The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Second Book of Kings
There was a famine in David’s reign that lasted three years continuously; and when David consulted the Lord’s oracle he was told, It is because of Saul; he slew the Gabaonites, and the guilt of blood still rests upon his line.
The Gabaonites did not belong to Israel; they were of the old Amorrhite stock, and their lives had been spared in fulfilment of an oath, but Saul, jealous for the honour of Israel and of Juda, had tried to exterminate them. So king David summoned them,
and asked what he could do to content them; what amends he could make, to recover their good will for the Lord’s chosen people.
Of silver and gold, the Gabaonites told him, there is no question here; our quarrel is with Saul and his kin; we would not take any toll of Israelite lives. What would you have me do, then? the king asked.
And they said, We must efface the memory of the man who persecuted us and wrongfully oppressed us, leaving none of his stock alive from end to end of Israel.
Hand over to us seven men of his line, and let us crucify them before the Lord at Gabaa, that is named after him; there dwelt he when the Lord chose him out to be king.✻ And David said, You shall have them.
But he spared Miphiboseth, the heir of Saul through Jonathan, to honour the covenant which Jonathan, Saul’s son, had made with him;
he took two sons that were born to Saul by Respha, daughter of Aia, one called Armoni and one that bore his cousin’s name of Miphiboseth, and five sons of Michol, Saul’s daughter, that she bore to Hadriel, son of Berzellai, at Molathi,
and handed these over to the Gabaonites. And the Gabaonites crucified them before the Lord, there on the hillside. It was in the first days of the harvest, when the barley was beginning to be cut, that the seven of them perished, all at one time;
and Respha, the daughter of Aia, spread herself a covering of sackcloth and sat there on the rock, from the beginning of harvest till the first rains fell on them; bird by day nor beast by night should touch them.
The news of what Saul’s concubine, Respha the daughter of Aia, had done, reached David’s ears.
And thereupon he recovered the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the men of Jabes-Galaad, who had stolen them back when the Philistines hung them up in the streets of Bethsan, soon after Saul’s death on Gelboe;
carried these away, and collected the bones, too, of the men crucified at Gabaa,
and buried them. So they were laid in the tomb of Cis, that was Saul’s father, in the Benjamite country, beside the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan; all this was done at the king’s command. And now the land was restored to God’s favour.
War broke out again between Israel and the Philistines, and David went to battle against them with his men. But David’s strength had left him;
and he came near to being struck down by Jesbi-Benob, a man of the Araphite breed, that had a spear-head of ten pounds weight, and a new sword at his side.
It was Abisai, Sarvia’s son, that came to the king’s rescue, and gave the Philistine his death-blow. But after that David’s men swore that he should never go into battle with them again; that light must not be lost to Israel.
In another battle against the Philistines, at Gob, Saph, of the giant breed of Arapha, was slain by Sobochai, from Husathi;
in a third, also at Gob, Elehanan the son of Jaare, an embroiderer from Bethlehem, slew Goliath of Geth, that had a shaft to his spear as big as a weaver’s beam.✻
In a fourth, at Geth, there was a man of huge stature that had twelve fingers and twelve toes, another of the Araphite breed;
and he taunted Israel, till Jonathan, son of David’s brother Semma, struck him down.
All these four were Araphites from Geth, all slain by David and his men.
The Holy Bible