Bible Society of South Africa
Neville Turley (and Mims Turley)

Lessons for life from the Bible – Day 7

When death strikes

Bible text(s)

22“Yes,” David answered, “I did fast and weep while he was still alive. I thought that the LORD might be merciful to me and not let the child die. 23But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Could I bring the child back to life? I will some day go to where he is, but he can never come back to me.”

2 Samuel 12:22-23GNBOpen in Bible reader

When David lost a child to death, the battle-hardened king was able to move on, not so Rizpah. Rizpah was the concubine of King Saul and bore him two sons, Armoni and Mephibosheth.

During David’s rule, there was a three-year famine in the land. It was God’s punishment for an atrocity committed by King Saul, who had murdered Gibeonites that Israel had sworn to protect. (2 Samuel 21:1-2).

The Gibeonites wanted revenge. They demanded that David atone for Saul’s sin by surrendering seven of Saul’s offspring to them. David agreed to their demand. He handed over Armoni and Mephibosheth and five of Saul’s grandchildren to them. The Gibeonites promptly hanged all seven and left their bodies exposed on a hill.

Imagine the emotions that coursed through their mother at the fate of her innocent sons. “Rizpah, daughter of Aiah, took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds touch them by day or the wild animals by night.” (2 Samuel 21:10)

On hearing of Rizpah’s vigil, David ordered that the bodies be removed and interred in the family tomb of the grandfather, Kish.

There are parents today who have angrily turned against God in their sorrow at losing a loved one. They seek rational answers where there are none. The one thing we do know is that God’s love for us is so great that he himself allowed his only Son to die so that, through him, we could pass through death to life eternal.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.15
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