וַיְהִי רָעָב בִּימֵי דָוִד שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים שָׁנָה אַחֲרֵי שָׁנָה וַיְבַקֵּשׁ דָּוִד אֶת־פְּנֵי יְהוָה וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־שָׁאוּל 21:1
וְאֶל־בֵּית הַדָּמִים עַל־אֲשֶׁר־הֵמִית אֶת־הַגִּבְעֹנִים׃
2Sam. 21:1 And there was a famine in the days of David, year after year, of three years, so David sought the presence of the Lord. And the Lord said, “For Saul and for the bloody house, for the reason that he put the Gibeonites to death.”
The Lord is speaking here of the covenant Joshua made with the Gibeonites and to which the chiefs of the tribes swore (see Josh. 9:15).
וַיִּקְרָא הַמֶּלֶךְ לַגִּבְעֹנִים וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם וְהַגִּבְעֹנִים לֹא מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵמָּה כִּי אִם־מִיֶּתֶר הָאֱמֹרִי וּבְנֵי 21:2 יִשְׂרָאֵל נִשְׁבְּעוּ לָהֶם וַיְבַקֵּשׁ שָׁאוּל לְהַכֹּתָם בְּקַנֹּאתוֹ לִבְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל וִיהוּדָה׃
2Sam. 21:2 Then the king called to the Gibeonites and he spoke to them (now the Gibeonites, they were not from the children of Israel, but instead from the remnant of the Amorite, and the children of Israel had sworn to them, but Saul had sought to smite them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah),
וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל־הַגִּבְעֹנִים מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לָכֶם וּבַמָּה אֲכַפֵּר וּבָרְכוּ אֶת־נַחֲלַת יְהוָה׃ 21:3
2Sam. 21:3 and David said to the Gibeonites, “What can I do for you, and with what can I make atonement, that He may bless the inheritance of the Lord?”
וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ הַגִּבְעֹנִים אֵין־ (לי) [לָנוּ] כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב עִם־שָׁאוּל וְעִם־בֵּיתוֹ וְאֵין־לָנוּ אִישׁ לְהָמִית 21:4
בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֹּאמֶר מָה־אַתֶּם אֹמְרִים אֶעֱשֶׂה לָכֶם׃
2Sam. 21:4 And the Gibeonites said to him, “Silver or gold because of Saul or his house is not for me, and there is no man to be put to death in Israel for us.” And he said, “What are you saying I should do for you?”
This verse contains perhaps the first of seven errors in this chapter. The word in parentheses is possibly missing a nun, making its translation singular, for me, rather than for us. My thought is that either spelling would work fine here, and there may be no error, notably because of the first singular for me in the quotation. In any case, I include the alleged correction in the brackets.
וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר כִּלָּנוּ וַאֲשֶׁר דִּמָּה־לָנוּ נִשְׁמַדְנוּ מֵהִתְיַצֵּב בְּכָל־גְּבֻל יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ 21:5
2Sam. 21:5 And they said to the king, “The one who consumed us and who devised against us to pluck us down from being able to stand in all the territory of Israel,
י(יְנָתָן־)[יֻתַּן־]לָנוּ שִׁבְעָה אֲנָשִׁים מִבָּנָיו וְהוֹקַעֲנוּם לַיהוָה בְּגִבְעַת שָׁאוּל בְּחִיר יְהוָה וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ 21:6 אֲנִי אֶתֵּן׃
2Sam. 21:6 let seven men of his descendants be delivered to us and we will hang them for the Lord on the hill of Saul, the chosen of the Lord. And the king said, “I will deliver.”
Bible commentators presume that the phrase, the chosen of the Lord, was intended to be ironic, to emphasize that Saul had violated a sacred covenant.
There is also an error in the first word of this verse. Oddly enough, the word has an extra nun, as opposed to the supposed error in v. 21:4, which might have a nun missing. The correction is in the brackets.
וַיַּחְמֹל הַמֶּלֶךְ עַל־מְפִי־בֹשֶׁת בֶּן־יְהוֹנָתָן בֶּן־שָׁאוּל עַל־שְׁבֻעַת יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר בֵּינֹתָם בֵּין דָּוִד וּבֵין 21:7
2Sam. 21:7 But he had compassion on Mephibosheth son of Jonathan son of Saul because of the oath of the Lord that was between them, between David and Jonathan son of Saul.
