Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of Yahweh. Yahweh said, “It is because of Saul and because of the House of Bloodguilt, because he put to death the Gibeonites.” Bible see other translations

“in the days of David.” The time of this famine is not given. Many commentators think that this is fairly early in David’s reign.

“the House of Bloodguilt.” “The House of Bloodguilt” is set in opposition to the “House of Saul,” and further describes it. Thus, in God’s eyes, “the House of Saul” was also “the House of Bloodguilt,” and Saul’s house certainly had much bloodguilt associated with it. Besides putting Gibeonites to death, something that is not recorded in the Word, Saul put to death an entire village of priests (1 Sam. 22:16-19); tried to kill David; tried to kill his own son and crown prince Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:33), and almost certainly put to death others who are not recorded in the Bible. Then again, when called upon to kill the Amalekite Agag, an enemy of Yahweh, Saul spared him and Samuel had to do it (1 Sam. 15:20, 33).

For the translation “bloodguilt” see HALOT Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament; the Schocken Bible by E. Fox; and the Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament.

Commentary for: 2 Samuel 21:1