2Samuel 4:1 ¦ And when SaulŐs son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled.

2Samuel 4:2 And SaulŐs son had two men that were captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin: (for Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin:

2Samuel 4:3 And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and were sojourners there until this day.)

 

When Ishbosheth heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, he became afraid, as did the rest of Israel.  They must have suspected that Abner had been deceived by David regarding a peaceful union between the two kingdoms.

 

Two of the captains of IshboshethŐs ŇbandsÓ were brothers, Baanah and Rechab, the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite.  These bands were military troops that made raids into enemy territory seeking spoil to help provide their own needs.  Beeroth was a part of the tribe of Benjamin, but most of its original population had fled to Gittaim to live as foreigners with the people there.  One commentary noted that Beeroth was one of the Hivite cities that deceived Joshua. 

 

2Samuel 4:4 And Jonathan, SaulŐs son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

 

Jonathan, SaulŐs son and DavidŐs dear friend, had a five year old son that was being cared for by his nurse when the news came from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed.  When the nurse hastened to get the child to safety, an accident occurred that resulted in crippling the child; his name was Mephibosheth.  I think that would make him about 12 years old at the time.

 

2Samuel 4:5 And the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who lay on a bed at noon.

2Samuel 4:6 And they came thither into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat; and they smote him under the fifth rib: and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.

2Samuel 4:7 For when they came into the house, he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the plain all night.

2Samuel 4:8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.

 

Rechab and Baanah must have decided that Ishbosheth was not fit to be king and took action that they thought would ingratiate them to David.  One day at noon they entered the kingŐs house on the pretense of getting some wheat to supply the troops but went to his bedroom instead where they knew he was napping according to the custom of that time in the heat of the day.  They killed Ishbosheth, cut off his head and carried it away to take it to David.  They traveled all night to get to Hebron and presented the head to David declaring that they had avenged David of Saul and his seed on the LORDŐs behalf because Saul had sought to kill David.

 

2Samuel 4:9 ¦ And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said unto them, As the LORD liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity,

2Samuel 4:10 When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings:

2Samuel 4:11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?

2Samuel 4:12 And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron.

 

DavidŐs answer was certainly not what they expected.  He first acknowledged that it was the LORD whom he looked to for his protection—not deceitful men was implied.  He then told them about a man that had come to him in Ziklag declaring that he was the one that had killed Saul, thinking that such news would please David and would result in a reward.  Instead, David had killed him.  We know that David had him killed, but he was the one responsible for giving the order. 

David then identified the men as wicked for having killed an innocent person in his own bed in his own home.  Their actions were even worse than the first man because it was cold-blooded murder not remotely connected with war.  So David commanded his men to kill the two captains and then cut off their hands and feet and hang them up over the pool in Hebron.  I guess this public display was necessary to publicly declare that he had meant no harm to come to Ishbosheth and hopefully soothe the fears of the people of Israel.  He then took the head of Ishbosheth and buried in in the tomb with Abner.

I guess IŐll just never learn to understand the barbarity of men and the need to cut off heads and/or dismember bodies.  ISIS is reviving this practice in our day; their intent, however, is to provoke fear, while DavidŐs intent was to soothe fears.