Are you suffering or grieving today? Are you feeling hurt and alone perhaps thinking that no one has had to suffer quite like you have? Are you wondering if God Himself has forsaken you?
If so, please know you’re not alone. The Bible is full of women who went through unspeakable tragedies. Today we look at one of those women. Rizpah, concubine of King Saul, was the victim of national gossip and then watched helplessly as her two sons were hanged for the sins of their father. And yet, through it all, she held her head high and reacted with dignity and strength.
This is one of those stories that leaves me with so many unanswered questions. Why was this woman only a concubine and not a full fledged wife? Why was she the victim of malicious gossip? Why did she have to watch her sons die for someone else’s sins? Why didn’t anyone think to bury their bodies?
We’ll never know the answer to those questions, but what about these? Why is Rizpah included in the Bible? What can we learn from her and her story?
I love that even though Rizpah was a victim caught up in the politics of the men in her life, and even though she was given little respect in her lifetime, God honored her by including her name in the Bible. She may have been invisible to her contemporaries, but she is forever immortalized through her inclusion in the pages of 2 Samuel.
Rizpah may not be a leading lady in the Bible. She may not make the Hall of Fame of biblical women. But we can learn much from Rizpah’s example.
Rizpah was forever in the background. She didn’t make the first cut of royal wives. Ishbosheth saw her only as property to be used for political gain. David considered her sons disposable. And no one cared enough about her to join her out on the hill with the crosses, or at the very least to check in on her and make sure she was taken care of.
If ever a woman had reason to feel sorry for herself, Rizpah did. And yet, we see no sign of self pity.
Unlike Abigail or the Woman of Tekoa, Rizpah was not one to take authority and plead her case before David. And why should she? It was because of him that she was in the situation she was in.
She was all alone. Except she wasn’t. She had her faith.
2 Samuel 3:7-11
2 Samuel 21:1-14
Bible Study Review
- How was Rizpah the victim of gossip?
- Why were her sons killed?
- What was David’s response to the hangings?
Thoughts to Ponder
- Could Rizpah have prevented her sons’ death?
- What could David have done differently?
- Why didn’t anyone else seem bothered by the bodies hanging from the trees?
- Have you ever had to watch someone you loved suffer and/or die? How did you respond?
- What can we learn from Rizpah’s example?
- How are you like/unlike Rizpah?
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