King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

2 Samuel > Old Testament > Home

2 Samuel 4

Ishbosheth murdered. (1-7) David puts to death the murderers. (8-12)

2 Samuel 4 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ishbosheth murdered

1 And when Saul’s son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled.

2 And Saul’s son had two men that were captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin: (for Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin.

3 And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and were sojourners there until this day.)

4 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

5 And the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who lay on a bed at noon.

6 And they came thither into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat; and they smote him under the fifth rib: and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.

7 For when they came into the house, he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the plain all night.

David puts to death the murderers

8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.

9 And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said unto them, As the LORD liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity,

10 When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings:

11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?

12 And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Isboseth is omitted in Heb. but understood. He is expressed in the Sept. The Alex. copy generally substitutes Memphibosthai, by mistake; as he (Miphiboseth) was the son of Jonathan, v. 4. H. — Weakened. Hitherto Abner had been the chief support of Saul’s family. His traitorous practices had been kept secret from Isboseth, (C.) who hoped that his former declaration had been dictated by a sudden passion, and would not be carried into effect. C. iii. 10. H. — Troubled, not knowing what turn things would now take, and fearing the resentment of the sons of Sarvia, though they were convinced of David’s good dispositions. Salien, A.C. 1067.

Ver. 2. Bands, (Latronum.) Lit. “robbers,” or people who live on plunder, like the posterity of Ismael, and of Esau. Gen. xxvii. 40. The life-guards of princes are often styled latrones, (C.) from their being stationed at their “sides,” as if Laterones. M.

Fixumque latronis,

Impavidus frangit telum. Æn. xii. 7.

See Servius. Judg. xi. 3. — Beroth was one of the towns of the Gabaonites. It is not certain that the inhabitants retired, in consequence of the persecution of Saul; but they went to the territory of Geth, or to another town of Benjamin. 2 Esd. xi. 33. C.

Ver. 3. That. Heb. &c. “this day,” when the historian wrote. M.

Ver. 4. Miphiboseth. All from Beroth, (v. 2,) may be included within a parenthesis, being only mentioned here to let us know the state of affairs, (H.) and how the son of Jonathan could have no pretensions of the crown. Grot. C. — He would be almost 12 years old at the death of his uncle. H.

Ver. 5. At noon, “to divide the day,” as Varro (iii. 2,) writes. This custom is very prevalent in hot countries. — And the, &c. is all omitted in Heb. and in most ancient MSS. of S. Jerom’s version. It is taken from the Sept. (C.) who do not notice any farther the taking ears of corn, v. 6. H. — Probably the Heb. had this sentence formerly. D. — It was customary to have women to keep the doors; (Mat. xxvi. 69,) and they were often employed in cleansing wheat. Petronius says, in lance argentea pisum purgabat. C. — The ears of corn, hardly ripe, were cleansed, and used as a delicious food. T. 1 K. xvii. 17. Sanctius.

Ver. 6. Corn. Soldiers were paid with corn, instead of money. They came, therefore, under this pretext; or they brought some as a present to the king, (Liran) or pretended that they were come to purchase, (M.) or bringing a sample to sell; (T.) ut emptores tritici. Chal. Prot. “as though they would have fetched wheat, and they smote him under the fifth rib.

Ver. 7. Parlour. Heb. “bed-chamber.” — Wilderness. Avoiding places frequented. H. — The distance was about 40 leagues, which they could not travel in one night. C. — Adrichomius says it was 30 hours’ walk. Sept. “west-ward.” H.

Ver. 8. Life. They wish to recall to David’s remembrance what Saul had done against him, that he may approve the more of what they had perpetrated. M. — They supposed that, as Abner had been well received, they should obtain still greater favour. Salien.

Ver. 11. Innocent. Isboseth was such, at least, in their regard. He might also have mounted his father’s throne, bona fide; and, at any rate, it was not their business to decide the matter (C.) in this treacherous manner. Thus Alexander punished Bessus, who had murdered his master, Darius, with whom the former was at war. H.

Ver. 12. Feet, while they were alive, (Theodoret. M.) almost as Adonibezec had treated many; (Judg. i. 6,) or they were first put to death, and the parts cut off were fastened to a cross; as the head and right hand of Cyrus were by his brother Artaxerxes. Xenop. Anab. iii. C. — Josephus seems to be of the former opinion, saying, “he ordered them to be executed in the most excruciating torments,” “while the head of Jebosthe (Isboseth) was buried with all honour.” Ant. vii. 2. — Thus David convinced the people that he would punish crimes, when it was in his power, and that he would give no encouragement to the treason or perfidy of any one. H.