Shock and Awe
2 Samuel 21:1-14
1. The Shock of Saul’s Zeal and the Awe of God’s Wrath
1 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the LORD. And the LORD said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.”
2 So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the people of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites. Although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had sought to strike them down in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah. 2 Samuel 21:1-2 (ESV); Job 10:2; Deuteronomy 28:47-48
Saul attacked the Gibeonites under the incorrect presumption that he was following God.
All the historical events in this world are directly connected to the sovereign oversight of God’s providential work.
An injustice is not rectified until God’s standard is met. The statement that “time heals all wounds” is incorrect according to this passage. Psalm 78:34-35; Jeremiah 5:25; Leviticus 26:19-20
2. The Shock of David’sAgreement and the Awe of God’s Mercy
3 And David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? And how shall I make atonement, that you may bless the heritage of the LORD?” 4 The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.” And he said, “What do you say that I shall do for you?” 5 They said to the king, “The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel, 6 let seven of his sons be given to us, so that we may hang them before the LORD at Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD.” And the king said, “I will give them.” . . . and he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the mountain before the LORD, and the seven of them perished together. They were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest. 2 Samuel 21:3-9 (ESV)
Like Joshua, centuries before in relation to the Gibeonites, David failed to inquire of the Lord what he should do. Deuteronomy 24:16; Numbers 35:33; Deuteronomy 18:10; Deuteronomy 21:23.
3. The Shock of Unburied bodies and the Awe of a Mother’s Love
10 Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell upon them from the heavens. And she did not allow the birds of the air to come upon them by day, or the beasts of the field by night. 11 When David was told what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, 12 David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, on the day the Philistines killed Saul on Gilboa. 13 And he brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan; and they gathered the bones of those who were hanged. 14 And they buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of Kish his father. And they did all that the king commanded. And after that God responded to the plea for the land. 2 Samuel 21:10-14 (ESV)
The main point of this text is to contrast the mess, the mishandling, and the atrocities caused by sin with the compassion and love that is displayed through Rizpah.