2 Samuel 21:1
New International Version
During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the LORD. The LORD said, "It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death."

New Living Translation
There was a famine during David's reign that lasted for three years, so David asked the LORD about it. And the LORD said, "The famine has come because Saul and his family are guilty of murdering the Gibeonites."

English Standard Version
Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the LORD. And the LORD said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.”

Berean Study Bible
Now during the reign of David there was a famine for three successive years, and David sought the face of the LORD. And the LORD said, “It is because of the blood shed by Saul and his family, because he killed the Gibeonites.”

New American Standard Bible
Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, "It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death."

King James 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.

Christian Standard Bible
During David's reign there was a famine for three successive years, so David inquired of the LORD. The LORD answered, "It is due to Saul and to his bloody family, because he killed the Gibeonites."

Contemporary English Version
While David was king, there were three years in a row when the nation of Israel could not grow enough food. So David asked the LORD for help, and the LORD answered, "Saul and his family are guilty of murder, because he had the Gibeonites killed."

Good News Translation
During David's reign there was a severe famine which lasted for three full years. So David consulted the LORD about it, and the LORD said, "Saul and his family are guilty of murder; he put the people of Gibeon to death." (

Holman Christian Standard Bible
During David's reign there was a famine for three successive years, so David inquired of the LORD. The LORD answered, "It is because of the blood shed by Saul and his family when he killed the Gibeonites."

International Standard Version
One time there was a famine during David's reign that went on for three straight years. David sought the LORD, who said, "Saul and his household are guilty because he executed the Gibeonites."

NET Bible
During David's reign there was a famine for three consecutive years. So David inquired of the LORD. The LORD said, "It is because of Saul and his bloodstained family, because he murdered the Gibeonites."

New Heart English Bible
There was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of the LORD. The LORD said, "It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
In the time of David, there was a famine for three successive years, and David asked the LORD's advice about it. The LORD answered, "It's because of Saul and his family. They are guilty of murder because they killed the people of Gibeon."

JPS Tanakh 1917
And there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of the LORD. And the LORD said: 'It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites.'

New American Standard 1977
Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, “It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then there was a famine in the days of David for three consecutive years, and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is because of Saul and because of his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.

King James 2000 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.

American King James Version
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.

American Standard Version
And there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of Jehovah. And Jehovah said, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of the Lord. And the Lord said, There is guilt upon Saul and his house because of his bloody murder, whereby he slew the Gabaonites.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And there was a famine in the days of David for three years successively: and David consulted the oracle of the Lord. And the Lord said: It is for Saul, and his bloody house, because he slew the Gabaonites.

Darby Bible Translation
And there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of Jehovah. And Jehovah said, It is for Saul, and for [his] house of blood, because he slew the Gibeonites.

English Revised Version
And there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of the LORD. And the LORD said, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites.

Webster's Bible Translation
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.

World English Bible
There was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of Yahweh. Yahweh said, "It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites."

Young's Literal Translation
And there is a famine in the days of David three years, year after year, and David seeketh the face of Jehovah, and Jehovah saith, 'For Saul and for the bloody house, because that he put to death the Gibeonites.'
Study Bible
David Avenges the Gibeonites
1Now during the reign of David there was a famine for three successive years, and David sought the face of the LORD. And the LORD said, “It is because of the blood shed by Saul and his family, because he killed the Gibeonites.” 2At this, David summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not Israelites, but a remnant of the Amorites. The Israelites had taken an oath concerning them, but in his zeal for Israel and Judah, Saul had sought to kill them.)…
Cross References
Genesis 12:10
Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.

Genesis 26:1
Now there was another famine in the land, subsequent to the one that had occurred in Abraham's time. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines at Gerar.

Genesis 42:5
So the sons of Israel were among those who came to buy grain, since the famine had also spread to the land of Canaan.

Numbers 27:21
He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who will seek counsel for him before the LORD by the judgment of the Urim. At his command he and all the Israelites with him, the entire congregation, will go out and come in."

2 Samuel 16:8
The LORD has paid you back for all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the LORD has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. See, you have come to ruin because you are a man of bloodshed!"

2 Samuel 20:26
and Ira the Jairite was David's priest.

2 Samuel 21:5
And they answered the king, "As for the man who consumed us and plotted against us to exterminate us from existing within any border of Israel,

2 Samuel 24:1
Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He stirred up David against them, saying, "Go, take a census of Israel and Judah."

Treasury of Scripture

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.

A.

Genesis 12:10
And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

Genesis 26:1
And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.

Genesis 41:57
And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.

enquired [heb] sought the face, etc.

2 Samuel 5:19,23
And David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand…

Numbers 27:21
And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.

