2 Samuel 3:7
And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ishbosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father's concubine?
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(7) Rizpah.—The name of this woman is associated with her strong and tender grief over the loss of her sons, recorded in 2Samuel 21:8-11.

Wherefore hast thou gone in?—The harem of an Eastern monarch was considered as the property of his successor, and therefore the taking of a woman belonging to it as the assertion of a claim to the throne. (See 2Samuel 12:8; 2Samuel 16:21; 1Kings 2:22.) It is not probable that Abner had any such design, since he was exerting himself to maintain Ish-bosheth on the throne. But the king appears to have so regarded the act, as it is this implied charge of treachery that so greatly rouses the anger of Abner. The name of Ish-bosheth has dropped out of the Hebrew text, but appears in a few MSS., and is rightly restored in all the versions.

2 Samuel 3:7. Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine? — It was then looked upon as a very great crime for any man, though never so great, to marry the relict of the king; for it was esteemed an affectation of the kingdom; as appears in the case of Adonijah.

3:7-21 Many, like Abner, are not above committing base crimes, who are too proud to bear reproof, or even the suspicion of being guilty. While men go on in sin, and apparently without concern, they are often conscious that they are fighting against God. Many mean to serve their own purposes; and will betray those who trust them, when they can get any advantage. Yet the Lord serves his own designs, even by those who are thus actuated by revenge, ambition, or lust; but as they intend not to honour him, in the end they will be thrown aside with contempt. There was real generosity both to Michal and to the memory of Saul, in David's receiving the former, remembering probably how once he owed his life to her affection, and knowing that she was separated from him partly by her father's authority. Let no man set his heart on that which he is not entitled to. If any disagreement has separated husband and wife, as they expect the blessing of God, let them be reconciled, and live together in love.Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah - For the sequel of her history, see the marginal reference. Aiah, was an Edomite, or rather Horite name Genesis 36:24. 2Sa 3:6-12. Abner Revolts to David.

6-11. Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul—In the East, the wives and concubines of a king are the property of his successor to this extent, that for a private person to aspire to marry one of them would be considered a virtual advance of pretensions to the crown (see 1Ki 2:17). It is not clear whether the accusation against Abner was well or ill founded. But he resented the charge as an indignity, and, impelled by revenge, determined to transfer all the weight of his influence to the opposite party. He evidently set a full value on his services, and seems to have lorded it over his weak nephew in a haughty, overbearing manner.

Either, first, To satisfy thy own lust. Or rather, secondly, By that pretence to take away my crown first; for this was that which stirred up his jealousy and rage, and caused him to speak that to Abner which otherwise he neither would nor durst. But whether Abner were guilty or no, it is not evident from the following words; for if it were true, great men cannot endure to be told of their faults, though they be true and great.

And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah,.... By whom he had two sons, 2 Samuel 21:8. Josephus (a) calls her father's name Sibathus:

and Ishbosheth said to Abner; though the word "Ishbosheth" is not in the text, it is rightly supplied; for no other can be supposed to speak:

wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father's concubine? and defiled her; though perhaps it was not so much the act of uncleanness that so much offended him, or the dishonour reflected on him and his family thereby, as it discovered an ambitious view in Abner to get the kingdom into his own hands, to which this was the leading step; see 1 Kings 2:22. Whether Abner was really guilty of this sin or no is not easy to determine; though, by his not absolutely denying it, it looks as if it was not merely a jealousy of Ishbosheth, or a false report made unto him; though, especially if he was not fully satisfied of it, it would have been his wisdom to have said nothing of it to him, since his continuance on the throne so much depended on him.

(a) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 1. sect. 4.

And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ishbosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father's concubine?
7. Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah] The heroine of the tragic story related in ch. 2 Samuel 21:8-11.

and Ish-bosheth said] Ish-bosheth has fallen out of the Heb. text. The Sept. has Ish-bosheth the son of Saul; the Vulg. Ish-bosheth.

Wherefore, &c.] An Oriental monarch took possession of his predecessor’s harem. Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 12:8, 2 Samuel 16:21; 1 Kings 2:22. There is no further indication that Abner intended to dethrone Ish-bosheth, but the act was an invasion of royal rights, and consequently implicit treason.

2 Samuel 3:7Decline of the House of Saul. - 2 Samuel 3:6-11. Abner's quarrel with Ishbosheth. - During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner adhered firmly to the house of Saul, but he appropriated one of Saul's concubines to himself. When Ishbosheth charged him with this, he fell into so violent a rage, that he at once announced to Ishbosheth his intention to hand over the kingdom to David. Abner had certainly perceived the utter incapacity of Ishbosheth for a very long time, if not from the very outset, and had probably made him king after the death of Saul, merely that he might save himself from the necessity of submitting to David, and might be able to rule in Ishbosheth's name, and possibly succeed in paving his own way to the throne. His appropriation of the concubine of the deceased monarch was at any rate a proof, according to Israelitish notions, and in fact those generally prevalent in the East, that he was aiming at the throne (vid., 2 Samuel 16:21; 1 Kings 2:21). But it may gradually have become obvious to him, that the house of Saul could not possibly retain the government in opposition to David; and this may have led to his determination to persuade all the Israelites to acknowledge David, and thereby to secure for himself an influential post under his government. This will explain in a very simple manner Abner's falling away from Ishbosheth and going over to David.

2 Samuel 3:6-7

2 Samuel 3:6 and 2 Samuel 3:7 constitute one period, expanded by the introduction of circumstantial clauses, the ויהי (it came to pass) of the protasis being continued in the ויּאמר (he said) of 2 Samuel 3:7. "It came to pass, when there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, and Abner showed himself strong for the house of Saul, and Saul had a concubine named Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, that he (Ishbosheth) said to Abner, Why hast thou gone to my father's concubine?" The subject to "said" is omitted in the apodosis; but it is evident from 2 Samuel 3:8, and the expression "my father," that Ishbosheth is to be supplied. Even in the second circumstantial clause, "and Saul had a concubine," the reason why this is mentioned is only to be gathered from Ishbosheth's words. בּ התחזק: to prove one's self strong for, or with, a person, i.e., to render him powerful help. אל בּוא means "to cohabit with." It was the exclusive right of the successor to the throne to cohabit with the concubines of the deceased king, who came down to him as part of the property which he inherited.

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