The Death of Saul.docx - The Death of Saul's Seven Sons A...

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The Death of Saul's Seven Sons A brother writes, "Reading II Samuel 21, it seems unjust that seven of Saul’s sons are put to death for their father’s sins against the Gibeonites, which instance is not recorded in Scripture (as far as I can see)." The history of this event is somewhat complicated and, in some instances, as the questioner mentions, not always clear. What is clear is the following. When Joshua and the Israelites fought against the Canaanites, Joshua made peace with the Gibeonites ( Josh. 9:3-27 ). At the time that peace was made, the elders of Israel swore an oath not to kill the Gibeonites (15). Many centuries later (the period from the exodus of Israel to the reign of Saul is generally considered to be about 400 years), Saul came to the throne in Israel. He apparently killed some of the Gibeonites with whom Israel had made peace. The questioner observes that this event is not mentioned in Scripture. It is possible, however, that the reference is the bloody murder of 85 people by Doeg, the Edomite, at the command of Saul ( I Sam. 22:17-19 ). The basis for this conjecture is that, according to I Samuel 22:6 and 23:19 , Saul was staying at this time in Gibeah. However that may be, David was aware of this dastardly deed, for he was not surprised when the Lord explained that the famine in the land of Canaan was due to Saul’s murder of some Gibeonites, in violation of the oath Israel swore to spare their lives. At the request of the Gibeonites themselves, seven sons of Saul were executed ( II Sam. 21:1-11 ). It seems as if it was in connection with the killing of Saul’s sons and the protection of the two bodies by their mother, Rizpah, that David took the bones of Saul and Jonathan from the people of Jabesh-gilead and buried them in the family burial ground in Zelah (12-14). Several questions arise in connection with these strange events. One question is: Why did the Lord wait a rather long time between Saul’s murderous deed and His punishment of it on the nation of Israel? A second question is: What did the burial of the bones of Saul and Jonathan have to do with the appeasement of God’s anger? For it was only after this burial of the bones of Saul and
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