Joab and Abner

Biblical Battles

Christianity Oasis provides you with this David and Abner study on Joab and Abner Biblical Battles. We'll look into that and all aspects of the Bible seeking truth, understanding and then peace.

Daily Bread Devotional Bible Study
The Second Book of Samuel
Chapter 3

David and Abner

Joab and Abner Biblical Battles

Welcome to our Christianity Oasis Daily Bread study program. This is our David and Abner Truce Bible study taking a look into the many Joab and Abner Biblical Battles and how the very interesting relationship between David and Abner and the message therein affects your be-YOU-tiful Christian walk.

David and Abner Lesson
Joab and Abner Biblical Battles and Justice

So happy you're here for another slice! These books of Samuel are action packed, aren't they? Let's recap briefly what happened in our last chapter, shall we? King Saul died so there was no danger in David returning back to his home territory, so God told David to go to Hebron, and the people of Judah pronounced David king of Judah.

Remember David had lived in Ziklag for the past year and four months. Ziklag was the city that Achish, the king of Gath gave to David, which was in the land that the Philistines occupied at that time.

Meanwhile, Ishbosheth, a surviving son of King Saul, took the throne over the remainder of Israel. Then Ishbosheth's general, Abner, challenged David's general, Joab, to a fight ... Twelve of Israel's men against twelve of Judah's men. The results of the challenge turned out to be a tie ... With both sides losing all their men! But, the frenzy of the whole competition caused each side to attach each other in mayhem and David's men were clearly defeating Abner's men.

Then Asahel (Joab's little brother) set his mind to chasing after Abner to kill him, but it ended up the other way around ... Asahel was killed. So Joab and his other brother Abishai, continued chasing after Abner to kill him, but Abner convinced Joab (or so it seems) to end the challenge that turned awry, and they backed off.

David and Abner Study
Joab and Abner Biblical Battles Event

And that's where our story picks up today ...

This was the beginning of a long and destructive war between the followers of Saul and the followers of David. But David only grew stronger and stronger, and Saul's people grew weaker and weaker. During the time that David lived in Hebron, he had six sons, by six different wives (from oldest to youngest) they were:

  • Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam
  • Chileab, whose mother was Abigail
  • Absalom, whose mother was Maacah
  • Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith
  • Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital
  • Ithream, whose mother was Eglah

David and Abner Research
Joab and Abner Biblical Battles and Murder

As the war went on between the people of Saul and the people of David, Abner, became a leader for the people of Saul. Don't forget, Abner had been Saul's general from the beginning. After serving forty years, no doubt he was well versed not only in warfare, but in every aspect of the government of Saul.

Then Saul's son, who, by the way isn't anointed by the Lord, takes the throne ... So who do you think is really in control of things concerning the kingdom, despite who has the title of king? The people are all well acquainted with Abner as well. They know and trust him.

It came to pass one day, that Ishbosheth accused Abner of sleeping with Saul's concubine, Rizpah. This enraged Abner and knowing the power he held with all of Israel, he said to Ishbosheth, "I protect the interests of Saul's kingdom faithfully and you treat me like a dog?

David and Abner Truth
Joab and Abner Biblical Battles and Hatred

I haven't handed you over to David, yet you accuse me falsely about a woman? Let God punish me if now I don't help David get the kingdom the Lord has promised him and set up his throne from one end of Israel to the other. Ishbosheth was lost for words now, because he was afraid of Abner.

So Abner sent messengers to David saying, "Let's make an agreement and I'll help to bring all of Israel to you." David responded, "I'll make an agreement with you, but to prove your sincerity, bring me my wife, Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come and see me." Then David sent a message to Ishbosheth also, saying, "Send me my wife, Michal, my reward for killing 100 Philistines."

Remember that story in 1 Samuel 18:20-37?

So Ishbosheth sent and took Michal away from her husband Phaltiel, who followed behind her crying the whole way to Bahurium. Then Abner told him to go back home, so he left.

