During the reign of David, there was a famine1 for three successive years; so David sought2 the face of the LORD. The LORD said, "It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death."
References for 2 Samuel 21:1
The king summoned the Gibeonites3 and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to [spare] them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.)
References for 2 Samuel 21:2
David asked the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? How shall I make amends so that you will bless the LORD's inheritance?"4
References for 2 Samuel 21:3
The Gibeonites answered him, "We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death."5 "What do you want me to do for you?" David asked.
References for 2 Samuel 21:4
They answered the king, "As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel,
let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and exposed6 before the LORD at Gibeah of Saul--the Lord's chosen7 one." So the king said, "I will give them to you."
References for 2 Samuel 21:6
The king spared Mephibosheth8 son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath9 before the LORD between David and Jonathan son of Saul.
References for 2 Samuel 21:7
But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah's daughter Rizpah,10 whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite.11
References for 2 Samuel 21:8
He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed and exposed them on a hill before the LORD. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death12 during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.13
References for 2 Samuel 21:9
Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds of the air touch them by day or the wild animals by night.14
References for 2 Samuel 21:10
When David was told what Aiah's daughter Rizpah, Saul's concubine, had done,
he went and took the bones of Saul15 and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead.16 (They had taken them secretly from the public square at Beth Shan,17 where the Philistines had hung18 them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.)19
References for 2 Samuel 21:12
David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.
They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul's father Kish, at Zela20 in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that,21 God answered prayer22 in behalf of the land.23
References for 2 Samuel 21:14
Once again there was a battle between the Philistines24 and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted.
References for 2 Samuel 21:15
And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new [sword], said he would kill David.
References for 2 Samuel 21:16
But Abishai25 son of Zeruiah came to David's rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David's men swore to him, saying, "Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp26 of Israel will not be extinguished.27"
References for 2 Samuel 21:17
In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbecai28 the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha.
References for 2 Samuel 21:18
In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite,29 who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod.30
References for 2 Samuel 21:19
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.
When he taunted31 Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah,32 David's brother, killed him.
References for 2 Samuel 21:21
These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.