[b-hebrew] Answering "Children being punished" Ex 34:7 - 2 Sam 21 1-14

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sat Apr 23 12:50:57 EDT 2005

On 22/04/2005 04:36, tladatsi at charter.net wrote:

>Similarly in 2 Sam 21 the two sons and five grandsons of 
>Saul are put to death for Saul's attempt to kill the 
>Gibeonites, well after Saul himself was dead.  In fact, the 
>bodies were left to hang for many days and were denied 
>proper burial until the end of the harvest.  Being denied 
>proper and immediate burial is a special humiliation which 
>is in violation of Deu 21:22-23.  Once more, there is more 
>case history where the principle expounded in Ex 34:7 is 
>put into detailed practice.
But there is an interesting contrast here with 2 Samuel 9:1 and 
following, in which David seeks out Mephibosheth despite his link with 
Saul. It seems likely that 2 Samuel 21 in fact predates 2 Samuel 9, 
which puts a rather different perspective on the latter: David seeking 
out the only surviving descendant of Saul having earlier put to death 
all of the others. And this killing, although of course regrettable, 
seems to have been forced on David by political considerations, the need 
to appease the non-Israelite Gibeonites by following their custom of 
killing children of the guilty one. So don't assume too quickly that 
David was following the regular Israelite custom when he had Saul's 
grandchildren killed.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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