II Samuel Chapter 2
Memory verses for this week: Psa 28:7 The
LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am
helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will
I praise him.
Overview of II Samuel 2: The second chapter of II Samuel begins the
transition of David becoming king of Israel. He first is received
back as king over the tribe of Judah. Meanwhile, Abner makes
Ishbosheth king over the other eleven tribes of Israel which in turn
provokes a civil war. In chapter 2, we find details about Abner
killing Davidís nephew Asahel.
I. David Received as King by Judah in Hebron
2 Sam 2:1 And it came to pass after this,
that David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of
the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David
said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron.
2 Sam 2:2 So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam
the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal's wife the Carmelite.
2 Sam 2:3 And his men that were with him did David bring up, every
man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.
The chapter opens with David still staying at Ziklag in Philistia.
However, he clearly had an inclination to return home. He therefore
inquires of the Lord once again for direction and guidance. To
Davidís credit, when faced with a major decision in life, he sought
leading in the matter. We as Christians should take note of this and
follow Davidís example in any kind of decision we have to make. In
both small and large matters, we should be in prayer asking God to
guide us with our decisions.
1 Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly,
comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all
1 Th 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever
follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
1 Th 5:16 Rejoice evermore.
1 Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
1 Th 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus concerning you.
David seeks Godís guidance, and this inquiry likely was through the
Urim and Thummim available to him through the agency of Abiathar the
priest who was with him. God revealed His will to David and directed
him to return to Hebron in the tribe of Judah. David goes back and
takes his band of men along with their families to the vicinity of
I Chronicles 12:1-40 indicates that after the matter of Ziklag and
Davidís return to Judah that many men of other tribes of Israel
flocked to him. They therefore lived in the region near Hebron.
1 Chr 12:1 Now these are they that came to
David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the
son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war.
1 Chr 12:2 They were armed with bows, and could use both the right
hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a
bow, even of Saul's brethren of Benjamin.
2 Sam 2:4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David
king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the
men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul.
David is anointed king over the house of Judah. He begins to finally
realize the anointing which Samuel had bestowed upon him about ten
years earlier. David is now king of at least his home tribe of
Judah. David was once again anointed as king.
In Psalm 92, David would later write of being anointed with fresh
oil. Anointing with oil was the custom ordained by God for Israel to
coronate a king into office.
Psa 92:8 But thou, LORD, art most high for
Psa 92:9 For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies
shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
Psa 92:10 But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn:
I shall be anointed with fresh oil.
Jesus first presented Himself to the tribe of Judah, Thus, like
David His kingdom is set up by degrees. He is Lord of all by divine
designation but we see not yet all things put under His feet, and
will not until His second coming.
It is of further significance that the terms ĎMessiahí and ĎChristí
both literally mean Ďthe Anointed One.í The greater significance is
how that Jesus Christ is King.
David was told by the men of Judah that the men of Jabesh-gilead
were they that buried Saul.
II. Davidís Message to the Men of Jabesh-gilead
2 Sam 2:5 And David sent messengers unto
the men of Jabeshgilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the
LORD, that ye have showed this kindness unto your lord, even unto
Saul, and have buried him.
2 Sam 2:6 And now the LORD show kindness and truth unto you: and I
also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this
2 Sam 2:7 Therefore now let your hands be strengthened, and be ye
valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah
have anointed me king over them.
Once again, David showed respect to his fallen nemesis. He sent
praise and honor to the men of Jabesh-gilead for their heroic
kindness in giving Saul an honorable burial. David further invoked
Godís blessing and kindness to them for their loyalty to their king
thus encouraging them. As a matter of fact and perhaps of political
diplomacy, David informed them that the house of Judah had anointed
him king over them. He knew that God had chosen him to be king over
all of Israel and was already wisely laying the political groundwork
toward that end.
Matthew Henry made these comments about verses 1-7.
