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2 Samuel 21

1 There was a famine for three successive years during David’s reign. David asked Jehovah for advice about it. Jehovah answered: »It is because of Saul and his family. They are guilty of murder because they killed the people of Gibeon.«

2 The Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were left over from the Amorites. The Israelites swore to spare them. Saul, in his eagerness, tried to destroy them for Israel and Judah. The king called the Gibeonites.

3 He asked them: »What can I do for you? What shall I give you to make peace with you so that you will bless what belongs to Jehovah?«

4 The Gibeonites responded: »Our quarrel with Saul and his family cannot be settled with silver or gold. We do not want to kill any Israelite.« What do you want me to do?« David asked.

5 They answered: »Saul wanted to destroy us and leave none of us alive anywhere in Israel.

6 »Hand over seven of his male descendants. We will hang them before Jehovah at Gibeah, the hometown of Saul, Jehovah’s chosen king.« The king responded: »I will hand them over to you.«

7 David made a promise to Jonathan with Jehovah as his witness. He spared Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul.

8 Saul and Rizpah the daughter of Aiah had two sons named Armoni and Mephibosheth. Saul’s daughter Merab had five sons whose father was Adriel the son of Barzillai from Meholah. David took Rizpah’s two sons and Merab’s five sons.

9 He turned them over to the Gibeonites. They hanged all seven of them on the mountain near the place where Jehovah was worshiped. This happened right at the beginning of the barley harvest.

10 Rizpah daughter of Aiah spread some sackcloth on a nearby rock. She would not let the birds land on the bodies during the day. She kept the wild animals away at night. She stayed there from the beginning of the harvest until it started to rain.

11 The Philistines killed Saul and Jonathan on Mount Gilboa and hung their bodies in the town square at Beth-Shan. The people of Jabesh in Gilead secretly took the bodies away. David found out what Saul’s wife Rizpah did. So he went to the leaders of Jabesh to get the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan.

12 David took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. They had stolen them from the public square of Beth Shean, where the Philistines hung them the day they killed Saul at Gilboa.

13 David brought the bones of Saul and Jonathan. His men also gathered the bones of those who had been executed.

14 Then they buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin, at Zela, in the tomb of Saul’s father Kish. They did everything the king ordered. After that God answered the prayers for the land.

15 Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David and his men went to fight the Philistines. David became exhausted.

16 A descendant of Haraphah named Benob had a copper spear weighing seven and one half pounds. He wore it on a new belt. He captured David and intended to kill him.

17 Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue. Abishai attacked the giant and killed him. Then David’s men made David promise that he would never again go out with them to battle. »You are the hope of Israel. We do not want to lose you!« They said.

18 After this there was a battle with the Philistines at Gob. Sibbecai from Hushah killed a giant named Saph a descendant of Rapha.

19 There was another battle with the Philistines at Gob. Elhanan son of Jair from Bethlehem killed Goliath from Gath. Goliath’s spear had a shaft as thick as the bar on a weaver’s loom.

20 There was another war, this time in Gath. One of the enemy soldiers was a descendant of the Rephaim. He was as big as a giant and had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.

21 When he challenged Israel, Jonathan, son of David’s brother Shimei, killed him.

22 These four were descendants of Haraphah from Gath. David and his men killed them.

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