2 Samuel 21:1

“Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.”

King James Version (KJV)

Other Translations

Then there was a famine in the dayes of Dauid three yeeres, yeere after yeere, and Dauid enquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloodie house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
- King James Version (1611) - View 1611 Bible Scan

Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, "It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death."
- New American Standard Version (1995)

And there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of Jehovah. And Jehovah said, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites.
- American Standard Version (1901)

In the days of David they were short of food for three years, year after year; and David went before the Lord for directions. And the Lord said, On Saul and on his family there is blood, because he put the Gibeonites to death.
- Basic English Bible

And there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of Jehovah. And Jehovah said, It is for Saul, and for [his] house of blood, because he slew the Gibeonites.
- Darby Bible

Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
- Webster's Bible

There was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of Yahweh. Yahweh said, "It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites."
- World English Bible

And there is a famine in the days of David three years, year after year, and David seeketh the face of Jehovah, and Jehovah saith, `For Saul and for the bloody house, because that he put to death the Gibeonites.'
- Youngs Literal Bible

And there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of the LORD. And the LORD said: 'It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites.'
- Jewish Publication Society Bible

Bible commentary

Wesley's Notes for 2 Samuel 21:1


21:1 Then - The things related here and chap.#24:1 |- 25, are by the best interpreters conceived to have been done long before Absalom's rebellion. And this opinion is not without sufficient grounds: first, this particle, then, is here explained, in the days, that is, during the reign of David: which general words seem to be added as an intimation that these things were not done after the next foregoing passages, for then the sacred writer would rather have added, after these things, as it is in many other places. Secondly, here are divers passages which it seems improbable to ascribe to the last years of David's reign: such as first, that Saul's sin against the Gibeonites should so long remain unpunished. And indeed that this was done, and Saul's seven sons hanged by David's order before that time, seems to be intimated by that passage, #2Sam 16:8|, where he is charged with the blood of the house of Saul: for which there was not the least colour 'till this time. Secondly, that David should not remove the bones of Saul and Jonathan to their proper place, 'till that time. Thirdly, that the Philistines should wage war with David again and again, ver.#15|, &c. so long after he had fully subdued them, chap.#8:1|, and that David in his old age should attempt to fight with a Philistine giant, or that his people should suffer him to do so. Fourthly, that David should then have so vehement a desire to number his people, chap.#24:1|, which being an act of youthful vanity, seems not at all to agree with his old age, nor with that state of deep humiliation in which he then was. And the reason why these matters are put here out of their proper order, is plainly this, because David's sin being once related, it was very convenient that David's punishments should immediately succeed: this being very frequent in scripture - story, to put those things together which belong to one matter, though they happened at several times. He flew - Which was not only an act of cruelty, but also of perfidiousness, because it was a public violation of that solemn oath given to them by Joshua and the princes, in the name of all the Israelites, of that and succeeding generations. But why did not God punish Saul whilst he was alive for this, but his children, and the Israelites of this age? First, God did severely punish Saul for this and his other sins. Secondly, as God may justly inflict temporal punishments upon any offender, either in his person, or in his posterity, when he pleaseth; so it is meet he should take his own time for it; and it is folly in us to quarrel with God for so doing. Thirdly, the Israelites might sundry ways make themselves guilty of Saul's sin, tho' it be not particularly mentioned, advising or encouraging him to it; or, assisting him in the execution of it. And whereas many of the people were probably innocent of that crime, yet they also were guilty of many other sins, for which God might punish them, though he took this occasion for it.


Discussion for 2 Samuel 21:1

  • B.J.Manuel for verse 1
    Proverbs 20:7 declares "The just man walketh in his integrity. his children are blessed after him." Unexpected suffering, such as famine, pestilence and persecution, does not negate the promises of God nor does it reduce His ability to keep those people whom He has promised to keep. It is possible that God's promised blessings can intertwine with local or global suffering. When all things work together for the good of God's good children, it does not say that it will look good, always feel good, or be pleasing to our senses at all. God wills it for good; it is up to us to trust in those dark hours when it might appear that all is being lost. He will not leave his children comfortless or disconsolate. It is up to the children to keep steadfast faith when things seem to be against them instead of for them. God cannot lie. It is for us to walk by faith not by sight. We know that we win during and after the crippling, searing tests have all be completed. "In the shadow of his wings there is rest, sweet rest."
  • 2 Samuel 21:1-9 Principle illustrated: David taking responsibility for Saul’s actions which shows David being a man after God’s own heart. There was a famine in the land of Israel because Saul had killed the Gibeonites. David faced the Gibeonites for Saul to see if there was anything that he could do for them. They demanded that he deliver seven men of Saul’s sons to them because they had insisted that they should be destroyed. The Lord chose the men who He wanted David to send. David did not send Mephibosheth because of his oath with Jonathan not to destroy each other’s seed. The Gibeonites would hang those men for what they had done. The consequences from wrong doing can be devastating.. God has brought to my attention that everything I do has an influence on people. I sometimes forget that people look up to me. What I think is “why me?” I am nobody special. I am just a sinner trying to live for God. People notice when you “do” and “do not” do the right thing and live for God. Through my years, I have learned that doing the right thing is what God wants us to do and if we do it we will be set up for the blessings. God blesses and removes the chance of famine when I learn to do what is right.

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