Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 2 Samuel
Book: 2 Samuel
Chapter: 21

The Gibeonites avenged. (1-9) Rizpah's care for the bodies of
Saul's descendants. (10-14) Battles with the Philistines.

1-9 Every affliction arises from Sin, and should lead us to
repent and humble ourselves before God; but some troubles
especially show that they are sent to bring Sin to remembrance.
God's judgments often look a great way back, which requires us
to do So, when we are under his rebukes. It is not for us to
object against the people's smarting for the Sin of their King;
perhaps they helped him. Nor against this Generation suffering
for the Sin of the last. God often visits the sins of the
fathers upon the children, and he gives No account of any
matters. Time does not wear out the guilt of Sin; nor can we
build hopes of escape upon the delay of judgments. If we cannot
understand all the reasons of Providence in this matter, still
we have No right to demand that God should acquaint us with
those reasons. It must be right, because it is the will of God,
and in the End it will be proved to be So. Money is No
satisfaction for Blood. It should seem, Saul's posterity trod in
his steps, for it is called a bloody House. It was the Spirit of
the family, therefore they are justly reckoned with for his Sin,
as Well as for their own. The Gibeonites did not require this
out of malice against Saul or his family. It was not to gratify
any revenge, but for the public good. They were Put to Death at
the beginning of Harvest; they were thus sacrificed to turn away
the wrath of Almighty God, who had withheld the Harvest-mercies
for some years past, and to obtain his favour in the present
Harvest. In vain do we expect Mercy from God, unless we do
Justice upon our sins. Executions must not be thought cruel,
which are for the public welfare.

10-14 That a guilty land should enjoy many years of plenty,
calls for gratitude; and we need not wonder misused abundance
should be punished with scarcity; yet how few are disposed to
ask of the Lord concerning the sinful cause, while Numbers
search for the second causes By which he is pleased to work! But
the Lord will plead the cause of those who cannot or will not
avenge themselves; and the prayers of the Poor are of great
power. When God sent Rain to water the Earth, these bodies were
buried, for then it appeared that God was entreated for the
land. When Justice is done On Earth, vengeance from Heaven
ceases. God is pacified, and is entreated for us through Christ,
who was hanged On a tree, and So made a Curse for us, to do away
our guilt, though he was himself guiltless.

15-22 These events seem to have taken place towards the End of
David's reign. David fainted, but he did not flee, and God sent
help in the time of need. In spiritual conflicts, even strong
saints sometimes Wax faint; then Satan attacks them furiously;
but those who stand their ground and resist him, shall be
relieved and made more than conquerors. Death is a Christian's
last enemy, and a son of Anak; but through Him that triumphed
for us, believers shall be more than conquerors at last, even
over that enemy.