II Samuel Chapter 2

"The Kingdom Divided."
"Accessions by Followers [1-11]."
"Military Conflict with in Israel [12-32]."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org

II Samuel 2:1 "And it came to pass after this, that David enquired 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."

David had made a change in his life, and unlike before when Saul was chasing him, David now is enquiring of the Lord God the direction that he should take. Saul was dead, and the only one that had been anointed by Samuel the prophet to be the next king was David. Though David and Jonathan and all the people of David's family, as well as David's friends knew of the anointing by Samuel, but the rest of the People did not know this. So we will see how God is going to prepare the way for David to assume the throne over Israel.

When David asked God where he should go, God told him to go to Hebron. Hebron was the place where David ruled for the first seven years of his kingship. It was after this seven years that David would move against Jabez, and throw the heathen out of Jabez and change the name to Jerusalem. We will read of these events later in this book of Second Samuel. We saw in First Samuel the kingship of Saul, and Second Samuel gives us the kingship of David.

II Samuel 2:2 "So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal's wife the Carmelite."

II Samuel 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."

David is now leaving the land of the Philistines and his home town of Ziklag, the place where David and his men found refuge from Saul wrath, and returning to Hebron. David, his men and their families from this time forward will be living amongst their own people.

II Samuel 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 Jabesh-gilead were they that buried Saul." "

Keep in mind that David's reign at first was not over all of Israel, but only the tribe of Judah. There had been confusion in David's mind as to where Saul and Jonathan were buried, and to the respect that Saul's remains had received as the one anointed of God. However the actions and respect of the men of Jabsh-gilead were all revealed to David.

II Samuel 2:5 "And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said unto them, "Blessed be ye of the Lord, that ye have shewed this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him."

As long as David was on the throne, David never forget the act of kindness that these men and that community had shown Saul and his friend Jonathan. We should always show respect to those that God has touched, and that help us.

II Samuel 2:6 "And now the Lord shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing."

David is making a covenant with these people because of their actions.

II Samuel 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."

In stating that the house [tribe or nation] of Judah has anointed David as their king, would give added strength to the covenant that David was giving to the men of Jabesh-gilead. Everyone knew that David was a man of his word, and they knew that they could count on David's help in a time of need. Good character and a good reputation does have a value to it, for in times of need, for both sides can rely on what is being said.

II Samuel 2:8 "But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim;"

When Abner the captain over Saul's army saw what the men of Judah had done with David, he acted fast. Abner would be the first cousin to Saul, and he took Saul's son Ish-bosheth and brought him to Mahanaim immediately. Now with Saul dead, Abner would be the head of the army and the authority of the land. Abner, not God chose Saul's son to rule over the tribes. In the Hebrew tongue, Ish-bosheth correctly translated means "a man of shame". This was the young man that Abner was going to force on the people to be their new king.

II Samuel 2:9 "And made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel."

There is a split here in the whole house of Israel, for they had paired off into two separate nations, the house of Israel, and the house of Judah. This then was a forerunner to the split that will come a century later, after the death of king Solomon, David's Son. We will see in a few verses that these two houses or nations will be joined under David, but the joining will be for a period of less than a century, and then another split will come. That second split will not be joined until after the seventh trump has ended this flesh age. They will not be joined until Christ returns to set up his Millennium kingdom here on earth. That time will be after Ezekiel 37 comes to pass and the life has come back into the bones of both houses Israel and Judah.

II Samuel 2:10 "Ish-bosheth Saul's son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David."

II Samuel 2:11 "And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.."

It took five and a half years from the starting time of David's reign to when Abner joined the tribes in support of Ish-bosheth. Though Ish-bosheth was king over the other tribes, we will see that the two houses are not joined until David moves the capital city from Hebron to Jerusalem.

II Samuel 2:12 "And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mananaim to Gibeon."

It is now time for the leaders of both kingships to meet and determine where both kingdoms will head. The gathering of the heads of state, of the house of Israel and the house of Judah, to determine their king.

II Samuel 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."

Joab was the son of David's sister Zeruiah. Note that these children of royality are listed as David's sister's son, and there is no mention of their father. There is no information as to the father of Joab.

II Samuel 2:14 "And Abner said to Joab, "Let the young men now arise, and play before us." And Joab said, "Let them arise."

