In 2 Shmuel, perek 21, a famine strikes Israel and God says it is punishment for Saul's maltreatment of the Gibeonites. David attempts to appease them, but the Gibeonites demand he hand over members of Sauls family to be executed. So he does.

Normally we don't hand over fellow Jews to be executed, particularly to a subject people but the Radak says it was a decree from God and the victims were chosen by urim vethumin.

We know from the halacha of the zealot that the halacha changes when you ask a question.

Was the U.T's response

A) kill these 7 B) now that you are considered killing 7, I recommend these people ?

Could David at any point of the interaction refused to kill anyone without disobeying God?

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    I see three different questions in the title and in the last two lines of the body. Could you please edit so that there's one clear question, represented by both the title and the body? Also, this question would be more valuable if you'd add in a citation for the particular comment of the Radak that you cite and a citation to support the statement "We know from the halach of the zealot ..." – Isaac Moses Sep 26 '16 at 13:23
  • We know from the halacha of the zealot that the halacha changes when you ask a question. That is a bit misleading. More simply, the it is halakha v'ein morin ken whehther or not one asks a question it is something that he may / should do, but that others should instruct him to not do. – mevaqesh Sep 26 '16 at 13:50

Your title about a "bad question filter" can be answered from the case of Pilegesh B'Givah. The Bnai Yisrael asked who should attack first, but they did not ask if they should attack or if they would win.

Shoftim 20:18

18 And they arose and went up to Beth-el, and asked of God, whereupon the children of Israel said, "Who shall go up for us first to battle against the children of Benjamin?" And the Lord said, "Judah first."

The results were not good and they lost. However, after they asked again and Hashem said yes, then they won. The meforshim say that both sides in that dispute were wrong and were punished. had they asked the proper question, then they could have avoided the battle and near destruction of the tribe of Binyamin.

This answers the question in your title. However, in the case of King David, the response from Hashem was that the Giv'onim must be appeased for the famine to be lifted. As a result, they demanded that the seven descendants of Shaul be killed. King David did not have much room to maneuver. He was able to save Mephiboshes, but he had to turn over the seven to the Giv'onim.

II Shmuel 21:1

1 And there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the Lord. And the Lord said: "(It is) for Saul, and (also) for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites."

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  • So did David just ask the wrong question? Should he have asked "shall I hand over" and not "who shall I hand over" – Clint Eastwood Sep 26 '16 at 16:44
  • In that particular case, Hashem said to appease the Givo'onim. They demanded that the seven be handed over to them to kill. Apparently, once Hashem told him to appease them, he could only give them people that they would accept. – sabbahillel Sep 26 '16 at 16:48
  • God said to appease before the Gibbs chose to say they wanted the 7. Perhaps their unreasonable demand voided the command to appease. – Clint Eastwood Sep 26 '16 at 17:41
  • @ClintEastwood If that had been the case then a navi would have come and told King David. There is no further reference to Hashem in the story. – sabbahillel Sep 26 '16 at 17:43

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