From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Saul's concubine, mother of Arboni and Mephibosheth. A Hivite sprung from Aiah, son of Zibeon ( Genesis 36:14). Foreigners were generally chosen as inferior wives by Solomon, Rehoboam, etc. Ishbosheth suspected Abner of intercourse, with Rizpah at Mahanaim, which in Eastern ideas was tantamount to aspiring to succeed to Saul's throne ( 2 Samuel 3:7). Her famous act was ( 2 Samuel 21:8-11) her watching against bird and beast of prey the hung up corpses of her two sons and five kinsmen on the sacred hill of Gibeah, with which Saul had been so closely connected ( 1 Samuel 11:4), from the beginning of barley harvest, the sacred Passover season, until the fall of the early rain in October, without tent to screen her from the scorching sun all day and the saturating dews at night, and with only her black widow's sackcloth to rest upon, keeping her from the rocky ground. (See Abner ; Ishbosheth; Gibeonites.) A striking instance of motherly devotion, stronger than death, and clinging at all costs with desperate tenacity even to the lifeless remains of the loved ones ( Song of Solomon 8:6;  Isaiah 49:15).

Easton's Bible Dictionary [2]

 2 Samuel 3:7 21:8,10,11

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 Samuel 3:17-21 ).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

RIZPAH . Daughter of Aiah, concubine of Saul, seized by the ambitious Abner after he had placed Ishbosheth (Ishbaal) on the throne. When accused by the king, Abner, who was the real ruler of Israel, promptly proffered the Northern Kingdom to David (  2 Samuel 3:6 f.). A three years’ famine was divined to be due to the displeasure of Jehovah at the slaughter of the Gibeonites by Saul. When David inquired what expiation he should make, the Gibeonites refused money compensation, but demanded descendants of Saul to expose before Jehovah. The king gave them two of Rizpah’s, and three of Michal’s (Merab’s) sons, who were slain and exposed on Mount Gibeah (  2 Samuel 21:1-14 ). Rizpah spread sackcloth on the rock, a sign that the land repented, and watched the dead till the anger of Jehovah relented and the rain came. Her vigil ended, she was at liberty to perform the rite of burial.

J. H. Stevenson.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [4]

A concubine of Saul, taken after his death by the ambitious Abner. Her two sons were afterwards hung, with five other sons of Saul, to avenge the wrongs he had inflicted on the Gibeonites. With the most devoted maternal affection, Rizpah watched over their remains day and night, apparently from May to October; and David, being informed of her painful watchings, gathered the bones of all the family of Saul and gave them an honorable burial,  2 Samuel 3:7-11;  21:1-14 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Rizpah ( Rĭz'Pah ), A Coal, A Hot Stone For Baking. A concubine of Saul whom Abner was accused for appropriating, as if thereby aiming at the crown.  2 Samuel 3:7. This caused a breach between him and Ishbosheth. Her two sons were delivered to the Gibeonites to be hanged: and the story of her affection as she watched her dead is peculiarly touching.  2 Samuel 21:8-11.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

Concubine of Saul, whose two sons Armoni and Mephibosheth were given up by David to avenge the deeds of Saul against the Gibeonites. They, with the five sons of Michal, or Michal's sister, were hanged up before the Lord. Rizpah protected the bodies from the birds and the beasts day and night, until David had their remains interred.  2 Samuel 3:7;  2 Samuel 21:8-12 .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [7]

Riz'pah. Concubine to King Saul, and mother of his two sons, Armoni and Mephibosheth. (B.C. 1080). The tragic story of the love and endurance, with which she watched over the bodies of her two sons, who were killed by the Gibeonites,  2 Samuel 21:8-11, has made Rizpah, one of the most familiar objects in the whole Bible.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [8]

Daughter of Aiah, Saul's concubine. ( 2 Samuel 21:10) Perhaps the name is taken from Ratzpa heat or fire.

Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

 2 Samuel 3:7 1 Kings 2:22 2 Samuel 20:10-14

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

(Heb. Ritspah', רַצְפָּה , A Live Coal, as in  Isaiah 6:6; Sept. ῾Ρεσφά v.r. ῾Ρεφφάθ ; Josephus, ῾Ραισφά [ Ant. 7, 1, 4]), a concubine of king Saul, and mother of two of his sons, Armoni and Mephibosheth. B.C. cir. 1080. Like many others of the prominent female characters of the Old Test. Ruth, Rahab, Jezebel, etc. - Rizpah would seem to have been a foreigner, a Hivite, descended from one of the ancient worthies of that nation, Ajah or Aiah, son of Zibeon, whose name and fame are preserved in the Ishmaelitish record of Genesis 36. After the death of Saul and the occupation of the country west of the Jordan by the Philistines, Rizpah accompanied the other inmates of the royal family to their new residence at Mahanaim; and it is here that her name is first introduced to us as the subject of an accusation levelled at Abner by Ishbosheth ( 2 Samuel 3:7) - a piece of spite which led first to Abner's death through Joab's treachery, and ultimately to the murder of Ishbosheth himself. The accusation, whether true or false - and from Abner's vehement denial we should naturally conclude that it was false involved more than meets the ear of a modern and English reader; for among the Israelites it was considered "as a step to the throne to have connection with the widow or the mistress of the deceased king" (see Michaelis, Laws of Moses, art. 54). We hear nothing more of Rizpah till the tragic story which has made her one of the most familiar objects to young and old in the whole Bible ( 2 Samuel 21:8-11). Every one can appreciate the love and endurance with which the mother watched over the bodies of her two sons and her five relatives, to save them from an indignity peculiarly painful to the whole of the ancient world (see  Psalms 79:2; Homer, Il. 1, 4, 5, etc.). But it is questionable whether the ordinary conception of the scene is accurate. The seven victims were not, as the A.V. implies, "hung;" they were crucified. The seven crosses were planted in the rock on the top of the sacred hill of Gibeah the hill which, though not Saul's native place, was, through his long residence there, so identified with him as to retain his name to the latest existence of the Jewish nation ( 1 Samuel 11:4, etc.; and see Josephus, War, 5, 2, 1). The whole or part of this hill seems at the time of this occurrence to have been in some special manner dedicated to Jehovah, possibly the spot on which Ahiah the priest had deposited the ark when he took refuge in Gibeah during the Philistine war ( 1 Samuel 14:18). The victims were sacrificed at the beginning of barley harvest - the sacred and festal time of the Passover and in the full blaze of the summer sun they hung till the fall of the periodical rain in October. During the whole of that time Rizpah remained at the foot of the crosses on which the bodies of her sons were exposed the Mater Dolorosa, if the expression may be allowed, of the ancient dispensation. She had no tent to shelter her from the scorching sun which beats on that open spot all day, or from the drenching dews at night, but she spread on the rocky floor the thick mourning garment of black sackcloth which as a widow she wore, and crouching there she watched that neither vulture nor jackal should molest the bodies.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

riz´pa ( רציה , ricpāh , "hot stone"; Josephus, Ῥαισφά , Rhaisphá ): In   2 Samuel 3:7 the subject of a coarse slander. 2 Sam 21 contains the pathetic story of Rizpah's faithful watch over the bodies of her dead sons Mephibosheth and Armoni (  2 Samuel 21:10 ,  2 Samuel 21:11 ). Did this story suggest Tennyson's "Rizpah?" A three years' famine had made David anxious, and in seeking a reason for the affliction he concluded that it lay in Saul's unavenged conduct to the Gibeonites ( 2 Samuel 21:2 ). To appease Yahweh he gave up to the Gibeonites the two sons of Saul, Mephibosheth and Armoni, as well as Saul's 5 grandsons (whether by Michal or Merab; see Merab ). These seven were hanged at Gibeah. Rizpah watched 5 months over their exposed bodies, but meanwhile the famine did not abate. Word was brought to David of Rizpah's act ( 2 Samuel 21:10 ,  2 Samuel 21:11 ), and it is possible that her action suggested to David his next step in expiation. At any rate, he remembered the uncared-for bones of Jonathan and Saul lying in ignominy at Jabesh-gilead, whither they had been carried by stealth after the Philistines had kept them hung in the streets of Beth-shan for some time. The bones were recovered and apparently mingled with the bones Rizpah had guarded, and they were together buried in the family grave at Zelah. We are told that then "God was entreated for the land" ( 2 Samuel 21:14 ).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [12]

Riz´pah (a coal); a concubine of Saul, memorable for the touching example of maternal affection which she afforded, in watching the dead bodies of her sons, and driving the birds away from them, when they had been gibbeted by the Gibeonites (;; ).