2 Samuel 21:5
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,
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2 Samuel 21:5-6. They answered, The man that consumed us, &c. — They desired no reparation of private damages, or revenge of injuries; all they required was that a public sacrifice should be made to justice, and to the divine vengeance inflicted upon the land. Let seven of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up before the Lord — As a satisfaction to his honour for an injustice and cruelty committed in defiance of a solemn oath given in his holy name. But it may be inquired, if Saul was thus wicked in destroying a people contrary to a solemn oath, ratified in the name of God, why should his sons and grandsons be punished for it? To this it may be answered, with great reason, and upon a good foundation, that they were not punished because Saul was guilty, but because they themselves were guilty, and had been the executioners of his unjust decrees. We have reason to conclude that his sons and his grandsons were among his captains of hundreds, and captains of thousands, as that was the practice of those days: and if so, undoubtedly they were employed in executing his cruel and unjust commands in regard to the Gibeonites, especially as the purpose of destroying them seems to have been to take their possessions; for we can scarcely suppose Saul to have been so solicitous to increase the fortunes of any, as those of his sons and grandsons. And this supposition the text before us seems to prove, as it not only entitles Saul bloody, but his house too: Saul and his bloody house. And it is likely that some of these still possessed some of the possessions of the Gibeonites, and that they defended and commended this action of Saul whenever there was any question about it: and, therefore, they very justly and deservedly suffered for it. See Delaney. In Gibeah of Saul — To make the punishment more remarkable and shameful, this being the city where Saul lived both before and after he was king. Whom the Lord did choose — This aggravated his guilt, that he had broken the oath of that God by whom he had been so highly favoured.

And the king said, I will give them — Having doubtless consulted God in the matter; who, as he had before declared Saul’s bloody house to be the cause of this judgment, so now commanded that justice should be done upon it, and that the remaining branches of it should be cut off; as sufficiently appears from hence that God was well pleased with the action; which he would not have been if David had done it without his command; for then it had been a sinful action of David’s, and contrary to a double law of God. Deuteronomy 21:23; Deuteronomy 24:16.

But here another question arises; supposing Saul’s sons and grandsons engaged in the fact, and therefore justly punished for it, how came it, or for what reason was it, that the whole people of Israel were afflicted with famine on that account? Undoubtedly because they were partakers too in Saul’s guilt, and had been abetting, aiding, and assisting in it; or, at least, had not opposed it, as they ought to have done. It is said expressly that Saul sought to slay the Gibeonites in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah. Is it not absurd to think that any thing was done in zeal for them which they did not approve of? Or is there much reason to doubt whether they did not lend their hand to it? Is there the least colour to believe that they in any degree remonstrated against or opposed this proceeding of their prince? as they had a right, nay, were obliged by all the laws of justice to do, as a nation bound to make good the public faith they had given, and sworn to preserve. And if this was the case, were they not guilty as well as Saul, and were they not with justice punished?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.No silver, nor gold ... - Money payments as a compensation for blood-guilt were very common among many nations. The law, too, in Numbers 35:31-32, presupposes the existence of the custom which it prohibits. In like manner the speech of the Gibeonites implies that such a payment as they refuse would be a not unusual proceeding.

Neither ... shalt thou kill any man in Israel - They mean that it is not against the nation of Israel, but against the individual Saul, that they cry for vengeance. The demand for Saul's sons is exactly similar to that which dictated David's own expression in 2 Samuel 24:17, "against me, and against my father's house."

2. in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah—Under pretense of a rigorous and faithful execution of the divine law regarding the extermination of the Canaanites, he set himself to expel or destroy those whom Joshua had been deceived into sparing. His real object seems to have been, that the possessions of the Gibeonites, being forfeited to the crown, might be divided among his own people (compare 1Sa 22:7). At all events, his proceeding against this people was in violation of a solemn oath, and involving national guilt. The famine was, in the wise and just retribution of Providence, made a national punishment, since the Hebrews either assisted in the massacre, or did not interpose to prevent it; since they neither endeavored to repair the wrong, nor expressed any horror of it; and since a general protracted chastisement might have been indispensable to inspire a proper respect and protection to the Gibeonite remnant that survived. That we should be either killed, or banished from the land of Israel; which is as bad as death to us, because here, and here only, God is truly worshipped and enjoyed. Whereby it seems divers of them were hearty proselytes, and godly persons; and therefore God is more severe in punishing the injuries done to them. Compare 1 Samuel 26:19. And they answered the king,.... Declaring expressly what they would have done: the man that consumed us; meaning Saul, who lessened their number by cruel oppressions of some, and by taking away the lives of others:

and that devised against us, that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel; who had formed schemes, and published edicts, for banishing them out of the land; perhaps at the same time that he put away wizards and those that had familiar spirits out of the land, under the same pretence for zeal for the glory of God, and the good of the people of the land, 1 Samuel 28:3.

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,
5. devised] This, and not the marginal alternative cut us off, is the right rendering.

in any of the coasts] In all the borders. Coast, from costa, a rib or side, originally meant any border or frontier-line, not the sea-line only; and then, like the Lat. fines, the territory enclosed by the border.Verse 5. - The man that consumed us, etc. The strong language of this verse makes it plain that Saul had been guilty, not merely of some one great act of cruelty, but of a long series of barbarities intended to bring about their utter extirpation. David's Ministers of State. - The second section of the history of David's reign closes, like the first (2 Samuel 8:16.), with a list of the leading ministers of state. The author evidently found the two lists in his sources, and included them both in his work, for the simple reason that they belonged to different periods, as the difference in the names of some of the officers clearly shows, and that they supplemented on another. The list before us belongs to a later period of David's reign than the one in 2 Samuel 8:16-18. In addition to the office-bearers mentioned in 2 Samuel 8, we find here Adoram over the tribute, and Ira the Kairite a confidential counsellor (cohen: see at 2 Samuel 8:18), in the place of the sons of David noticed in 2 Samuel 8:18. The others are the same in both lists. The Chethib הכרי is to be read הכּרי (cf. 2 Kings 11:4, 2 Kings 11:19), from כוּר, perfodit, and is synonymous with הכּרתי (see at 2 Samuel 8:18). Adoram is the same person as Adoniram, who is mentioned in 1 Kings 4:6 and 1 Kings 5:14 as overseer over the tributary service in the time of Solomon; as we may see from the fact, that the latter is also called Adoram in 1 Kings 12:18, and Hadoram in 2 Chronicles 10:18. Hadoram is apparently only a contracted form of the name, and not merely a copyist's mistake for Adoniram. But when we find that, according to the passage cited, the same man filled this office under three kings, we must bear in mind that he did not enter upon it till the close of David's reign, as he is not mentioned in 2 Samuel 8:16., and that his name only occurs in connection with Rehoboam's ascent of the throne; so that there is no ground for assuming that he filled the office for any length of time under that monarch. המּס does not mean vectigal, i.e., tribute or tributary service, but tributary labourers. The derivation of the word is uncertain, and has been disputed. The appointment of a special prefect over the tributary labourers can hardly have taken place before the closing years of David's reign, when the king organized the internal administration of the kingdom more firmly than before. On the tributary labourers, see at 1 Kings 5:13. Ira the Jairite is never mentioned again. There is no ground for altering Jairi (the Jairite) into Jithri (the Jithrite), as Thenius proposes, since the rendering given in the Syriac ("from Jathir") is merely an inference from 2 Samuel 23:38; and the assumption upon which this conclusion is founded, viz., that Ira, the hero mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:38, is the same person as Ira the royal cohen, is altogether unfounded.
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