Famine: The Gibeonites Avenged (2 Samuel 21:1 – 14)

Scripture Text:

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2 Samuel 21:1 – 14

Questions:

1. When your prayers go unanswered, what do you assume? What do you do?

2. The last time you pulled an “all-nighter”, what kept you up? Illness? A baby? Grief? Homework?

3. What caused the famine (verses 1, 2; see also Joshua 9:20)? Why did Israel make a treaty with the Gibeonites (the Hivites) in the first place (see Joshua 9)?

4. Saul decimates the Gibeonites in his zeal, but David spares them due to an oath before the Lord. What does this say about the basic differences between these two men? About the seriousness of oaths? About God’s judgment?

5. Rizpah pulls several “all-nighters”. What does she hope to achieve in the short-term? In the long-term?

6. Why would it please God to see Saul’s descendents executed (verse 14)?

7. Is it appropriate to see God’s judgment in famines and other natural disasters today? Why or why not?

8. How would this story apply today to situations where treaty rights are violated (such as the treaty rights of Native Americans)?

9. About what do you need to seek the face of the Lord, as did David?

Additional Comments:

Is there any excuse for David’s agreeing to the execution of Saul’s descendents? Perhaps. One must remember that David had certain legal responsibilities as king of Israel. Having offered compensation to the Gibeonites for their mistreatment under Saul, he may have been under legal obligation to cooperate with their demand for blood. In Old Testament times, a family was considered responsible for the crimes of any individual in his family. By modern standards, however, these executions do seem needless and cruel.

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