2 Samuel 21 Commentary

Second Samuel 21 Commentary


You would wish this chapter didn’t exist in the scripture. It is a very difficult chapter.

A couple of pointers are important. The first one is that the LORD revealed to Israel what the problem was but never sanctioned the course of action. The revelation was that the three-year drought was a consequence of Israel’s failure to keep an oath. Remember that in the Book of Joshua, Israel made an oath before the LORD not to harm the Gibeonites.

King Saul broke the oath and now Israel under King David was suffering.

Secondly, note that David’s witchcraft-like solution didn’t help matters. It is only when David moved in to correct the injustice done that the LORD answered prayer.

David definitely doesn’t know what he is doing. Look at what he says, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the Lord’s inheritance?” David seems to have an understanding that the Gibeonites held power to bless or curse Israel. Is he sure making seven women widows and several children fatherless is an acceptable course of action before the LORD?
The second and last section of chapter 21 gives us a list of victories over David’s main enemies. Looking at the fact that chapter 22 is a praise song of victory over Saul and the other enemies, could this be a pointer that David was just too happy to kill off Saul’s relatives? Was he still looking at Saul’s family as an enemy to disarm by killings?

It is difficult to draw lines in this chapter. What we can easily tell is that many, in fact, most decisions here and there are not informed by scripture – the written word that was very much available at the time.

More resources visit www.lovingscripture.com

Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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