2 Samuel 21:21
Parallel Verses
New International Version
When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David's brother, killed him.

King James Bible
And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him.

Darby Bible Translation
And he defied Israel; but Jonathan the son of Shimea David's brother smote him.

World English Bible
When he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David's brother, killed him.

Young's Literal Translation
and he reproacheth Israel, and smite him doth Jonathan son of Shimeah, brother of David;

2 Samuel 21:21 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

On every hand six fingers - This is not a solitary instance: Tavernier informs us that the eldest son of the emperor of Java, who reigned in 1648, had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot. And Maupertuis, in his seventeenth letter, says that he met with two families near Berlin, where sedigitism was equally transmitted on both sides of father and mother. I saw once a young girl, in the county of Londonderry, in Ireland, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, but her stature had nothing gigantic in it. The daughters of Caius Horatius, of patrician dignity, were called sedigitae, because they had six fingers on each hand. Volcatius, a poet, was called sedigitus for the same reason. See Pliny's Hist. Nat., lib. xi., cap. 43.

There are evidently many places in this chapter in which the text has suffered much from the ignorance or carelessness of transcribers; and indeed I suspect the whole has suffered so materially as to distort, if not misrepresent the principal facts. It seems as if a Gibeonite has had something to do with the copies that are come down to us, or that the first fourteen verses have been inserted from a less authentic document than the rest of the book. I shall notice some of the most unaccountable, and apparently exceptionable particulars: -

1. The famine, 2 Samuel 21:1, is not spoken of anywhere else, nor at all referred to in the books of Kings or Chronicles; and, being of three years' duration, it was too remarkable to be omitted in the history of David.

2. The circumstance of Saul's attempt to exterminate the Gibeonites is nowhere else mentioned; and, had it taken place, it is not likely it would have been passed over in the history of Saul's transgressions. Indeed, it would have been such a breach of the good faith by which the whole nation was bound to this people, that an attempt of the kind could scarcely have failed to raise an insurrection through all Israel.

3. The wish of David that the Gibeonites, little better than a heathenish people, should bless the inheritance of the Lord, is unconstitutional and unlikely.

4. That God should leave the choice of the atonement to such a people, or indeed to any people, seems contrary to his established laws and particular providence.

5. That he should require seven innocent men to be hung up in place of their offending father, in whose iniquity they most likely never had a share, seems inconsistent with justice and mercy.

6. In 2 Samuel 21:8, there is mention made of five sons of Michal, which she bore (ילדה yaledah) unto Adriel. Now,

1. Michal was never the wife of Adriel, but of David and Phaltiel.

2. She never appears to have had any children, see 2 Samuel 6:23; this I have been obliged to correct in the preceding notes by putting Merab in the place of Michal.

7. The seven sons of Saul, mentioned here, are represented as a sacrifice required by God, to make an atonement for the sin of Saul. Does God in any case require human blood for sacrifice? And is it not such a sacrifice that is represented here? Dr. Delaney and others imagine that these seven sons were principal agents in the execution of their father's purpose; but of this there is no proof. Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, certainly had no hand in this projected massacre, he was ever lame, and could not be so employed; and yet he would have been one of the seven had it not been for the covenant made before with his father: But the king spared Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan - because of the Lord's oath that was between them, 2 Samuel 21:7.

8. The circumstance of Rizpah's watching the bodies of those victims, upon a rock, and probably in the open air, both day and night, from March to October, or even for a much less period, is, as it is here related, very extraordinary and improbable.

9. The hanging the bodies so long was against an express law of God, which ordained that those who were hanged on a tree should be taken down before sunset, and buried the same day, lest the land should be defiled, (Deuteronomy 21:22, Deuteronomy 21:23). Therefore,

1. God did not command a breach of his own law.


Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

defied. or, reproached

1 Samuel 17:10,25,26,36 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together...

2 Kings 19:13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah?


1 Chronicles 27:32 Also Jonathan David's uncle was a counselor, a wise man, and a scribe: and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni was with the king's sons:


1 Samuel 16:9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither has the LORD chosen this.

1 Samuel 17:3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side...


1 Chronicles 2:13 And Jesse begat his firstborn Eliab, and Abinadab the second, and Shimma the third,


Divers Matters.
I. Beth-cerem, Nehemiah 3:14. "The stones, as well of the altar, as of the ascent to the altar, were from the valley of Beth-cerem, which they digged out beneath the barren land. And thence they are wont to bring whole stones, upon which the working iron came not." The fathers of the traditions, treating concerning the blood of women's terms, reckon up five colours of it; among which that, "which is like the water of the earth, out of the valley of Beth-cerem."--Where the Gloss writes thus, "Beth-cerem
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Cross References
1 Samuel 17:10
Then the Philistine said, "This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other."

2 Samuel 21:20
In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot--twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha.

2 Samuel 21:22
These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.

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