World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
When Saul’s son Ishbaal heard that Abner had died at Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed. 2Saul’s son had two captains of raiding bands; the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab. They were sons of Rimmon a Benjaminite from Beeroth—for Beeroth is considered to belong to Benjamin. 3(Now the people of Beeroth had fled to Gittaim and are there as resident aliens to this day).
4 Saul’s son Jonathan had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled; and, in her haste to flee, it happened that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.
5 Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ishbaal, while he was taking his noonday rest. 6They came inside the house as though to take wheat, and they struck him in the stomach; then Rechab and his brother Baanah escaped. 7Now they had come into the house while he was lying on his couch in his bedchamber; they attacked him, killed him, and beheaded him. Then they took his head and traveled by way of the Arabah all night long. 8They brought the head of Ishbaal to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbaal, son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.”
9 David answered Rechab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity, 10when the one who told me, ‘See, Saul is dead,’ thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him at Ziklag—this was the reward I gave him for his news. 11How much more then, when wicked men have killed a righteous man on his bed in his own house! And now shall I not require his blood at your hand, and destroy you from the earth?” 12So David commanded the young men, and they killed them; they cut off their hands and feet, and hung their bodies beside the pool at Hebron. But the head of Ishbaal they took and buried in the tomb of Abner at Hebron.
4. Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet—This is mentioned as a reason why, according to Oriental notions, he was considered unfit for exercising the duties of sovereignty.
5, 6. Rechab and Baanah went and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ish-bosheth, &c.—It is still a custom in the East to allow their soldiers a certain quantity of corn, together with some pay; and these two captains very naturally went to the palace the day before to fetch wheat, in order to distribute it to the soldiers, that it might be sent to the mill at the accustomed hour in the morning.
7. when they came into the house, he lay on his bed—Rechab and Baanah came in the heat of the day, when they knew that Ish-bosheth, their master, would be resting on his divan; and as it was necessary, for the reason just given, to have the corn the day before it was needed, their coming at that time, though it might be a little earlier than usual, created no suspicion, and attracted no notice [Harmer].
gat them away through the plain—that is, the valley of the Jordan, through which their way lay from Mahanaim to Hebron.
8. They brought the head of Ish-bosheth unto David … and said, Behold the head of Ish-bosheth—Such bloody trophies of rebels and conspirators have always been acceptable to princes in the East, and the carriers have been liberally rewarded. Ish-bosheth being a usurper, the two assassins thought they were doing a meritorious service to David by removing the only existing obstacle to the union of the two kingdoms.
2Sa 4:10-12. David Causes Them to Be Put to Death.
12. slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet—as the instruments in perpetrating their crime. The exposure of the mutilated remains was intended as not only a punishment of their crime, but also the attestation of David's abhorrence.