Blood Avenger in Bible Times
Application of the principle to Bible times. The Bedouin tribes of Arabs today govern themselves according to the old customs and laws. The whole tribe shares with the kinsman in the responsibility to avenge the shedding of blood. These old regulations need to be known in order to have an understanding of what happened in the twenty-first chapter of Second Samuel.
A famine came to the land of David three successive years, and when David inquired of the LORD for the cause of it, "The Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites" (II Samuel 21:1).
King Saul had broken the covenant Israel had made with the Gibeonites, and had cruelly murdered many of these people. As a tribe of people this band of men felt duty bound to avenge the crime of Saul, but had no opportunity to do so. According to the law of the kinsman, commonly accepted among them, since the guilty man was dead, certain of his descendants should pay the penalty for the crime.
Thus the death of seven male descendants of Saul atoned for Saul's sin, as far as this tribe was concerned. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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