April 19

Read II Samuel 21 -- 22

The days of harvest had once again come, but there was nothing to eat because there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year (II Samuel 21:1). The famine expressed the judgment of God: If you will not listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments. . . . Your heaven . . . shall be brass, and the earth . . . shall be iron (Deuteronomy 28:15,23).

It is assumed that this three-year famine occurred during the early years of David's reign, even though it is recorded here more than 25 years later. Recognizing the famine as the judgment of God, David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul . . . because he slew the Gibeonites (II Samuel 21:1). Saul violated the covenant that Joshua and the elders of Israel made with the Gibeonites about 400 years before. The treaty was still sacred because the covenant had been sworn to in the Name of God (Joshua 9:3,15-27). Apparently Saul ruthlessly murdered these helpless people with the same zeal that he ruthlessly murdered all the priests that lived at Nob (I Samuel 22:17-18). It is also probable that his sons, along with Saul, benefited from the possessions and property that were confiscated.

The surviving Gibeonites did not ask David for silver or gold to compensate for the murder of their loved ones or for the loss of their property (II Samuel 21:4). From their many years of association with the Israelites, the Gibeonites knew the commandment of God. You shall take no satisfaction (compensation in exchange) for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall surely be put to death (Numbers 35:31). Disobedience to this command would mean the land of Israel would be defiled. So the Gibeonites asked permission to hang seven men of his sons.

Therefore, David was responsible before God to deliver seven men of his sons to the Gibeonites. An exception was made for crippled Mephibosheth, based on David's covenant with Jonathan (II Samuel 21:7; I Samuel 20:14-17; 23:16-18).

Throughout the Old Testament, we learn the high value that God has placed on keeping promises. Let us recognize the danger of disregarding our moral and spiritual responsibilities, as well as the far-reaching consequences of all sin. In God's eyes, not even the king of a nation is above its laws. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the Law of the Lord; and in His Law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish (Psalms 1:1-6).

Christ Revealed: As the One we call upon for salvation (II Samuel 22:4). Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

Word Studies: 21:9 fell means died; 21:17 succored means came to his aid; 22:3 horn of my salvation means saving strength; 22:19 stay means support; 22:31 buckler means defender; 22:46 close places mean fortresses, strongholds.

Prayer:

Government Official: Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (FL) · BPM Staff: Mary Kay Wagner · Pray for all Bible Reading Marathon Coordinators · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in memory of Sally Weidmeier · Country: Dominica (65,000) in the British West Indies · Major languages: English and French patois · Religious freedom · 75% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Ask for understanding of the Word of God so you can share it with others (Psalms 119:27).

Optional Reading: Acts 20

Memory Verse for the Week: I John 1:9