We read in 2 Samuel 21:11–14 that when David saw the devotion of Rizpah in protecting the bodies of her sons from the carnivorous birds and beasts, he was reminded of the shameful exposure of the bodies of Saul and his son Jonathan on the walls of Beth Shan where the Philistines had displayed them after the battle of Gilboa (1 Sam. 31:11–13). Though the people of Jabesh Gilead had brought the bodies away for burial, the remains were interred far from Gibeah, Saul’s family home. David resolved to bring their bones back from Jabesh Gilead and bury them in the sepulcher of Saul’s father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin. After this was done God again answered prayer on behalf of the nation.
We read in 2 Samuel 21:15–22. The chapter concludes with a final word about David’s hostility toward the Philistines. No longer the robust young warrior of former days, David now was old and weak. A Philistine giant, Ishbi-Benob, advanced on David with a spear (with a spearhead weighing 300 shekels or about seven and one-half pounds) and a new sword, threatening to kill him. Just in time Abishai … came to David’s aid and killed the giant. David’s warriors advised him never again to take to the field of battle. His death would mean the end of his leadership, a tragedy synonymous with the snuffing out of Israel’s illumination (the lamp of Israel) for in and through David were God’s covenant blessings to be accomplished (1 Kings 11:36; 15:4; 2 Kings 8:19).