1Once during David's reign there was a famine for three years in a row, and David asked the Lord about it. The Lord replied, “It's because Saul and his family are guilty of murdering the Gibeonites.”
2David summoned the Gibeonites and spoke with them. The Gibeonites were not Israelites, but what was left of the Amorites. The Israelites had sworn an oath to them, but in his nationalistic passion for the Israelites and Judah, Saul had tried to wipe them out.
3“What can I do for you?” David asked the Gibeonites. “How can I compensate you so that you may bless the Lord's people?”
4“This isn't a question of us receiving payment in silver or gold from Saul or his family,” the Gibeonites replied. “In addition we don't have the right to have anyone in Israel put to death for us.” “I'll do whatever you ask,” David answered.
5They replied, “Regarding the man who destroyed us, who planned to prevent us having any place to live in the whole country of Israel,
6have seven of Saul's male descendants be handed over to us, and we will hang them in the presence of the Lord at Gibeon of Saul, the Lord's chosen one.” “I will hand them over to you,” said the king.
7However, the king spared Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, son of Saul, because of the oath sworn before the Lord between David and Jonathan, son of Saul.
8The king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she had borne to Saul, and the five sons of Merab, the daughter of Saul, whom she had borne to Adriel, son of Barzillai the Meholathite.
9He handed them over to the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the hill in the presence of the Lord. All seven of them died at the same time, executed at the beginning of the barley harvest.
10Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took some sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest until the time the rains came and poured down on the bodies, she kept the birds away from them during the day and the wild animals at night.
11When David heard what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Saul's concubine of Saul had done,
12he retrieved the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had taken them from the public square of Beth-shan where the Philistines had hung the bodies after they had killed Saul at Gilboa.
13David had the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan brought back, and also had the bones of those who had been hanged gathered up.
14They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan at Zela in the land of Benjamin, in the tomb of Saul's father Kish. Once they finished doing everything the king had ordered, God answered their prayers to end the famine in the land.
15There was war once more between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight the Philistines, and he got worn out.
16Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spear weighed three hundred shekels, and who was carrying a new sword, said he was going to kill David.
17But Abishai, son of Zeruiah, came to his rescue, attacked the Philistine, and killed him. Then David's men swore to him, “Don't ever go out with us to battle again, so that the Israel's light isn't snuffed out!”
18Some time after this there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob. But then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Repha.
19In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan, son of Jair, from Bethlehem, killed the brother of Goliath the Gittite. The shaft of his spear was as thick as a weaver's rod.
20In yet another battle at Gath, there was a gigantic man, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, making twenty-four all. He too was descended from the giants.
21But when he insulted Israel, Jonathan, son of Shimea, David's brother, killed him.
22These four were the descendants of the giants in Gath, but they were all killed by David and his men.