Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Women of the Bible: Rizpah

I've been chided for discontinuing this series, so here's a new one.

2 Samuel 21:1-14
During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord. The Lord said, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.”
2 The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.) 3 David asked the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the Lord’s inheritance?”
4 The Gibeonites answered him, “We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death.”
“What do you want me to do for you?” David asked.
5 They answered the king, “As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel, 6 let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and their bodies exposed before the Lord at Gibeah of Saul—the Lord’s chosen one.”
So the king said, “I will give them to you.”
7 The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the Lord between David and Jonathan son of Saul. 8 But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 9 He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed them and exposed their bodies on a hill before the Lord. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.
10 Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds touch them by day or the wild animals by night. 11 When David was told what Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, had done, 12 he went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had stolen their bodies from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.) 13 David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.
14 They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul’s father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.
I guess the moral of the story is you're supposed to do a better job of choosing the man you're going to be concubined to (new word; you're welcome) so that your kids don't end up getting murdered after that man pisses off God. Lesson learned. The end.


  1. notahipster_librarian4/26/2016

    Yay, you're posting again!

  2. Anonymous4/26/2016

    this is a sad story but that picture makes her look like a total badass, so there's that

  3. HannahBanana4/26/2016

    I don't remember this one at all. It's too bad there's not a Lego scene for this. That would be awesome.

    1. We could make one! Except I* probably don't have enough generic minifigs so some of the dead sons might have to be storm troopers or ninjagos or unikittys. Which could also be awesome. And I don't don't have any lego birds of prey so she might have to be fending off a squirrel. It's not quite the same effect.

      *by which I mean "my kid"

  4. Anonymous4/27/2016

    "I guess the moral of the story is you're supposed to do a better job of choosing the man you're going to be concubined to (new word; you're welcome) so that your kids don't end up getting murdered after that man pisses off God."

    This could be applied to a majority of the women in the bible.

  5. Where do concubines fall in the traditional marriage argument? Aren't there a lot of concubines in the Bible?

    1. As far as I can tell the traditional marriage argument is based on a fictional thing that exists in nostalgic daydreams and black and white tv. Once you start looking for it you realize that it doesn't exist. So concubines fit right in there. Except I think maybe they were a kind of slave? As long as everyone is consenting and women get to have them too in our modern day "traditional marriage," I'm cool with it. Insofar as I'm cool with marriage at all.

  6. Michelle4/28/2016

    I like how neither the killing nor the displaying of the dead is remarkable in this story. The remarkable thing is the mother's response. Does that mean this kind of thing was common?

  7. Although God's ways are hard to understand, you have to cosider this story as a part of the whole story of David and the Israelites. God's ways are not your ways, and you cannot judge them on human standards.

    1. I agree. But then that standard has to be applied across the board. When you say "God is love" that can't mean the same thing as saying that a person is loving. If in fact it's OK with God that innocent people are slaughtered in order to serve some larger purpose, then I'm not sure what we mean when we say "God will take care of you" and "He's got the whole world in his hands" as if that's supposed to be comforting.

  8. Second_Timothy5/16/2016

    This is clearly the result of not committing genocide correctly. If the Israelites would have just once committed genocide as instructed they would have saved themselves a lot of dead sons.