וַיִּקַּח הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת־שְׁנֵי בְּנֵי רִצְפָּה בַת־אַיָּה אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה לְשָׁאוּל אֶת־אַרְמֹנִי וְאֶת־מְפִבֹשֶׁת 21:8
וְאֶת־חֲמֵשֶׁת בְּנֵי מִיכַל בַּת־שָׁאוּל אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה לְעַדְרִיאֵל בֶּן־בַּרְזִלַּי הַמְּחֹלָתִי׃
2Sam. 21:8 Yet the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, and the five sons of Michal daughter of Saul whom she bore for Adriel son of Barzillai, the Meholathite,
Among other things, the genealogy here is confusing, to say the least, and surprising and mysterious. More >>
וַיִּתְּנֵם בְּיַד הַגִּבְעֹנִים וַיֹּקִיעֻם בָּהָר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה וַיִּפְּלוּ (שבעתים) [שְׁבַעְתָּם] יָחַד (והם) [וְהֵמָּהּ] 21:9 הֻמְתו בִּימֵיקָצִיר בָּרִאשֹׁנִים (תחלת) [בִּתְחִלַּת] קְצִיר שְׂעֹרִים׃
2Sam. 21:9 and delivered them into the hand of the Gibeonites, and they hung them on the hill before the Lord, and the seven of them dropped together. So they were put to death in the days of the early harvest, at the opening of the harvest of the barley.
This verse contains no less than three errors. The first error appears after the center of the top line. The extra yad makes the word’s translation be seventy instead of the correct seven of them. The second error is at the end of the top line. It seems to be missing a heh. The third error is near the end of the verse. The word is missing a beth prefix. The respective corrections appear in the three sets of brackets.
וַתִּקַּח רִצְפָּה בַת־אַיָּה אֶת־הַשַּׂק וַתַּטֵּהוּ לָהּ אֶל־הַצּוּר מִתְּחִלַּת קָצִיר עַד נִתַּךְ־מַיִם עֲלֵיהֶם מִן־ 21:10 הַשָּׁמָיִם וְלֹא־נָתְנָה עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם לָנוּחַ עֲלֵיהֶם יוֹמָם וְאֶת־חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה לָיְלָה׃
2Sam. 21:10 And Rizpah daughter of Aiah took the sackcloth and extended it for herself to the rock from the opening of the harvest until the pouring out of water on them from the skies. And she did not allow the birds of the air to settle on them every day or the beasts of the field at night.
Four questions and some remarks about the wording of this verse: One, did Rizpah extend the sackcloth over herself and the bodies of the seven, only over herself, or only over the bodies? Two, did she have any help in what seems to be a six-month vigil? She apparently stayed there from the early harvest until the sowing season. How could she guard the bodies for that long both day and night? In the absence of additional information, we must assume either (1) this is a miracle, in that she did not sleep (or eat?) during that time, or (2) the sackcloth was a cover for the bodies, and she did not have to remain in that spot continually. In any case, we have to assume that the bodies lay there for the entire six months (seemingly corroborated in v. 21:12 below). Finally, I have to question when it became a law or custom to bury the dead within 24 hours? It seems not to have been before this.
וַיֻּגַּד לְדָוִד אֵת אֲשֶׁר־עָשְׂתָה רִצְפָּה בַת־אַיָּה פִּלֶגֶשׁ שָׁאוּל׃ 21:11
2Sam. 21:11 Then it was told to David what Rizpah daughter of Aiah the concubine of Saul was doing.
וַיֵּלֶךְ דָּוִד וַיִּקַּח אֶת־עַצְמוֹת שָׁאוּל וְאֶת־עַצְמוֹת יְהוֹנָתָן בְּנוֹ מֵאֵת בַּעֲלֵי יָבֵישׁ גִּלְעָד אֲשֶׁר גָּנְבוּ 21:12
אֹתָם מֵרְחֹב בֵּית־שַׁן אֲשֶׁר תְּלוּם שָׁמ הַפְּלִשְׁתִּים בְּיוֹם הַכּוֹת פְּלִשְׁתִּים אֶת־שָׁאוּל בַּגִּלְבֹּע׃
2Sam. 21:12 And David went and got the bones of Saul and the bones of his son, Jonathan, from the men of Jabesh-gilead who had stolen them from the square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had suspended them there on the day of the Philistines slaying Saul in Gilboa,
וַיַּעַל מִשָּׁם אֶת־עַצְמוֹת שָׁאוּל וְאֶת־עַצְמוֹת יְהוֹנָתָן בְּנוֹ וַיַּאַסְפוּ אֶת־עַצְמוֹת הַמּוּקָעִים׃ 21:13
2Sam. 21:13 and he brought the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan, his son, up from there. Then they gathered the bones of who had been hanged.
