The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Samuel

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2 Samuel 21

2Sa 21:1

THERE WAS: Lit, "it came to pass". Always sig a time of trouble, which ends in blessing: Gen 14:1; Rth 1:1; Isa 7:1; Jer 1:3; Est 1:1.


2Sa 21:6

KILLED AND EXPOSED BEFORE THE LORD: "Seven of Saul's descendants are treated thus (vv 9,13; Num 25:4). The Heb verb designates 'a solemn ritual act of execution imposed for breach of covenant', prob involving the cutting up or dismembering [of] a treaty violator as a punishment for treaty violation... As Agag was put to death 'before the LORD' (1Sa 15:33), so also Saul's descendants are to be killed and exposed before the LORD, perhaps so that His blessing might be sought" (EBC).

2Sa 21:7

MEPHIBOSHETH: The treatment of the name "Baal" is probably an example of deliberate change, for theological reasons, by the scribes who copied out the scriptures. With personal names that included the word "Baal" (which could simply mean "master" or "lord"), the scribes deliberately replaced "Baal" with "Bosheth" (which means "shame"). To them the idol "Baal", in all his many forms, was a "shameful thing", and any passing allusion to him was to be avoided if possible. Hence, it is likely that Jonathan's son was actually named "Meribbaal", but later scribes made sure that the (by then) hated name of "Baal" was replaced -- yielding "Mephibosheth" (cp 1Ch 8:34; 9:40 and 2Sa 9:6; 19:24; 21:7).

2Sa 21:8

MERAB: KJV has "Michal", wrongly: Michal had no child (2Sa 6:23). Merab was the wife of Adriel (1Sa 18:19).

2Sa 21:10

RIZPAH... TOOK SACKCLOTH AND SPREAD IT OUT FOR HERSELF ON A ROCK. FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE HARVEST TILL THE RAIN POURED DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS ON THE BODIES...: If the love of a woman for her slain sons could make her prolong her mournful vigil for so long, how can we grow weary of considering the sufferings of our Lord?. These her children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept and watched: what ought we to do who have by our sins crucified our Lord (Isa 53:5,6)? Our obligations are boundless, and so our love should be fervent and our repentance thorough. To watch with Jesus should be our business; to protect his honor should be our occupation. To remain beside him, come what may, should be our life's work.

SHE DID NOT LET THE BIRDS OF THE AIR TOUCH THEM BY DAY: Compare Abraham's protection of the sacrifices in Gen 15:11. Shall we not chase from our meditations those worldly and sinful preoccupations which defile both our minds and the sacred themes upon which we are occupied? "Go away, evil thoughts. Leave the sacrifice alone!"

...OR THE WILD ANIMALS BY NIGHT: She chased away even the wild beasts, with courage unusual for a woman. Will not we be ready to encounter every foe for Jesus' sake?

2Sa 21:14

AFTER THAT: The faithful woman Rizpah remedied a very bad situation.

2Sa 21:15

David reestablishes himself on the battlefield.

2Sa 21:17

BUT ABISHAI SON OF ZERUIAH CAME TO DAVID'S RESCUE: Sometimes we win great spiritual victories or reach a seemingly unattainable goal without the help of a friend or companion. This was true of David when as a shepherd lad he killed Goliath with nothing but a sling and faith in God. In later years, however, he would have been slain by a giant named Ishbibenob if his nephew Abishai had not come to his aid. Now, are we to conclude that God was with David when he met Goliath, but not when he confronted the second giant? I don't think so! The Lord simply used a different means to take care of His servant. The first time, He used David's skill with the sling; the second time, He used Abishai's strength and military prowess.

2Sa 21:19

LIKE A WEAVER'S ROD: Not size but appearance and shape. A spear with a leash or cord, increasing leverage, and thus enabling the soldier to throw it a greater distance. Refd in 1Sa 17:7; 2Sa 21:19; 1Ch 20:5; 11:23.

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