Abner contacted the elders of Israel, and apparently at some time during the reign of Ishbosheth, they wanted to turn their allegiance to David, but Abner had dissuaded them, but now he told them to go ahead and forsake Ishbosheth and turn their hearts to David since they knew that the Lord had anointed David to be king. Abner also specifically addressed the tribe of Benjamin, who, as we discussed before, were quite possibly Ishbosheth's guards and VIPs. He then presented himself to David, accompanied by twenty of his men, with the report that all of Israel, including the whole tribe of Benjamin were ready to be David's subjects.

David and Abner Discussion
Joab and Abner Biblical Battles Warning

As you might imagine, this pleased David well and he threw a big party for them. Then Abner told David that he'd go and rally all of Israel together to make him their king. With that, David sent Abner away in peace.

Just after Abner had left, David's men and Joab returned from a raid, and brought a great deal of things with them from the places they invaded. When Joab was told that Abner was just there and left, he was astonished and he approached the king and asked, "What have you done? Why did you let Abner go when you knew he came to deceive you, spy on you, and discover all your upcoming plans?"

Joab left David and sent messengers after Abner without David's knowledge. They caught up with him and when they brought Abner back to Hebron, Joab took him aside and to avoid suspicion, he spoke cordially to Abner, then struck him with his sword under his fifth rib, killing him, exactly as Abner had killed his brother Asahel.

Now, remember, we talked a little about Joab's brother Abishai's character a couple of times so far. Abishai was a predictable sort, but didn't really take matters into his own hands the way his brother Joab did. One would probably conclude that Joab was acting on two very strong emotions ... Jealousy, that Abner would attain a higher ranking in David's kingdom, and anger, that Abner had killed his little brother Asahel.

David and Abner Lesson
Joab and Abner Biblical Battles Danger

Joab, being quite a bit of a hothead, must have been absolutely simmering with emotion at the news of Abner's acceptance ... Why, they even threw him a party! Joab just couldn't handle it, that Abner may possibly receive a greater state of dignity than himself, and he snapped.

Many may believe that Joab was justified in killing Abner, because Abner instigated the whole melee that sparked Asahel's anger and caused him to chase after Abner. If it was anyone else besides his brother, would Joab have reacted so?

Certainly Joab, being a fairly seasoned army general was accustomed to losing soldiers, it's an unfortunate occupational hazard that cannot be avoided in the business of war. But when emotions are involved, it's hard to be objective ...

Anyone who has ever been in such situations can relate, but only the Lord can judge. Can anyone ever go wrong taking the forgiveness route? How did David feel about it? When David found out that Abner was killed, it grieved his soul and he said:

David and Abner Fears
Joab and Abner Biblical Battles Tears

2 Samuel 3:28-29

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:
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, or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread.

David ordered Joab and everyone that was with him to mourn for and honor Abner with the traditional customs of rending their clothes and wearing sackcloth, and king David himself followed behind the coffin. They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king and all the people wept. And the king spoke about Abner's death:

2 Samuel 3:33-34

33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth?
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.

And all the people wept again.

David and Abner Conclusion
Joab and Abner Biblical Battles Summary

The death of Abner affected David so deeply that when people urged David to eat something, he wouldn't because he swore that he wouldn't eat anything until sunset. The people took note and were pleased with this; anything the king did pleased the people. The people and all of Israel understood that day that David was not responsible for Abner's death in any way.

David said to his servants, "Don't you realize that a great leader and good man has died today in Israel? Though I am an anointed king, I am weak today. These sons of Zeruiah are too much for me. The Lord won't let them get away with it.

I can't wait to see you back here tomorrow for more Daily Bread!

There is a force out there that is attempting to overtake us all; it is Satan. There is another force that is protecting us from him; it is the Holy Spirit. It is a battle for souls. This battle is called Spiritual Warfare, and like it or not, you are right in the middle of it.

How to Prepare for Spiritual Warfare