Although King Saul fell from grace with the Lord, he was chosen by the Lord to lead the nation of Israel. We have looked at how Saul was a type of Christ in his early reign as king and in his death. In between these times Saul did many things that were not in the will of the Lord. One of the actions of Saul was to attempt to annihilate the Gibeonites (II Samuel 21:2). This violated the oath taken by Joshua and the Israelites many years before (Joshua 9:19).
The result of Saul’s attempted annihilation was visited on the Israelites many years later. The nation was suffering its third year of famine, which was a clear indication that the Lord was not happy with them, and David “sought the face of the Lord.” (II Samuel 21:1) The Lord told David that the famine was because of “Saul and his blood-stained house.”
King David summoned the Gibeonites to him and asked how the Israelites could make amends for the actions of Saul. The Gibeonites sought blood for blood. They asked for the death of seven of Saul’s male descendants. They asked that these men be “killed and exposed” at Gibeah, Saul’s home town. David ordered that these male descendants be turned over to the Gibeonites and the Lord did not express an objection. I admit that I do not understand this matter.
The scriptures tell us that this happened just as the barley harvest was beginning (II Samuel 21:9). The first month of the Hebrew calendar begins at the New Moon when the barley grain is ready for harvest. Passover is the fourteenth day of the first month, Nisan. There must be ripe barley available for the priest to make a wave offering before the Lord at the Feast of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:10-11). The Feast of Firstfruits is on the first Sunday following Passover. (This is the day that Jesus arose from the grave, the Firstfruits of resurrection.)
Even though I do not understand the avenging of the Gibeonites, what I find interesting is the picture we receive from the deaths of these descendants of Saul. First, these men, two sons and five grandsons, were blameless. They were killed and exposed on a hill. And it all occurred at the time of Passover. Once again, we find Saul figuring into a foreshadow or type of Christ. This time Saul is the father. The seven sons and grandsons were typical of blameless Jesus, who was killed and exposed on a hill at Passover.
Because Saul was the first king of Israel, the Lord honored him and blessed him. The Lord used the life of Saul to show us things that would happen centuries later. All prophecy is not plain utterance regarding a coming event. The Bible is full of types and foreshadows that tell us of events; many of which have yet to occur. Praise the Lord for His Holy Word that we have been blessed to receive.