2 Samuel 4:8
And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.
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(8) The Lord hath avenged.—It is not to be supposed that the murderers pretended a Divine commission for their wicked deed; they only meant to say that, in the providence of God, David was thus avenged on the seed of his cruel persecutor. Yet they state the fact in the way they thought best calculated to awaken the gratitude of David towards themselves.

4:8-12 A person may be glad to obtain his just wishes, and yet really regret the means by which he receives them. He may be sorry for the death of a person by which he is a gainer. These men shed innocent blood, from the basest motives. David justly executed vengeance upon them. He would not be beholden to any to help him by unlawful practices. God had helped him over many a difficulty, and through many a danger, therefore he depended upon him to crown and complete his own work. He speaks of his redemption from all adversity, as a thing done; though he had many storms yet before him, he knew that He who had delivered, would deliver.As though they would have fetched wheat - This is a very obscure passage, and the double repetition in 2 Samuel 4:6-7 of the murder of the king and of the escape of the assassin, is hard to account for. Rechab and Baanah came into the house under the pretence of getting grain, probably for the band which they commanded out of the king's storehouse, and so contrived to get access into the king's chamber; or, they found the wheat-carriers (the persons whose business it was to carry in grain for the king's household) just going into the king's house, and by joining them got into the midst of the house unnoticed. If the latter be the sense, the literal translation of the words would be: "And behold (or, and there) there came into the midst of the house the carriers of wheat, and they (i. e. Rechab and Baanah) smote him, etc." 8. They brought the head of Ish-bosheth unto David … and said, Behold the head of Ish-bosheth—Such bloody trophies of rebels and conspirators have always been acceptable to princes in the East, and the carriers have been liberally rewarded. Ish-bosheth being a usurper, the two assassins thought they were doing a meritorious service to David by removing the only existing obstacle to the union of the two kingdoms. Which sought thy life, i.e. to destroy it, or take it away; as this phrase is used, 1 Samuel 20:1 23:15, and elsewhere. They thought their action not only blameless, but meritorious; because they had but executed justice upon Saul’s house, and David’s enemies, and made way for David’s obtaining of his rights. It may seem strange they were not discouraged by David’s punishing of the Amalekite for killing Saul, 2Sa 1, and by his sharp reproof of Joab for murdering Abner; but they thought the first case much differing from theirs, because Saul was anointed king by God; whereas Ish-bosheth was not, but was a mere usurper: and for the latter, they thought that David’s sharp words proceeded rather from art and policy, than from any real dislike of thee thing; which they judged, because David contented himself with words, and Joab did not only go unpunished, but continued in his former place and power.

And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron,.... Supposing it would have been a very acceptable present to him:

and said to the king, behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; all which, his relation to Saul, his enmity to David, and his designs upon his life, are artfully put together to raise the indignation of David against him, and make their present of his head to him the more agreeable:

and the Lord hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul and of his seed; for all the evils and injuries they had done him; this being the last of the sons of Saul by a lawful wife, the two remaining were by a concubine; and these men impiously ascribe to the Lord what they with wicked hands had done.

And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.
8–12. The Punishment of the Murderers by David

8. to the king] Observe that Ish-bosheth is never honoured with the title of king.

thine enemy, which sought thy life] These words are to be referred to Saul not to Ish-bosheth. Cp. 1 Samuel 24:4; 1 Samuel 25:29.

the Lord hath avenged] The murderers profanely represented themselves as the instruments of Providence. “They pretended piety and loyalty, but they regarded nothing except their own interest.” Wordsworth.

Verse 8. - Which sought thy life. Saul had sought David's life, but Ishbosheth was innocent of any such attempts. Still, had he been victorious, David, as his rival, would certainly have been put to death. Jehovah hath avenged my lord the king. The ordinary language of the East is so religious that these words imply nothing more than that these wicked men saw in their base act a step towards the carrying out of a Divine purpose. But in thus referring to the common belief that David's kingdom was assured to him by Jehovah, they evidently intended to commend their deed to the really devout mind of the king. 2 Samuel 4:8Punishment of the murderers by David. - 2 Samuel 4:7. As the thread of the narrative was broken by the explanatory remarks in 2 Samuel 4:6, it is resumed here by the repetition of the words וגו ויּבאוּ: "They came into the house, as he lay upon his bed in his bed-chamber, and smote him, and slew him," for the purpose of attaching the account of the further progress of the affair, viz., that they cut off his head, took it and went by the way of the Arabah (the valley of the Jordan: see 2 Samuel 2:29) the whole night, and brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron with these words: "Behold ( equals there thou hast) the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul thine enemy, who sought thy life; and thus hath Jehovah avenged my lord the king this day upon Saul and his seed." No motive is assigned for this action. But there can be little doubt that it was no other than the hope of obtaining a great reward from David. Thus they presumed "to spread the name of God and His providence as a cloak and covering over their villany, as the wicked are accustomed to do" (Berleb. Bible).
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