Now two of Ish-Bosheth’s captains seek to win David’s favor. They murder their king, and bring his head to David. In OT times, it is normal to reward bringers of good news. The two surely expect a reward for opening David’s way to Israel’s throne. Instead an angry David executes the two for killing “an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed” (4:11).
Amid the plotting and bloodshed, David alone seems to have kept perspective and acted morally.
8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul your enemy, who sought your life; and the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul and his descendants.”
9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from all adversity, 10 when someone told me, saying, ‘Look, Saul is dead,’ thinking to have brought good news, I arrested him and had him executed in Ziklag–the one who thought I would give him a reward for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous person in his own house on his bed? Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and remove you from the earth?”