2 Samuel 21:1-14…2 So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah).
So why was it such a big deal that Saul put some of the Gibeonites to death? In Joshua 9, we find the answer to that question. The Gibeonites tricked the Israelites into swearing an oath guaranteeing their safety in the land. Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them. [Joshua 9:15] When the trick was discovered Joshua made them servants of Israel and the Lord continually [Joshua 9:27]. Israel very soon had to defend Gibeon [Joshua 10:1-28].
There is a message to us today because before giving the oath; ” 14 the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord.” As Disciples, we need to continually walk in the counsel of God.
God promised Abraham offspring, a nation, and land, and He delivered on those promises faithfully. Faithfulness is a big deal for God. When God swears an oath and He keeps it.
Therefore when Saul showed unfaithfulness to the Gibeonites God placed the burden of guilt on Israel. Even though sworn to by the Israelites and not God this was a sin that had to be dealt with. And He used His servant David to take away the guilt of Israel.
We know that the actions of King David point to the actions of a King infinitely greater than David–our Lord Jesus Christ. Through His death, burial, and resurrection, He has taken away the guilt of all those who trust in Him. While David had to give the seven sons of Saul A to the Gibeonites for them to sacrifice for the sins of Israel, Jesus Himself hung on a cross and arose for the sins of the world. May we trust in Him and rejoice in Him every day.
Why was it so important for the Israelites to make right the oath they made to the Gibeonites?
Praise God together for His unchanging and unwavering faithfulness. Thank Him for the ultimate display of faithfulness He has given to us: the cross of Jesus.
Notes: A- You may question this transfer of the 7 men to the Gibeonites. Warren Wiersbe said “we must keep in mind that we’re dealing with law, not grace, and Israel, not the church. The law of Moses required that an unsolved murder be atoned for by sacrifice [Deuteronomy 21:1-9…6 All the elders of that city which is nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley; 7 and they shall answer and say, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it. 8 Forgive Your people Israel whom You have redeemed, O Lord, and do not place the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of Your people Israel.’ And the blood guiltiness shall be forgiven them. ]”. So how much more, a known attempt to destroy an entire group of people–genocide? Source page 594. For current Christian just war theory: Christian just war tradition from ERLC of SBC;