“And David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? And how shall I make atonement, that you may bless the heritage of the Lord”” (2 Samuel 21:3)?

In 2 Samuel 21, Isreal experienced famine for three years during David’s reign. David sought the face of God to understand the cause of the famine. God revealed that the famine was as a result of bloodguilt on Saul and his household, because he had put the Gibeonites to death. Now the Gibeonites were the people who had tricked Joshua and the elders of Isreal, into thinking that they had travelled from far to meet with them. They got them to sign a covenant that they would not kill them, but allow them to live among them as their servants. Despite Isreal’s error, this contract was spiritually binding. However, during Saul’s reign, he tried to kill them in his zeal for the people of Judah. Once God revealed to David the current cause of their calamity, he called the Gibeonites to ask them what he could do to make atonement.

“The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.” And he said, “What do you say that I shall do for you”” (2 Samuel 21:4)? The Gibeonites requested that seven of the sons of Saul, be killed to make atonement for the sins done to them. David spared Mephiobsheth because of the oath that he made with Johnathan. He handed over seven of the sons of Saul to the Gibeonites and they killed them. One of the mothers of Saul’s sons, Rizpah put sackloth on the rock where the bodies of the men were slain. She did this to prevent birds from eating their bodies. David heard about her actions and got men to collect all the bones of Saul and his sons and buried them in the tomb of Saul’s father.

Once all of these actions were completed, God responded to the plea of the land and restored them from the famine. The story above is quite a gruesome one and we may not require death and hanging as atonement for sin in our times. That being said, many countries still implement the death penalty as payment for murder. It could be said that the law would have considered the death of seven men, as just punishment for the near genocide of a nation of people. Whatever our conviction, we can see that Isreal experienced famine as a result of the sins of Saul. Although he was dead, he was king and leader of Isreal and his actions had a direct impact on the people. The land was now in famine for over three years and it was David’s knowledge of God, which led him to seek answers.

The promises of God for Isreal was that he would always send rain, to water their crops and cause them to have a good harvest. Once they were experiencing famine for such a long period, David knew that something was out of alignment. He was a king who operated as a priest and we are not told that he consulted with one of the prophets. He sought God for an answer and then did what was necessary to make atonement and bring restoration to Isreal. There are some calamities that we experience, that may have roots in things done by us out of ignorance. It does not hurt to seek the face of God, to ask him to reveal the source of a problem. Sometimes the condition may be through no fault of our own and can represent redemptive suffering. Either way, having revelation and understanding of what we are experiencing will help us to know how to respond.

“He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom” (Job 12:22).


Published by Anneta Pinto-Young

I am a trained Social Worker who currently provides professional leadership on a programme to support Social Work students and Newly Qualified Social Workers entering the Social Work Profession. Born and raised in Jamaica in a Christian family where my father is an ordained Pastor and Deacon who has served for over 50 years in the ministry. My father is also a trained musician and our family can be described as a musical family. I grew up in a small farming community in St. Peter’s, St. Andrew and my parents also have a small farm. I credit my gift of writing to my father who I watched and listened to over the years as he wrote sermons, poems and other recitals in his capacity in ministry. English has always been an easy subject for me and over the years I have developed an increased interest in writing. I am a Trainer, I sing and have a passion for worship, the spoken word and the free flow of the prophetic anointing. I am married to my best friend Andrew Christopher Young who is an advanced Musician and whose music you can find on YouTube and Facebook. I am a trained Coach and Mentor and I love experimenting with food so I love cooking. I enjoy trying cultural dishes from across the world and I view food as an entry into cultures and languages.