II Samuel 21:1-14 David Keeps Covenant With The Gibeonites.
There was a famine in the land for 3 years, and when David finally inquired of the LORD he was told that it was because Saul had broken the oath that was sworn to the Gibeonites to spare them.* “Saul had tried to annihilate the Gibeonites (v. 2; 4:3), though obviously with only partial success. Israel’s treaty with the Gibeonites is recorded in Josh. 9.” (NGSB. 458) Although Israel had been remiss in entering into such a treaty without inquiring of the LORD (Josh. 9:14), they were still obligated to do so. In effect, the house of Saul was guilty of murdering the innocent. When the Gibeonites stipulated the perfect number of 7 to be executed, they were stating that their death would resolve the matter, even though those who were murdered far outweighed 7. Likewise, in choosing 7 of the house of Saul to die, because of his oath to Jonathan, David spared his son Mephibosheth (v. 7). The bones of these men were then recovered by Israel and buried with Saul and Jonathan’s.
*“Not uncommon in the land of Canaan (Gen. 12:10; 26:1; Ruth 1:1), famine is often recognized in the Bible as a manifestation of God’s judgment (e.g., 24:13; Deut. 32:24; 2 Kin. 8:1; Ps. 105:16; Is. 14:30; Jer. 11:22; Ezek. 14:21; Rev. 6:8).” (NGSB. 458)