(Rizʹpah) [glowing coal].
A concubine of King Saul; daughter of Aiah. (2 Sam. 3:7; 21:11) After Saul’s death, his son Ish-bosheth alienated General Abner by calling him to account for having relations with Rizpah, an act he construed as intimating seizure of the throne. As a consequence, Abner defected to David.—2 Sam. 3:7-21.
Rizpah had given birth to two sons by Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth. Long after Saul’s death, David took these two sons of Rizpah along with five other descendants of Saul and handed them over to the Gibeonites to slay, in order to remove bloodguilt from the land. The seven were exposed on a mountain, where Rizpah guarded their bodies from the birds and wild beasts “from the start of harvest until water poured down upon them from the heavens.” (2 Sam. 21:1-10) This indefinite period of time may have been five or six months, unless, as some suggest, there was an exceptional out-of-season downpour. Such a heavy rain before October would have been most unusual. (1 Sam. 12:17, 18; Prov. 26:1) David finally heard of the matter and relieved Rizpah of her vigil by having the bodies buried.—2 Sam. 21:11-14.