1 Samuel 23:2,4,11
Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah…

It is

Joshua 7:1,11,12
But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel…

Saul

1 Samuel 22:17-19
And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD…







Lexicon
Now during the reign
בִּימֵ֨י (bî·mê)
Preposition-b | Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's Hebrew 3117: A day

of David
דָוִ֜ד (ḏā·wiḏ)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1732: David -- perhaps 'beloved one', a son of Jesse

there was
וַיְהִ֣י (way·hî)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1961: To fall out, come to pass, become, be

a famine
רָעָב֩ (rā·‘āḇ)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7458: Famine, hunger

for three
שָׁלֹ֣שׁ (šā·lōš)
Number - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7969: Three, third, thrice

successive years,
שָׁנִ֗ים (šā·nîm)
Noun - feminine plural
Strong's Hebrew 8141: A year

and David
דָּוִ֖ד (dā·wiḏ)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1732: David -- perhaps 'beloved one', a son of Jesse

sought
וַיְבַקֵּ֥שׁ (way·ḇaq·qêš)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Piel - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1245: To search out, to strive after

the face
פְּנֵ֣י (pə·nê)
Noun - common plural construct
Strong's Hebrew 6440: The face

of the LORD.
יְהוָ֑ה (Yah·weh)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

And the LORD
יְהוָ֗ה (Yah·weh)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

said,
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר (way·yō·mer)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 559: To utter, say

“It is because of
אֶל־ (’el-)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 413: Near, with, among, to

the blood
הַדָּמִ֔ים (had·dā·mîm)
Article | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 1818: Blood, of man, an animal, the juice of the grape, bloodshed

shed by Saul
שָׁאוּל֙ (šā·’ūl)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7586: Saul -- first king of Israel, also an Edomite and two Israelites

and his family,
בֵּ֣ית (bêṯ)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 1004: A house

because
אֲשֶׁר־ (’ă·šer-)
Pronoun - relative
Strong's Hebrew 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

he killed
הֵמִ֖ית (hê·mîṯ)
Verb - Hifil - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4191: To die, to kill

the Gibeonites.”
הַגִּבְעֹנִֽים׃ (hag·giḇ·‘ō·nîm)
Article | Noun - proper - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 1393: Gibeonites -- inhabitants of Gibeon
XXI.

(1) Then there was.--Read, and there was, there being no indication of time in the original. It is plain from 2Samuel 21:7 that the events here narrated occurred after David had come to know Mephibosheth; and if in 2Samuel 16:7 there is (as many suppose) an allusion to the execution of Saul's sons, they must have happened before the rebellion of Absalom. There is no more definite clue to the time, and the expression "in the days of David" seems purposely indefinite. The narrative is omitted from the Book of Chronicles.

Three years.--A famine in Palestine was always a consequence of deficient winter rains, and was not very uncommon; but a famine enduring for three successive years was alarming enough to awaken attention and to suggest some especial cause.

Enquired of the Lord.--Literally, sought the face of the Lord. The phrase is a different one from that often used in Judges and Samuel, and agrees with other indications that this narrative may have been obtained by the compiler from some other records than those from which he drew the bulk of this book. David turned to the true Source for a knowledge of the meaning of this unusual affliction.

