Monday, November 22, 2010

Nov20–26: Rizpah: The Influence of Faithfulness

Teaching Points

1. Read 2 Samuel 3:6–11. What can we learn about Rizpah and about her circumstances in that particular time?


  • She was a concubine of Saul (who’s dead) and is now the cause of an angry dispute between Abner and Ishbosheth. 

  • Saul is dead and his youngest son, Ishbosheth, accuses Abner of having an affair with Rizpah.
  • Because of this, Abner gets upset and now turns on Ishbosheth to side with David. 

  • Why would Ishbosheth accuse Abner of having an affair with Rizpah? (See 1 Kings 2:17, 22) What might he be afraid of?
2. Read 2 Samuel 21:9, 10. What does Rizpah do when her sons are killed? What does this tell us about her?


  • Read 2 Samuel 21:1-8. The seven men chosen must have been involved with Saul in the attack of the Gibeonites. Read Deuteronomy 24:16 and Ezekiel 18:20. There’s no way for innocent lives to bear the guilt of their fathers. Since the Bible does not contradict itself, it must be that these seven men assisted Saul in attacking the Gibeonites. 

  • She protects their dead bodies from the birds or animals feeding on them. This shows that she had respect for the remains of the deceased. 

  • Verse 10 says that Rizpah did this “from the beginning of the harvest until water dropped...”
  • I am not sure how long this is, but from the beginning of the harvest until rain comes is probably a long time, at least weeks, and perhaps even months.
  • This action of Rizpah shows the respect she had for the remains of the deceased.

  • What are some other biblical examples of showing respect for the remains of the dead? What can we learn from those examples?
3. Read 2 Samuel 21:11–14. How was David affected by Rizpah’s actions?


  • He also showed respect for the remains of the dead. 

  • Verse 14 says that, “After that, God answered the prayers for the land” (GWV).
  • It’s interesting to notice that the land was healed not after the execution of the sons but after respect was shown to the remains of Saul and his children.
  • Saul was called “the anointed of the Lord.” And he was not the best of persons, yet respect was still shown him and his descendents, even after death.

  • Rizpah had a hard life. She lived with a man who couldn’t control his own passions (Saul). She then was the cause of the rift between Abner and Ishbosheth, which resulted in Abner’s siding with David. Her entire life seems to be controlled by circumstances and causes outside of her control. Yet this did not stop her from doing what was right, even when it seemed no one else would.

  • When you are put into positions that you cannot control, how do you react? Do you get defensive? How would others view you in those situations?
  • Rizpah and David showed respect to Saul and his family—do you show respect to those in authority, even if you disagree with them?