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2 Samuel 4

Listen to 2 Samuel 4

Ish-bosheth Murdered

1 When Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, heard that Abner had died at Hebron, 1his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed.
2 Now Saul's son had two men who were captains of raiding bands; the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon a man of Benjamin from Beeroth (2for Beeroth also is counted part of Benjamin;
3 3the Beerothites fled 4to Gittaim and have been sojourners there to this day).
4 5Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan 6came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
5 Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ish-bosheth as he was taking his noonday rest.
6 And they came into the midst of the house as if to get wheat, and they stabbed him 7in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.[a]
7 When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedroom, they struck him and put him to death and beheaded him. They took his head and went by the way of 8the Arabah all night,
8 and brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, "Here is the head of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, 9who sought your life. The LORD has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring."
9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, 10"As the LORD lives, 11who has redeemed my life out of every adversity,
10 12when one told me, 'Behold, Saul is dead,' and thought he was bringing good news, 13I seized him and killed him at Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news.
11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now 14require his blood at your hand and destroy you from the earth?"
12 And David commanded his young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hanged them beside the pool at Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it 15in the tomb of Abner at Hebron.

2 Samuel 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Ishbosheth murdered. (1-7) David puts to death the murderers. (8-12)

Verses 1-7 See how Ishbosheth was murdered! When those difficulties dispirit us, which should sharpen our endeavours, we betray both our heavenly crowns and our earthly lives. Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty and ruin. The idle soul is an easy prey to the destroyer. We know not when and where death will meet us. When we lie down to sleep, we are not sure that we may not sleep the sleep of death before we awake; nor do we know from what hand the death-blow may come.

Verses 8-12 A person may be glad to obtain his just wishes, and yet really regret the means by which he receives them. He may be sorry for the death of a person by which he is a gainer. These men shed innocent blood, from the basest motives. David justly executed vengeance upon them. He would not be beholden to any to help him by unlawful practices. God had helped him over many a difficulty, and through many a danger, therefore he depended upon him to crown and complete his own work. He speaks of his redemption from all adversity, as a thing done; though he had many storms yet before him, he knew that He who had delivered, would deliver.

Cross References 15

  • 1. Ezra 4:4; Isaiah 13:7; Jeremiah 6:24
  • 2. Joshua 18:25
  • 3. [1 Samuel 31:7]
  • 4. Nehemiah 11:33
  • 5. 2 Samuel 9:3, 6
  • 6. 1 Samuel 29:1, 11
  • 7. See 2 Samuel 2:23
  • 8. 2 Samuel 2:29; See Deuteronomy 1:1
  • 9. 1 Samuel 19:10, 11; 1 Samuel 23:15
  • 10. See Ruth 3:13
  • 11. 1 Kings 1:29
  • 12. See 2 Samuel 1:4-10
  • 13. 2 Samuel 1:15
  • 14. [Genesis 9:5, 6]
  • 15. 2 Samuel 3:32

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Septuagint And behold, the doorkeeper of the house had been cleaning wheat, but she grew drowsy and slept. So Rechab and Baanah his brother slipped in

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates the concern the death of Abner gave to Ishbosheth, and the men of Israel, 2Sa 4:1; the murder of Ishbosheth by two of his captains, who cut off his head, and brought it to David, 2Sa 4:2-8; by whom they were rewarded according to their deserts, he putting them to death, and exposing their bodies to shame and ignominy, 2Sa 4:9-12.

2 Samuel 4 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.