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David and the People of Gibeon

21 In the time of David, there was a famine for three successive years, and David asked Yahweh’s advice about it. Yahweh answered, “It’s because of Saul and his family. They are guilty of murder because they killed the people of Gibeon.”

(The Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were left over from the Amorites. Although the Israelites had sworn to spare them, Saul, in his eagerness, tried to destroy them for Israel and Judah.)

The king called the Gibeonites and asked them, “What can I do for you? What should I give you to make peace with you so that you will bless what belongs to Yahweh?”

“We do not want silver or gold from Saul’s family,” the Gibeonites answered him. “And none of us wants to kill anyone in Israel.”

The king asked, “What are you saying that I should do for you?”

They answered the king, “Give us seven of the male descendants of the man who wanted to finish us off. He planned to wipe us out to keep us from staying anywhere in Israel’s territory. We will execute them in Yahweh’s presence at Saul’s town Gibeah.” (It was Saul whom Yahweh had chosen.)

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

But the king spared Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson, because of the oath in Yahweh’s name between David and Jonathan, son of Saul. The king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons whom Rizpah (Aiah’s daughter) gave birth to for Saul, and five sons whom Merab[a] (Saul’s daughter) gave birth to for Adriel, son of Barzillai from Meholah. The king handed them over to the Gibeonites, who executed them on the mountain in Yahweh’s presence. All seven died together. They were killed at the beginning of the harvest, when people started harvesting barley.

10 Rizpah (Aiah’s daughter) took sackcloth and stretched it out on the rock for herself from the beginning of the harvest until the sky rained on the dead bodies. She wouldn’t let any birds land on them during the day or any wild animals come near them during the night.

11 When David was told what Saul’s concubine[b] Rizpah (Aiah’s daughter) had done, 12 David went and took the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. They had stolen them from the public square of Beth Shean, where the Philistines had hung them the day they killed Saul at Gilboa. 13 When David brought up the bones of Saul and Jonathan, his men gathered the bones of those who had been executed. 14 Then they buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin, in Zela, in the tomb of Saul’s father Kish. They did everything the king ordered. After that, Elohim answered the prayers for the land.

The Giants of the Philistines Defeated(A)

15 Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. So David and his men went to fight the Philistines, but David became exhausted. 16 A descendant of Haraphah named Benob, who had a bronze spear weighing 7½ pounds which he wore on a new belt, captured David and intended to kill him. 17 But Abishai, son of Zeruiah, came to help David. He attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David’s men swore an oath, saying, “You’ll never go into battle with us again. The lamp of Israel must never be extinguished.”

18 After this, there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, another descendant of Haraphah. 19 When more fighting broke out with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan, son of Jaare Oregim from Bethlehem, killed Goliath of Gath. (The shaft of Goliath’s spear was like a beam used by weavers.) 20 In another battle at Gath, there was a tall man who had a total of 24 fingers and toes: six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. He also was a descendant of Haraphah. 21 When he challenged Israel, Jonathan, son of David’s brother Shimei, killed him. 22 These four were descendants of Haraphah from Gath, and David and his men killed them.


  1. 2 Samuel 21:8 1 Samuel 18:19, two Hebrew manuscripts, some Greek manuscripts, Syriac, Targum; other Hebrew and Greek manuscripts “Mical.”
  2. 2 Samuel 21:11 A concubine is considered a wife except she has fewer rights under the law.