2 Samuel 21

Talks for Growing Christians

The Sad Consequences of a Broken Covenant

2 Samuel 21

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Lesson Number 21

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. It is important to keep covenants made before God.
  2. It is important to have agreement in the Word of God.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s be like Rizpah in times of great loss.


  1. Refer to Joshua 9 and review the covenant that the nation of Israel made with the Gibeonites.
  2. Why did the Lord send a famine upon the land?
  3. Explain how David may have been right in handing over seven of Saul’s descendants to be hung by the Gibeonites.
  4. Who killed Goliath the giant? Explain the apparent disagreement in 2 Samuel 21:19.
  5. Where is there another textual discrepancy in this chapter?


  1. The Gibeonites were part of the Amorite people and should have been wiped out in the conquest of the Promised Land. But the Gibeonites deceived the nation of Israel by making them think they lived far outside the Land and asked to make a covenant with them. Without consulting the Lord, Israel accepted. So although the Gibeonites had been deceptive, the Israelites were obligated to honor their covenant with them.
  2. Because King Saul had broken the covenant that Israel had made with the Gibeonites
  3. The Gibeonites lived in the tribal area of Benjamin (Saul’s tribe), so some of Saul’s sons may have been involved in the sin of ethnic cleansing. If this was the case, their execution would have been in line with the laws in Exodus 21.
  4. David, the son of Jesse killed Goliath. The most likely explanation is that verse 19 contains a copyist error and Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath, as recorded in 1 Chronicles 20:5.
  5. In verse 8, most manuscripts say “Michal,” but some say “Merab.” We believe Merab is correct, because this harmonizes with 1 Samuel 17:19 and 2 Samuel 6:23.


  1. Discuss any covenants you have made before God. How well have you kept those covenants? If you are experiencing a famine in your Christian life, you may need to go before the Lord as David did and ask if this is the cause.
  2. As David and his mighty men had to fight the Philistine giants, so we must fight all kinds of enemy giants today. Discuss the spiritual giants we face such as doubt, unbelief, secret sins, and more. By faith we can see these giants defeated.


  1. Rizpah rose to the occasion and did what she could, without complaining, finding fault, or being embittered. Let’s be like Rizpah in times of great loss.

Key Verses

  • “Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, ‘It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.’” 2 Samuel 21:1
  • “These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.” 2 Samuel 21:22

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