2 Sam 3:1-25 — Abner Joins King David
2 Sam 3:26-39 — Joab Kills Abner and King David Mourns
2 Sam 4 — Ish-bosheth is Murdered
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One Reply to “Mar 14 — 2 Samuel 3-4”
These two chapters are filled with dramatic events that conclude some stories from previous chapters, some lead to stories we’ll read in the coming days and others are mentioned in Chronicles (not on our reading list). We could create an entire screenplay by developing the characters portrayed here…here’s a brief summary (other than David):
1. Six sons of David from six different mothers (make a mental note on Amnon and Absalom referred to later in 2 Sam, Adonijah in 1 Kings)
2. Rizpah, concubine of Saul, sleeps with Abner, creates tension between Abner and Ish-Bosheth
3. Ish-Bosheth. Saul’s son, appointed King with Abner’s powerful support. Calls out Abner for sleeping with Rizpah and makes Abner “very angry” (2 Sam 3:8), thus Abner’s support. Murdered by Rekab and Baanah (2 Sam 4:6)
4. Abner, commander of Saul’s Army, angry over Ish-Bosheth’s accusation decides to support David and fulfill the Lord’s promise, “Now do it! For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people…'” (2 Sam 3:18). Abner meets with David and lets him know the elders and tribes are in agreement, David will be king. Murdered by Joab to avenge his brother’s death (Abner killed Asahel in the Battle of Gibeon, 2 Sam 2:23).
5. Joab, one of David’s captains, mighty warrior (and idiot). Joab and Abner were the leaders that started the civil war by having the 12-on-12 fight to the death in the previous chapters, thus ignited the civil war. He murders Abner to avenge his brother’s death (noted above). David curses Joab for his acts (2 Sam 3:28-29), but keeps Joab on his staff…he must be an amazing warrior. We’ll read a lot about Joab in David’s life.
6. Rekab and his brother Baanah. Pair of warriors, murder Ish-Bosheth, boasted to David, put to death for their insolent behavior and murder of Saul’s son (2 Sam 4:12)
7. Michal and her weeping husband Paltiel. Saul gave Michal to Paltiel years ago to spite David, now David wants her back. Paltiel’s tears didn’t affect Abner in the least, “Abner said to him, ‘Go back home!’ So he went back” (2 Sam 3:14-16).
8. Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son. Introduced here, we’ll read more on him later.
Interesting side note: 1 Chronicles 10-11 provides a much less detailed account of this history, no mention of Ish-Bosheth. That doesn’t discount the story, just implores us to be aware of the incredible way God has assembled the Bible with different perspectives and ways of recounting events.
With all this interaction going on, what is the insight for this morning? It’s difficult to pick one, but here goes. In the wake of Abner’s murder, “David said to Joab and all the people with him…walk in mourning…” (2 Sam 3:31). David clearly admonishes Joab, yet keeps him on in his position as a commander, ultimately the commander. David gains favor in the eyes of the people through his actions and continues to grow in power as a result. Through it all, David doesn’t appear to be selfishly looking for favor. It seems his actions here are consistent with a wise man in authority at a barbaric time in history. Abner was “very angry” and Joab avenges his brother, murder and weeping are going on all around him, but David is steady, level-headed, consistent. May we learn from this strength during difficult times.