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."
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.)
David asked the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? How shall I make amends so that you will bless the LORD's inheritance?"44
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.
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."
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.
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,a whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite.119
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.1310
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.1411
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.)1913
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