Shmuel II Four: The Death of Ishbosheth

Word about Abner’s death has reached Ishbosheth. “And Saul’s son hear that Abner had died in Hebron, and his hands became feeble, and all Israel were dismayed (Samuel II 4:1).” Clearly he’s afflicted by this news, and is in shock at this new reality. Even though Abner and Ishbosheth clearly had their problems, this was not welcome news to him.

Now, in addition to Saul, there are a few other remaining members of Saul’s family. “And Jonathan, the son of Saul had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse carried him and fled; and it was in her haste to flee, that he fell and became lame, and his name was Mephibosheth (Samuel II 4:4).” After we’re told about this grandson, we hear about the final fate of Saul’s son, Ishbosheth. He is killed by men thinking to honor David by destroying his rival, and they brought his head to David in Hebron. But David, as we know, has a soft spot for Saul’s family, and doesn’t have an appetite for vengeance against them at this point. “And David commanded the young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and feet, and hanged them up beside the pool in Hebron. But the head of Ishbosheth they took and buried in the grave of Abner in Hebron (Samuel II 4:12).” With this latest death, David is left as the only king, for the moment. The descendants of Saul are dropping quickly at this point, but they all remain intertwined with David, keeping the connection between the families strong.

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