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2 Samuel 21:1-14 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

21 In David’s time there was a famine that lasted three years, and David consulted Adonai. Adonai said, “It is because of Sha’ul and his bloodstained house, because he put to death the people of Giv‘on.” The king summoned the Giv‘onim and said to them — these Giv‘onim were not part of the people of Isra’el but from the remnant of the Emori; and the people of Isra’el had sworn to them; but Sha’ul, in his zeal for the people of Isra’el and Y’hudah, had sought to exterminate them — David said to the Giv‘onim, “What should I do for you? With what should I make atonement, so that you will be able to bless Adonai’s heritage?” The Giv‘onim said to him, “Our dispute with Sha’ul can’t be resolved with silver or gold; and we don’t have the right to put anyone in Isra’el to death.” He said, “So, what do you say that I should do for you?” They answered the king, “The man who ruined us, who schemed against us so that we would cease to exist anywhere in Isra’el’s territory — have seven of his male descendants handed over to us, and we will put them to death by hanging before Adonai in Giv‘ah of Sha’ul, whom Adonai chose.” The king said, “I will hand them over.” But the king spared M’fivoshet, the son of Y’honatan the son of Sha’ul, because of the oath before Adonai between David and Y’honatan the son of Sha’ul. The king took the two sons of Ritzpah the daughter of Ayah, whom she bore to Sha’ul, Armoni and M’fivoshet; and the five sons of Mikhal the daughter of Sha’ul, whom she bore to Adri’el the son of Barzillai the Mecholati; and handed them over to the Giv‘onim, who hanged them on the hill before Adonai. All seven died; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest season, at the beginning of the barley harvest. 10 Ritzpah the daughter of Ayah took sackcloth, spread it out toward a cliff for herself and stayed there from the beginning of the harvest until water was poured out on the bodies from the sky, not letting the birds land on them during the day or the wild animals at night.

11 David was told what Ritzpah the daughter of Ayah, the concubine of Sha’ul, had done. 12 So David went and took the bones of Sha’ul and the bones of Y’honatan his son from the men of Yavesh-Gil‘ad, who had stolen them from the open square of Beit-Sh’an, where the P’lishtim had hanged them at the time the P’lishtim had killed Sha’ul at Gilboa; 13 and he brought up from there the bones of Sha’ul and the bones of Y’honatan his son. They also gathered the bones of those who had been hanged. 14 Then they buried the bones of Sha’ul and Y’honatan his son in the territory of Binyamin in Tzela, in the tomb of Kish his father; they did everything the king ordered. Only after that was God prevailed on to show mercy to the land.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

2 Samuel 21:1-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

David Avenges the Gibeonites

21 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, “It is because of Saul and his [a]bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.” So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; the children of Israel had sworn protection to them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah.

Therefore David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord?”

And the Gibeonites said to him, “We will have no silver or gold from Saul or from his house, nor shall you kill any man in Israel for us.”

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

Then they answered the king, “As for the man who consumed us and plotted against us, that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the territories of Israel, let seven men of his descendants be delivered to us, and we will hang them before the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord chose.”

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. So the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, and the five sons of [b]Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she [c]brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite; and he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the hill before the Lord. So 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.

10 Now Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until the late rains poured on them from heaven. And she did not allow the birds of the air to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night.

11 And David was told what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. 12 Then David went and took the bones of Saul, and the bones of Jonathan his son, from the men of Jabesh Gilead who had stolen them from the street of [d]Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them up, after the Philistines had struck down Saul in Gilboa. 13 So he brought up the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from there; and they gathered the bones of those who had been hanged. 14 They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the tomb of Kish his father. So they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God heeded the prayer for the land.


  1. 2 Samuel 21:1 Lit. house of bloodshed
  2. 2 Samuel 21:8 Merab, 1 Sam. 18:19; 25:44; 2 Sam. 3:14; 6:23
  3. 2 Samuel 21:8 Lit. bore to Adriel
  4. 2 Samuel 21:12 Beth Shean, Josh. 17:11
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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