It happened that a grievous famine, which lasted for three years, fell upon the land during the earlier half of David’s reign at Jerusalem. This calamity was sent “for Saul and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.” David inquired of the Gibeonites what satisfaction they demanded, and was answered that nothing would compensate for the wrong Saul had done to them but the death of seven of Saul’s sons. David accordingly delivered up to them the two sons of Rizpah and five of the sons of Merab (q.v.), Saul’s eldest daughter, whom she bore to Adriel. These the Gibeonites put to death, and hung up their bodies before the Lord at the sanctuary at Gibeah. Rizpah thereupon took her place on the rock of Gibeah (q.v.), and for five months watched the suspended bodies of her children, to prevent them from being devoured by the beasts and birds of prey, till they were at length taken down and buried by David.
Her marriage to Abner was the occasion of a quarrel between him and Ishbosheth, which led to Abner’s going over to the side of David (2 Sam. 3:17–21).