After the death of Saul, many went to David at Ziklag, 1 Chronicles
12:22, but he trusted in God who promised him the kingdom, to give
it in his own time and manner. Yet assurance of hope in God's
promise, will quicken pious endeavours. If I be chosen to the crown
of life, it does not follow, Then I will do nothing; but, Then I
will do all that God directs me. This good use David made of his
election, and so will all whom God has chosen. In all our journeys
and removes, it is comfortable to see God going before us; and we
may do so, if by faith and prayer we set Him before us. God,
according to the promise, directed David's path. David rose
gradually: thus the kingdom of the Messiah, the Son of David, is set
up by degrees; he is Lord of all, but we see not yet all things put
III. Abner Makes Ishboseth king over 11 Tribes
2 Sam 2:8 But Abner the son of Ner, captain
of Saul's host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him
over to Mahanaim;
2 Sam 2:9 And made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and
over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all
2 Sam 2:10 Ishbosheth Saul's son was forty years old when he began
to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah
2 Sam 2:11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house
of Judah was seven years and six months
Abner had been Saulís chief general. He thus took Saulís son to
Mahanaim which is east of the Jordan River in Gilead and there made
him king. Ishbosheth was the only surviving son of Saul after the
battle of Mount Gilboa. It would appear that Abner had to convince
the various tribes of Israel, one by one, of their next king
beginning with the tribe of Asher. Then, the region of Jezreel came
on board followed by the tribe of Ephraim, Benjamin, and then the
remaining tribes except Judah.
The inspired chronicler of this book provided further historical
details about both Ishbosheth and David. ďIshbosheth Saulís son was
forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two
years. But the house of Judah followed David.Ē Saulís son,
Ishbosheth, reigned only two years before being murdered by Rechab
and Baanah as recorded in chapter 4. Meanwhile, the time that David
was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six
months. It would therefore appear that the eleven other tribes of
Israel were without a king for about five-and-one-half years until
David became king over the entire nation.
IV. The Second Civil War
2 Sam 2:12 And Abner the son of Ner, and
the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim
2 Sam 2:13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David,
went out, and met together by the pool of Gibeon: and they sat down,
the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side
of the pool.
2 Sam 2:14 And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and
play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise.
2 Sam 2:15 Then there arose and went over by number twelve of
Benjamin, which pertained to Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve
of the servants of David.
2 Sam 2:16 And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and
thrust his sword in his fellow's side; so they fell down together:
wherefore that place was called Helkathhazzurim, which is in Gibeon.
2 Sam 2:17 And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was
beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.
Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of
Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. And Joab the son of Zeruiah,
and the servants of David, went out, and met together by the pool of
Gibeon: and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and
the other on the other side of the pool. Abner clearly remained as
Ishboshethís chief general. He thus led forces from Mahanaim in
Gilead over to Gibeon. Gibeon was a city in Benjamin which had been
the home area of Saul. At Gibeon was a larger cistern carved deeply
into the ground to collect rain water for both domestic as well as
military purposes. The Word of Abnerís forces being in the territory
near to Judah evidently prompted Joab to bring forces loyal to David
to confront him.
Joab is noted as the son of Zeruiah, Davidís sister. He thus was
Davidís nephew. David had apparently appointed him to be his chief
general over his forces. Though Abner led collective forces from
Benjamin, Judah was a powerful tribe. Moreover, many from the other
tribes had begun to gather themselves to David when he came to power
at Hebron, (See I Chronicles 12).
Front elements of each army therefore positioned themselves on their
respective sides of the pool at Gibeon and eyed each other. The fact
that they sat down would seem to indicate that they thus paused to
size up each other. It would appear that David had issued orders to
not attack, but stand defensively lest Abnerís forces should invade
Judah. However, Abner rather challenged Joab. Abnerís idea was to
let young soldiers from each side duel like gladiators before them.
) Twelve young athletic soldiers of Benjamin came out to fight
against the twelve counterparts from the forces of David. Davidís
men had been men of war for some years by now. They were practiced
in the art of hand-to-hand combat. Verse 16 points out that when the
men of Benjamin came out against them, Davidís men caught every one
his opponent by the head, and thrust his sword in his opponentís
side; so they fell down together: wherefore that place was called
Helkathhazzurim, which is in Gibeon.
Davidís men had a proven tactic for overcoming their adversaries.
