibeonites. It was a consequence of that act of his. But the famine was not the punishment of Saul, the most guilty of the offenders. Saul was punished even in this world. In spite of his elevation to the throne and his brilliant successes, he lived a miserable life and died a miserable death. Here was his punishment, but so far as his crime to the Gibeonites was concerned he did not live to share in the misery occasioned by that sinful act.

The thought of this fact, that our actions, independently of their good or evil desert, have inevitable consequences, should make us very circumspect and careful. There exists a mysterious sequence of events which evades our research and reaches beyond the things of this world.

II. The conduct of Rizpah was natural; it was also not without its use, if we look to the moral instead of the physical world. She returned to her home with a softened though a saddened heart, with subdued affections, with a consciousness of having done what she could, and with the knowledge that her conduct had met with the approbation of David.

III. Notice the conduct of David. In his generous heart a generous action was sure to find a ready response. He whose parental affections not even the rebellion of an ungrateful son could annihilate knew how to sympathise with the childless Rizpah, and Rizpah was doubtless consoled when, in a princely burial, she saw honour done to her husband's house.

Justice first, and then mercy. This is the way of the Lord, and David, as the Lord's vicegerent, walked in it.

F. W. Hook, Parish Sermons, p. 66.

References: 2 Samuel 21:10.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 91; J. W. Burgon, Ninety-one Short Sermons, No. 66. 2 Samuel 21:14.—Sermons for Sundays: festivals and Fasts, 2nd series, vol. in., p. 34. 2 Samuel 21:15, 2 Samuel 21:16.—S. Baring-Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, p. 89.

2 Samuel 21:17The personal influence of King David was the spell by which Israel was reunited after long separations and out of great diversities of interests. A skilful general, a gallant soldier, a perfect bard, a saint of God, and, above all, a lifelong penitent after a great fall, this was the man whom his generals well called the "light of Israel;" this was he on whose life and name, they felt, depended the solidity of a yet fragmentary, a half-barbarised, nation. He was, as it were, the only lamp of God burning in a darkened sanctuary, the one pledge they had that strength, glory, and wisdom are not really of us, but of God.

I. David's personal influence was invaluable to the tribes; it was the most precious thing that God had given them as a nation. And therefore, valuable as it is on the field of battle, they will not use it there at all; they must keep it for the good of Israel in higher fields and for nobler achievements in the elevation of the people. This story teaches that the power of personal influence is the best gift which God gives to every one.

II. There is none too much light in Israel. If one man's name is not now, as in the old heroic savage times, a beacon blaze for all, so much the more careful should we be of all the rays of scattered light which here and there betoken that God's gifts are present.

III. But yet again we may rise higher. Let us not risk the light that is in our own souls. We all of us own some light of God burning in the dark places of our hearts. Bring not these sanctities into danger. Rekindle the light of Israel.

Archbishop Benson, Boy Life: Sundays at Wellington College, p. 55.

References: 2Sam 21—Parker, vol. vii., p. 207. 2 Samuel 22:20.—J. Baldwin Brown, The Higher Life, p. 131. 2Sam 22—W. M. Taylor, David King of Israel, pp. 269, 284.

And 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.)
Wherefore 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?
And 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.
And 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,
Let 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.
But 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.
But 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:
And 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.
And 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.
And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.
And 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:
And 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.
And 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.
Moreover 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.
And 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.
But 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.
And 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.
And 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.
And 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.
And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him.
These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
William Robertson Nicoll's Sermon Bible

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