And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ishbosheth said to Abner, Why have you gone in to my father's concubine?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.Genesis 36:24.
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.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.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?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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.
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