2 Samuel 21:7
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.
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2 Samuel 21:7-8. The king spared, &c. — For the Gibeonites desiring only such a number, it was at David’s choice whom to spare. The son of Jonathan — This is added to distinguish him from the other Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 21:8. Because of the Lord’s oath, &c. — This was a just reason for not delivering him up. The five sons of Michal, whom she brought up for Adriel — In the original it is, whom she bare to Adriel. And as Michal was not the wife of Adriel, but her elder sister Merab, it is probable that Michal’s name has here crept into the text by the mistake of some transcriber for Merab’s. Or else it should stand as the margin of our Bible has it, Michal’s sister.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.The Lord's oath - The calamity brought upon Israel by Saul's breach of the oath to the Gibeonites would make David doubly careful in the matter of his own oath to Jonathan. 6. Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul—The practice of the Hebrews, as of most Oriental nations, was to slay first, and afterwards to suspend on a gibbet, the body not being left hanging after sunset. The king could not refuse this demand of the Gibeonites, who, in making it, were only exercising their right as blood-avengers; and, although through fear and a sense of weakness they had not hitherto claimed satisfaction, yet now that David had been apprised by the oracle of the cause of the long-prevailing calamity, he felt it his duty to give the Gibeonites full satisfaction—hence their specifying the number seven, which was reckoned full and complete. And if it should seem unjust to make the descendants suffer for a crime which, in all probability, originated with Saul himself, yet his sons and grandsons might be the instruments of his cruelty, the willing and zealous executors of this bloody raid.

the king said, I will give them—David cannot be charged with doing this as an indirect way or ridding himself of rival competitors for the throne, for those delivered up were only collateral branches of Saul's family, and never set up any claim to the sovereignty. Moreover, David was only granting the request of the Gibeonites as God had bidden him do.

The king spared Mephibosheth; for the Gibeonites desiring only such a number, without designing the persons, it was at David’s choice whom to spare. Or, he prevailed with the Gibeonites that they did not demand him; and with the Lord, that he might not be one of those who were devoted to destruction.

The son of Jonathan: this is expressly added, to distinguish him from the other Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 21:8. But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul,.... As they did not name particular persons, only required seven sons, it was at the option of the king what sons to deliver to them, and therefore kept back Mephibosheth, who is thus described, to distinguish him from a son of Saul's of the same name, after mentioned:

because of the Lord's oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul; not merely or only out of affection to Mephibosheth, but because of the oath, that he might not be guilty of the same crime Saul was in slaying the Gibeonites.

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.
7. the Lord’s oath] See 1 Samuel 18:3; 1 Samuel 20:12-17; 1 Samuel 20:42; 1 Samuel 23:18.Three Years' Famine. - A three years' famine in the land, the occasion of which, as Jehovah declared to the king, was Saul's crime with regard to the Gibeonites, was expiated by David's delivering up to the Gibeonites, at their own request, seven of Saul's descendants, who were then hung by them upon a mountain before Jehovah. This occurrence certainly did not take place in the closing years of David's reign; on the other hand, it is evident from the remark in 2 Samuel 21:7, to the effect that Mephibosheth was spared, that it happened after David had received tidings of Mephibosheth, and had taken him to his own table (2 Samuel 9:1-13). This is mentioned here as a practical illustration, on the one hand of the manner in which Jehovah visited upon the house of Saul, even after the death of Saul himself, a crime which had been committed by him; and, on the other hand, of the way in which, even in such a case as this, when David had been obliged to sacrifice the descendants of Saul to expiate the guilt of their father, he showed his tenderness towards him by the honourable burial of their bones.

2 Samuel 21:1-6

A famine, which lasted for three successive years, induced David to seek the face of Jehovah, i.e., to approach God in prayer and ask the cause of this judgment which had fallen upon the land. The Lord replied, "Because of Saul, and because of the house of blood-guiltiness, because he hath slain the Gibeonites." The expression "because of the house of blood-guiltiness" is in apposition to "Saul," and determines the meaning more precisely: "because of Saul, and indeed because of the blood-guiltiness which rests upon his house." הדּמים בּית signifies the house upon which blood that had been shed still rested as guilt, like הדּמים עיר in Ezekiel 22:2; Ezekiel 24:6, Ezekiel 24:9, and דּמים אישׁ in Psalm 5:7; Psalm 27:9, etc. Nothing further is known about the fact itself. It is simply evident from the words of the Gibeonites in 2 Samuel 21:5, that Saul, in his pretended zeal for the children of Israel, had smitten the Gibeonites, i.e., had put them to death. Probably some dissatisfaction with them had furnished Saul with a pretext for exterminating these Amoritish heathen from the midst of the people of God.

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