Every leader hates dealing with messes. Worst of all is an inherited mess. David faces a problem he could never have foreseen, which he must now deal with. The Gibeonites are a tribe whose ancestors ingeniously secured a covenant of protection with the Israelites (Josh. 9), only to be decimated by the over-zealous Saul. Nor was this a fact of increasingly-ancient history: God was so grieved about it that He brought a three year famine to the land (vv.1-2).
When David asks the Gibeonites what they want from him, their response must have shocked the king and the whole nation: blood for blood (vv.4-6). Modern minds recoil. Did ancient ones? Hard to say. Are David and his historian inwardly repelled? We don’t know. What ancient and modern minds feel in this exchange, and in the gruesome scenes which follow, is that life is unspeakably precious, and that sin is unbearably serious. What people do matters. Every person, when outraged, needs justice to come, whether it’s worked out well or badly. Life is the cost of sin at this murder-hill (v.10). See this scene of justice and loss, and think on another son on a different hill who pays the price for the sin of others. Remember His mother, weeping at his exposed body. Then learn that Your sin can never be covered up, but must be covered by the perfect payment of a just life. Jesus has. He has done it. It is finished.
A Prayer to Pray
Almighty God, Your justice is infinite. You demand life where You see sin. You demand faith in Your substitute Son from all sinners. And You gift repentance and faith. I come back to those most precious gifts, and to the great work of Your Son Jesus, and I receive life. Thankyou. Thankyou. Amen.