Good morning! The passages for today (2 Samuel 21-22) and tomorrow record miscellaneous stories and poetry to finish out the books of Samuel. These chapters are less connected to the narrative that we have been following closely to this point, but all are reportedly from the time of David.
Today’s passage starts with reference to the Gibeonites, a subjugated people who were allowed to live among the Hebrews in Joshua 9 rather than being exterminated as other cultures were. Evidently according to the reference here, Saul attempted to exterminate them, though we don’t have a narrative of that in the Bible. In order to free the land from three years of famine, David turns over seven sons of Saul to be impaled by the Gibeonites as payback for Saul’s violation. (Yech!) The reference to this happening at the beginning of the barley harvest is an intentional nod toward fruitfulness even in the face of famine. This stems from a theology of God-sanctioned cause-and-effect which manifests in the natural world. The story ends with a heart-breaking description of Rizpah protecting the bodies of her sons for days and nights without pause. Her valor and intention are such that David gathers together all the dead in Saul’s lineage and (re)buries them together as a proper place of mourning.
Chapter 21 then describes fights with Philistines where giants like Goliath face off against the forces of Israel. David nearly dies in the first episode before being saved by another warrior. Even when he is persuaded against fighting again for the good of Israel’s leadership, Hebrew forces still defeat the Philistine giants (including one who sounds identical to the Goliath that David is supposed to have defeated as a boy).
David’s song of thanksgiving that comprises 2 Samuel 22 could have come after any number of close calls throughout his life. Again we see David’s talent as a writer and poet. This chapter is very similar to Psalm 18, for those who wonder why these metaphors sound so familiar. God manifests here in poetic form as active, powerful, loyal, and ever-present to assist in battle against enemies. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is 2 Samuel 23-24. Thanks for reading!