They quickly dispatched them.
The word Helkathhazzurim literally means Ďfield of swords.í
Evidently, that victorious skirmish won by Davidís men sparked a
greater battle. In the ensuing battle, the forces of David
overwhelmed those of Abner and Ishbosheth.
2 Sam 2:18 And there were three sons of
Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as
light of foot as a wild roe.
2 Sam 2:19 And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned
not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner.
2 Sam 2:20 Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Art thou Asahel?
And he answered, I am.
2 Sam 2:21 And Abner said to him, Turn thee aside to thy right hand
or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take
thee his armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from following of
2 Sam 2:22 And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from
following me: wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? how then
should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother?
2 Sam 2:23 Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with
the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the
spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the
same place: and it came to pass, that as many as came to the place
where Asahel fell down and died stood still.
2 Sam 2:24 Joab also and Abishai pursued after Abner: and the sun
went down when they were come to the hill of Ammah, that lieth
before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.
Verse 18 turns to a personal struggle waged in the greater battle.
Record is made how that there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab,
and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild
roe. David had three nephews involved in the battle. Joab was
commander, but his younger brothers were there as well. The
youngest, Asahel, was fleet of foot. The reference to a wild roe is
an allusion to a gazelle or deer. Young Asahel could run like a
As the battle became a rout and Abner and his men were forced to
flee, young Asahel pursed after the much older Abner. There was no
question as to whom his target was. He pursued directly behind Abner.
Abner recognized Asahel as Joabís younger brother. He therefore, as
they both ran, advised young Asahel to fight a man of his own age
and experience. Asahel refused, continuing to close in on Abner. To
which Abner warned him to back off or he would kill him.
Furthermore, Abner did not look forward to facing Joab if he had to
kill his brother. Though Asahel was young and swift, Abner was the
old warrior who, though not swift of foot, knew how to defend
himself. Young Asahel would not heed Abnerís warning. Therefore, as
he closed in upon Abner, the old warrior rammed the back end of his
spear into Asahelís ribs mortally wounding him. It is more than
likely his spear had a spike on each end for just such
circumstances. Abner thus ran his spear through Asahel who fell down
and died on the spot. After this, Joab and Abishai pursued after
Abner. Perhaps seeing their brother fall, or at least hearing about
it, Joab and Abishai pursued after Abnerand the sun went down when
they were come to the hill of Ammah, that lieth before Giah by the
way of the wilderness of Gibeon. By then dusk had fallen.
2 Sam 2:25 And the children of Benjamin
gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and
stood on the top of an hill.
2 Sam 2:26 Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword
devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the
latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people
return from following their brethren?
2 Sam 2:27 And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken,
surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from
following his brother.
2 Sam 2:28 So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still,
and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more.
2 Sam 2:29 And Abner and his men walked all that night through the
plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and
they came to Mahanaim.
2 Sam 2:30 And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had
gathered all the people together, there lacked of David's servants
nineteen men and Asahel.
2 Sam 2:31 But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of
Abner's men, so that three hundred and threescore men died.
2 Sam 2:32 And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre
of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all
night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
Abner requested a Ďcease-fireí in verse 26. In realizing they were
defeated, and perhaps being sick of shedding the blood of other
Israelites, Abner requests that the fighting end. Inasmuch as it was
Abner who had provoked the battle by his threatening troop movements
and now was willing to call off the battle, Joab agreed. The blowing
of a trumpet (shofar) was a recognized military signal.
At the sound of the trumpet, Joabís men ceased their pursuit.
Abnerís men walked home all night back to Mahanaim, east of the
Jordan River. Joab returned back to Hebron that night as well. The
forces of David lost a total of twenty men including Asahel, Joabís
brother. However, Abnerís forces (which were primarily from the
tribe of Benjamin) lost 360 men. Clearly, Davidís forces were the
Verse 32 details that they took up Asahel, and buried him in the
sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem. Joab and his men
went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day. Thus ended
the battle of the pool of Gibeon. A lingering civil war between
David and the house of Saul would continue for some time. However,
in this initial battle, the eventual outcome was clearly predicted.
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