Second Samuel 3 – 4

2 Samuel 3

The next two chapters are tales of betrayal by men who were associated with David and which could have gone very badly for David. The death of Abner could have angered Israel and brought the armies of Israel against David and Judah in a great war, but instead God worked things out for the best for David.

David did that which was right and God moved Israel towards joining David. This is a lesson for us that if we are diligent and faithful to be zealous to KEEP the Word of God in all our doings; God will deliver us even if we must suffer for a time like Joseph did.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

We also see David letting his love for Mi-chal [pronounced Me-khal] turn him aside from obeying God; for he knew that God had said that Saul would be cut off and yet he loved Mi-chal, and if she had conceived by him the house of Saul and of David would have been joined in the child. Further the law also forbids taking back a wife who has left and married another.

We can also say that David’s faith and patience were being tested as he was given a taste of kingship over Judah but was not given the full kingship over all Israel which was promised to him.

This speaks to the testing and building of our own faith and patience as we struggle to overcome and to faithfully, fully internalize the whole Word of God to become like God and worthy of our calling.

For two thousand years those who love God enough to keep his Word have been saying “next year, next year; soon, soon.” Our Lord counsels us to patiently maintain our zeal for the whole Word of God.

Because of the Joab / Abner confrontation, there was conflict between Judah and Israel for almost seven years.

2 Samuel 3:1 Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.

David’s wives and sons in Hebron according to 2 Samuel 3

Chart wiki The mother’s name The son’s name
Ahinoam the Yizre’elite His first born was Amnon.
Abigail – the wife of Naval the Karmelite His second was Kil’av.
Maacah – the daughter of Talmay – King of Geshur The third – Absalom[2]
Haggith The fourth – Adoniyya.
Abital The fifth – Shefatya.
Eglah The sixth Yitre’am.

3:2 And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3:3 And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; 3:4 And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 3:5 And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

3:6 And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul.

The son of Saul angers his champion Abner by accusing him of taking his father’s concubine; which accusation causes Abner to turn away from Saul to David.

3:7 And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ishbosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine? 3:8 Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ishbosheth, and said, Am I a [dead dog] dog’s head, which against Judah do shew kindness this day unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, that thou chargest me to day with a fault concerning this woman?

Abner then reveals that he knows that God had given the kingdom to David and swears to deliver the kingdom to David.

3:9 So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the LORD hath sworn to David, even so I do to him; 3:10 To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba.

After the outburst of Abner, the son of Saul feared Abner

3:11 And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.

David then demanded that his wife Mi-chal be restored to him.

3:12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose is the land? saying also, Make thy league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee. 3:13 And he said, Well; I will make a league with thee: but one thing I require of thee, that is, Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal Saul’s daughter, when thou comest to see my face.

Ishbosheth returns David’s wife to him to seal the deal for his abdication and the unifying of the kingdom under David.

3:14 And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth Saul’s son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines. 3:15 And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish.

3:16 And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return. And he returned.

Abner then led Israel to join Judah and David.

3:17 And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you: 3:18 Now then do it: for the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.

Abner then went to David to speak to him about uniting the kingdom

3:19 And Abner also spake in the ears of Benjamin: and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and that seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin.

A pact is made with Abner

3:20 So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men that were with him a feast. 3:21 And Abner said unto David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a league with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thine heart desireth. And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.

Joab hears that David has let Abner go in peace and is outraged because Abner had killed his brother Asahel.

3:22 And, behold, the servants of David and Joab came from pursuing a troop, and brought in a great spoil with them: but Abner was not with David in Hebron; for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace. 3:23 When Joab and all the host that was with him were come, they told Joab, saying, Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he hath sent him away, and he is gone in peace.

Joab then lies, telling David that Abner had come to deceive him.

3:24 Then Joab came to the king, and said, What hast thou done? behold, Abner came unto thee; why is it that thou hast sent him away, and he is quite gone? 3:25 Thou knowest Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know all that thou doest.

Joab then sought Abner to kill him.

3:26 And when Joab was come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, which brought him again from the well of Sirah: but David knew it not. 3:27 And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.

David then cursed Joab for his treachery in that he had lied and had broken the truce to kill Abner.

3:28 And afterward when David heard it, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the LORD for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner: 3:29 Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff [is lame], or that falleth on the sword [commits suicide], or that lacketh bread.

David then held a state funeral for Abner the chief of staff of Saul; for Abner had been a champion of Israel against the Philistines and Amalekites.

3:30 So Joab, and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle. 3:31 And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier. 3:32 And they buried Abner in Hebron: and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept.

David then eulogizes Abner with what can only be described as a condemnation of Joab and Abishai as wicked men.

3:33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth? 3:34 Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him.

They fasted the day of the funeral.

3:35 And when all the people came to cause David to eat meat while it was yet day, David sware, saying, So do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or ought else, till the sun be down.

Israel noticed David’s respect for Abner which did much to win Israel over to David.

3:36 And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people. 3:37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner.

David then reveals that he is powerless to punish Joab and Abishai for this killing, because they were powerful leaders [princes] in the land.

3:38 And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? 3:39 And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard [too strong] for me: the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.


2 Samuel 4

Abner was a very mighty man in Israel and his death caused the king of Israel the son of Saul to fear David greatly, and all Israel was unsettled and disposed to David.

2 Samuel 4:1 And when Saul’s son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled.

Saul was of Benjamin and Jonathan’s son Ish-bosheth, had two friends who were captains in his army who were Benjamites.

4:2 And Saul’s son had two men that were captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, [they were] the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin: (for Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin. 4:3 And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and were sojourners there until this day.)

Now remember the covenant between David and Jonathan that David would hold the sons of Jonathan in high regard.

4:4 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

The Benjamite captains of these two bands of Ish-bosheth, came to him as he was at rest and murdered him.

4:5 And the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, [his sons were] Rechab and Baanah, went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who lay on a bed at noon. 4:6 And they came thither into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat; and they smote him under the fifth rib: and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.

These two Benjamite assassins then took the head of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul a man of Benjamin to David, thinking that they would receive a great reward.

4:7 For when they came into the house, he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the plain all night. 4:8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.

David then pronounces sentence on those two murderers, and buries the head of Ish-bosheth with his captain Abner.

4:9 And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said unto them, As the LORD liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity, 4:10 When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings: 4:11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth? 4:12 And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron.


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