Verse 1. - There was a famine in the days of David; Hebrew, and there was. There is an entire absence of any mark of time to show in what part of David's reign this famine took place. It does not even follow, from the mention of Mephibosheth's name, that it must have happened at a time subsequent to the sending for that prince from Machir's house; for it may have been the search after the descendants of Saul which made David remember the son of his old friend. The burial, however, of the bones of Saul and Jonathan as an act of respect to the slaughtered king makes it probable that the narrative belongs to the early part of David's reign, as also does the apparent fact that the seven victims were all young and unmarried. Mephibosheth, we read, had a young son when David sent for him. Now, he was five years old when his father was slain (2 Samuel 4:4), and thus at the end of David's reign of seven years and a half at Hebron, he would be twelve and a half years of age. The famine lasted three years, and if David had been king four or five years when the famine began, Mephibosheth, at the age of twenty, might well have a "young son" in a country where men marry early. We cannot believe that the famine occurred long after David had been king of all Israel, because manifestly it would have been unjust and even monstrous to punish a nation for the sins of a king who had long passed away. The sins of its rulers are visited upon a nation constantly through a long series of years, but it is always in the way of natural development. A statesman may put a nation upon a wrong track, and may involve it in serious difficulties, and even in irretrievable disaster, unless some one be raised up able to make it retrace its steps and regain the rightful direction. But this famine was a direct interference of Providence, and to justify it the sin must be still fresh in the national remembrance. Had it been an old crime long ago forgotten, instead of leading men to repentance, this long and terrible punishment would have hardened men's hearts, and made them regard the Deity as vindictive. It is even probable that the sin was still being committed; for though commenced and approved by Saul, his oppression and purpose of gradually destroying the native races was too much in accord with men's usual way of acting not to be continued, unless stopped by the justice of the ruler. We all know how the Red Indian, the Bushman, the Maori, and the Australian disappear before the advance of the white man. It needs only apathy on the part of the government, and rougher methods for clearing them off are practised than men would care to own. So with Gibeonites and Perizzites and other native races, a similar process would be going on. The lands they held, their little villages, their pastures, and above all their strongholds, would be coveted by the dominant race, and entrenchments would lead to quarrels, in which the natives would find any resistance on their part punished as rebellion. Even David seized the hill fortress of Jebus for his capital, though he still left Araunah the nominal title of king (2 Samuel 24:23). Saul had lent all the weight of the royal authority to the extermination of the natives, and this chapter records the Divine condemnation of wrong done by the dominantrace to the aborigines. It remains to this day the charter for their protection, and not only forbids their extinction, but requires that they shall be treated with fair and even justice, and their rights respected and maintained. It has been objected that the execution of Saul's seven sons was a political crime committed to render David's throne secure. If at all to his advantage, it was so only to a very slight extent. The sons of Rizpah could never have become pretenders to the throne; nor were the sons of Merab likely to be much more dangerous. In a few years they would have married, and formed other ties, and been merged in the general population. Mephibosheth was the heir of Saul, and David protected him and Micha his son. It was quite in the spirit of the times to visit upon Saul's house the sins of its chief. The principle was the same as when all Israel stoned Achan, his sons and his daughters, his oxen and his asses, his sheep and his tent, for brining iniquity upon the people (Joshua 7:24, 25). We keep chiefly in view the doctrine of personal responsibility; in the Old Testament the other doctrine of the collective responsibility of a family, a city, a nation, was made the more prominent It was the Prophet Ezekiel who in ch. 18. stated clearly and with Divine force that "the soul that sinneth it shall die;" but that the sinner's son, if he walk in God's statutes, shall not die for the iniquity of his father he shall surely live. But the collective responsibility enacted in the second commandment is still God's law. In the philosophic jargon of our times the two factors which form human character and decide our fortunes are "heredity and environment." Heredity was the prevailing sentiment in David's days; and it seemed right to the Gibeonites that the sons of the man who had slaughtered them should die for their father's sins; and it seemed just to David also. But he spared the heir to Saul's throne. There is no adequate reason for supposing that David was influenced by political motives, and the more important lesson of the narrative is the emphatic condemnation given in it of wrong and cruelty to aboriginal tribes. David inquired of the Lord; Hebrew, David sought the face of Jehovah. The phrase is remarkable, and not found elsewhere in Samuel. Probably it means that he went to Gibeon to pray in the sanctuary, and consult God by Urim and Thummim. His bloody house. The Hebrew means "the house on which rested the guilt of murder." 21:1-9 Every affliction arises from sin, and should lead us to repent and humble ourselves before God; but some troubles especially show that they are sent to bring sin to remembrance. God's judgments often look a great way back, which requires us to do so, when we are under his rebukes. It is not for us to object against the people's smarting for the sin of their king; perhaps they helped him. Nor against this generation suffering for the sin of the last. God often visits the sins of the fathers upon the children, and he gives no account of any matters. Time does not wear out the guilt of sin; nor can we build hopes of escape upon the delay of judgments. If we cannot understand all the reasons of Providence in this matter, still we have no right to demand that God should acquaint us with those reasons. It must be right, because it is the will of God, and in the end it will be proved to be so. Money is no satisfaction for blood. It should seem, Saul's posterity trod in his steps, for it is called a bloody house. It was the spirit of the family, therefore they are justly reckoned with for his sin, as well as for their own. The Gibeonites did not require this out of malice against Saul or his family. It was not to gratify any revenge, but for the public good. They were put to death at the beginning of harvest; they were thus sacrificed to turn away the wrath of Almighty God, who had withheld the harvest-mercies for some years past, and to obtain his favour in the present harvest. In vain do we expect mercy from God, unless we do justice upon our sins. Executions must not be thought cruel, which are for the public welfare.
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Alphabetical: a account after and because blood-stained bloody David days death During face famine for Gibeonites he his house in is It LORD Now of on presence put reign said Saul so sought successive the there three to was year years

OT History: 2 Samuel 21:1 There was a famine in the days (2Sa iiSam 2 Sam ii sam) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
2 Samuel 20:26
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