וַיִּקְבְּרוּ אֶת־עַצְמוֹת־שָׁאוּל וִיהוֹנָתָן־בְּנוֹ בְּאֶרֶץ בִּנְיָמִן בְּצֵלָע בְּקֶבֶר קִישׁ אָבִיו וַיַּעֲשׂוּ כֹּל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה 21:14 הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיֵּעָתֵר אֱלֹהִים לָאָרֶץ אַחֲרֵי־כֵן׃
2Sam. 21:14 And they buried the bones of Saul and of Jonathan, his son, in the land of Benjamin in Zela in the sepulcher of Kish, his father, and did all that the king had commanded. Then God was entreated for the land after this.
וַתְּהִי־עוֹד מִלְחָמָה לַפְּלִשְׁתִּים אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּרֶד דָּוִד וַעֲבָדָיו עִמּוֹ וַיִּלָּחֲמוּ אֶת־פְּלִשְׁתִּים וַיָּעַף דָּוִד׃ 21:15
2Sam. 21:15 And there was more war for the Philistines with Israel. When David went down with his servants with him, and they fought the Philistines, then David grew faint.
י(וְיִשְׁבּוֹ) [וְיִשְׁבִּי] בְּנֹב אֲשֶׁר בִּילִידֵי הָרָפָה וּמִשְׁקַל קֵינוֹ שְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת מִשְׁקַל נְחֹשֶׁת וְהוּא חָגוּר 21:16 חֲדָשָׁה וַיֹּאמֶר לְהַכּוֹת אֶת־דָּוִד׃
2Sam. 21:16 And Ishbi-benob, who was among the sons of the giant, with a weight of his spear of three hundred shekels brass, and he was newly girded, and he thought to smite David.
The first part of the name Ishbi-benov is misspelled, containing a vav instead of a yad. The correction is in the brackets.
וַיַּעֲזָר־לוֹ אֲבִישַׁי בֶּן־צְרוּיָה וַיַּךְ אֶת־הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי וַיְמִיתֵהוּ אָז נִשְׁבְּעוּ אַנְשֵׁי־דָוִד לוֹ לֵאמֹר לֹא־תֵצֵא 21:17
עוֹד אִתָּנוּ לַמִּלְחָמָה וְלֹא תְכַבֶּה אֶת־נֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
2Sam. 21:17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah gave protection to him and smote the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him saying, “You shall not go forth any more with us to battle, so you do not extinguish the light of Israel.”
וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי־כֵן וַתְּהִי־עוֹד הַמִּלְחָמָה בְּגוֹב עִם־פְּלִשְׁתִּים אָז הִכָּה סִבְּכַי הַחֻשָׁתִי אֶת־סַף אֲשֶׁר 21:18
2Sam. 21:18 And it was after this that there was again war with the Philistines at Gob. At that time Sibbecai, the Hushathite, slew Saph, who was among the sons of the giant.
וַתְּהִי־עוֹד הַמִּלְחָמָה בְּגוֹב עִם־פְּלִשְׁתִּים וַיַּךְ אֶלְחָנָן בֶּן־יַעְרֵי אֹרְגִים בֵּית הַלַּחְמִי אֵת גָּלְיָת הַגִּתִּי 21:19 וְעֵץחֲנִיתוֹ כִּמְנוֹר אֹרְגִים׃
2Sam. 21:19 And there was again war at Gob with the Philistines, and Elchanan son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, slew Goliath, the Gittite, and the staff of his spear was like the beam of weavers.
I imagine that Goliath, the Gittite, is not Goliath, the Philistine, whom David Slew..
וַתְּהִי־עוֹד מִלְחָמָה בְּגַת וַיְהִי אִישׁ מָדִין וְאֶצְבְּעֹת יָדָיו וְאֶצְבְּעֹת רַגְלָיו שֵׁשׁ וָשֵׁשׁ עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבַּע 21:20 מִסְפָּר וְגַם־הוּא יֻלַּד לְהָרָפָה׃
2Sam. 21:20 And there was again a war at Gath and there was one, a contender, and the fingers of his hand and the toes of his feet were six and six, twenty-four in number, and he also was born to the giant.
וַיְחָרֵף אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּכֵּהוּ יְהוֹנָתָן בֶּן־ (שִׁמְעִי) [שִׁמְעָה] אֲחִי דָוִד׃ 21:21
2Sam. 21:21 When he defied Israel, then Jonathan son of Shimeah, brother of David, slew him.
The name Shimeah is misspelled, containing a yad instead of a heh. The correction is in the brackets.
אֶת־אַרְבַּעַת אֵלֶּה יֻלְּדוּ לְהָרָפָה בְּגַת וַיִּפְּלוּ בְיַד־דָּוִד וּבְיַד עֲבָדָיו׃ 21:22
2Sam. 21:22 The four of these were born to the giant in Gath and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.
I get the impression that the last eight verses, 21:15 to 21:22, were intended to close out the story of David’s reign. The sages also thought so, because the last three chapters of this book include no additional narrative.
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