“Polygamy was practiced at an early date. It was one of the sins that brought the
wrath of God upon the antediluvian world. Yet after the Flood it again became
widespread. It was Satan’s studied effort to pervert the marriage institution, to
weaken its obligations and lessen its sacredness; for in no surer way could he
deface the image of God in man and open the door to misery and vice”
E.G.W. (Patriarchs and prophets, cp. 29, p. 350)
There isn’t a clear
polygamy in the Bible.
Does that mean that God
endorses those habits?
What did being
mean to Rizpah?
“King Solomon answered his mother, "Why do you request Abishag the
Shunammite [David’s concubine] for Adonijah? You might as well request
the kingdom for him--after all, he is my older brother-- yes, for him
and for Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah!"” (1 Kings, 2: 22)
“In the sight of all Israel he [Absalom] was to
take to himself his father’s concubines,
according to the custom of oriental nations,
thus declaring that he succeeded to his
(E.G.W., “Patriarchs and prophets”, cp. 72, pg. 799)
What part did Rizpah play in the fall of
What was the implication of taking the
concubine of the previous king?
The Gibeonites demanded
the sons of Saul to pay for
their father’s affront. How
can we understand that in
the light of texts like
“fathers shall not be put to
death for their children,
nor children put to death
for their fathers; each is to
die for his own sin”
(Deuteronomy, 24: 16)?
Saul exterminated the Gibeonites from Israel, breaking the
alliance that Joshua made with them. That was obviously
unpleasant to God, so He deprived the people of Israel of rain.
“Saul didn’t take part on that fault
alone. He acted with the people and
in its name, as the king of Israel.
Undoubtedly, the people agreed and
the guilt of exterminating the
Gibeonites fell on both the people
and the king. That explains why the
Lord allowed David and his people to
suffer Saul’s punishment. The whole
nation got involved in breaking
Joshua’s and the princes’ solemn
oath more than 400 years later”
(SDA Bible Commentary, on 2 Samuel, 21: 2)
Was God’s will that
Rizpah’s and Merab’s
children should be hung?
“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” (2 Samuel, 21: 8 NVI)
“David should have asked God that
question [how can I appease them?], as
he did in hunger times. We don’t read in
the record that David consulted God nor
that what the Gibeonites demanded and
what David did was in harmony with God’s
request to rectify the situation”
(SDA Bible Commentary, on 2 Samuel, 21: 3)
One of the possible
answers is that Rizpah
wanted to be sure
–even in the middle of
her pain– that God
would bless the people of Israel
again (“would atone
for them”) by sending them rain.
That’s why she didn’t move away
from there until she had carried out
Why did Rizpah go to keep vigil over
the bodies of her children instead of
mourning at home (as Merab did)?
How did Rizpah show faithfulness in
that unpleasant situation?
How was Rizpah
the trigger for
and Israel in
“Rizpah’s tender zeal made
David show respect to Saul’s
descendants. David wanted to
show that he kept no enmity
towards the previous king, so
he brought Saul’s and
Jonathan’s bones to Jabesh
Gilead; he buried them
honourably in the old family
(SDA Bible Commentary, on 2 Samuel, 21: 12)
“There is nothing insignificant in the work of God, and
the faithfulness with which the work is done rather than
the amount decides the reward of each”
E.G.W. (This day with God, March 12)
ASSOCIATE truth – Why should I study this lesson?
DISCOVER truth – What does the Bible say about this truth?
APPLY truth – How can this truth affect my life today?
PLAN using the truth – How can I use this truth today?
TRANSFER truth to life – What changes do I need in my life?
We invite you to download and study
each one of the 13 lessons about
Characters of the Old Testament