It takes three years of drought before David prays about the cause of the drought. The LORD connects the dots between the lack of rain and Saul's breaking covenant with the Gibeonites, "It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites" (2 Sam. 21:1).
Afraid of the Israelites as they began conquering the land of Canaan the Gibeonites deceived Joshua and Israel by pretending to come from a land far away. Joshua extended unmerited compassion and found himself doing exactly what Moses had forbidden, "When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess . . . you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them" (Deut. 7:1-2). They failed to seek the LORD's counsel and made a treaty with the Gibeonites, who came under Israel's protection and became their servants.
Hundreds of years later Saul, violates that treaty by killing many of the Gibeonites to drive them out of the land. Sadly, Saul misspends his time and resources killing the Gibeonites and chasing David instead of defeating the Philistines. And it costs Israel severely.
Twenty or more years may have passed since Saul killed the Gibeonites, but God never forgets. He takes seriously both covenant making and covenant breaking; therefore, He connects the dots for David. David approaches the Gibeonites and asks, "What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD? (2 Sam. 21:3). The Gibeonites are not interested in remuneration, but in retribution, "As for the man who consumed us and plotted against us, that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the territories of Israel, let seven men of his descendants be delivered to us, and we will hang them before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul" (21:5).
David delivers seven of Saul's descendants, including Saul's concubine's two sons, into the hands of the Gibeonites, who hang them. After David returns the bones of Saul and Jonathan to the country of the Benjamites and buries them there, it begins to rain.
This scene reveals a number of truths about God and vows made by those who belong to Him:
How does God use a woman to prevent further loss of life in Abel of Beth Maachah?
What does Psalm 7 reveal about David's treatment of Sheba?
What actions does David take to demonstrate his commitment to the tribe of Benjamin after the death of Saul's descendants?
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The 365 Daily Devotion, written by Iva May, is a brief devotion drawn from the day’s reading of the One Year® Chronological Bible delivered to your email. Each daily devotion concludes with several questions that strengthen reading engagement.