Lay It Before God

We often overlook Rizpah, a tragic figure in the Scriptures. She was Saul’s concubine, neither having the status nor the consideration of being a wife. When it came to fulfilling the requirement of the Gibeonites in their revenge against Saul, her children became expendable, while others were preserved (2 Sam. 21:6-7). Though neither words nor tears are recorded, her actions demonstrate a depth of love for her children that excels. Her vigil over the bodies of her children took an active stance. She beat away the vultures by day and drove off the wild animals by night that would have feasted upon her children. Her sorrow made her as fearless as she was speechless. Did Rizpah know that those bodies should not have hung for so long on public display? (See Deuteronomy 21:22-2322And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:22‑23).) Did she know that children were not to be put to death for the sins of their parents? (See Deuteronomy 24:1616The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin. (Deuteronomy 24:16).) Eventually, after an unknown length of time, her actions came to the attention of the king. Then the king was motivated to properly bury the slain. It is noteworthy that only upon the proper burial of the slain is it stated, “God was entreated for the land” (2 Sam. 21:14).
We admire Rizpah for not taking action against the God-given authority. She lays out her complaint “upon the rock” (2 Sam. 21:10). Bypassing the injustices she might have felt, and the grievances against the ones committing them, she laid herself out upon the “rock” and beat away all things unclean. She stands as a quiet but powerful testimony — so much so that David the king is moved to action.