There was a meeting called and each kingdom has sent their top men to negotiate. The young men mentioned here that came with Abner and Joab are common soldiers. Abner and Joab are blood relatives, only each was representing different sides and different kingdoms as their Generals. Abner was representing the house of Israel with it's king Ish-bsheth, and Joab was sent by the house of Judah and David.

What happened here is very sad, however it goes on all the time between people that say they follow God. They come together for things relating to peaceful things, and innocent matters get out of control. What Abner suggested was allowing the soldiers to pair off and pretend to play war, as a matter of entertainment.

II Samuel 2:15 "Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which pertained to Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David."

Remember that Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin, and these men were men of war from Saul's army. These young men of Benjamin represented Saul and the house of Israel, while the other twelve young soldiers of David's army stepped forward to take the side of the house of Judah and David.

II Samuel 2:16 "And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in this fellow's side; so they fell down together: wherefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon."

This matter of entertainment that started out as horse play and fun, playing the role of war took on something with a very different meaning. It cost the lives of many men.

II Samuel 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."

The play acting turned into a war, and Joab's men killed many of Abner's men. Truly David's men came out on top in the battle.

II Samuel 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."

We now see the other two sons of Zeruiah, the sister of David, beside Joab. Asahel was a young man, fast and as quick as a wild deer. Remember that these three are David's nephews that he loves.

II Samuel 2:19 "And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner."

At the close of the fighting, Abner was trying to get away, only Asahel would not let him go. He stuck right with Abner, and followed right behind him where ever he went.

II Samuel 2:20 "Then Abner looked behind him, and said, "Art thou Asahel?" And he answered, "I am." "

Abner was an old experienced man of war, and chasing right behind him was this boy that was trying to prove something. Abner knew who Asahel was, that he was the nephew of David and he did not want to harm the boy, but Asahel kept right after Abner.

II Samuel 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 him."

Abner told the young Asahel to go after a young warrior, and take a spoil from him, but go away. Asahel was well warned that to continue after Abner would end in his death, yet Asahel was fixed on fighting with Abner. Asahel had tasted of blood with the other young warriors, and he was fixed on taking the life of Abner. Why would this be?

Anytime you have sport, war of competition pride takes hold and sets the standards of control. When blood is added to this dimension, than it turns really serious. From it comes other feelings, such as revenge, hate, and many more bad feeling. What ever was driving Asahel, it was well out of control. Remember that Abner started the whole thing at the pool side meeting with Joab. They were all brethren to each other and not enemies. They fought on the same side in battles, and now that the kingdom was split, these brethren became opposing forces to each other. Pride was what brought Satan down in the beginning, in the first earth age as recorded in Ezekiel 28.

II Samuel 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?"

Abner did not want to kill this young fellow, for he was the Nephew to David. Abner knew the trouble that it would cause if he caused David's nephew to be killed.

II Samuel 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."

When Asahel did not turn away from his pursuit of Abner, Abner turned and hit Asahel with the back side of his spear and drove it all the way through him, and pinned him to the ground. This location where Asahel fell became a monument to Asahel, and people came there to mourn his death for he was a young fellow that everyone liked. Now Abner had the blood of one of the royal family on his hands, and both sides will hold it against him. Again it shows us what pride in competition will do to a good man.

II Samuel 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."

Of course when Joab and Abishai heard what Abner did to their little brother, they went in hot pursuit of Abner.

II Samuel 2:25 "And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill."

When the men of the tribe of Benjamin heard what had happened, they were willing to stand behind their leader, and they went to the hill top and prepared for battle.

II Samuel 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?"

When they finally met on the show-down, Abner asked Joab, "How far are we going to take this conflict?" Even Abner knew that it had gone far beyond the point where God would be involved, and the trouble was between two men over the killing of their little brother. Abner was making sense over the problem, for when it all started it was a play, like the acting out of a war, only the play went to far, and the actors started killing one another. When Abner's men were killed, he departed from the meeting, only this kid followed him on the road home and tried to continue the killing. Abner was pointing out here that this had nothing to do with the fighting of Philistines, but avenging the blood of their kin folk. He was asking, How many other brethren must die over your vengeance?

II Samuel 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."

Joab had come to his senses from what Abner had just spoken, and he realized that it could have ended in everyone losing their lives or being wounded. So where does the guilt lie in all this confusion? Even though Abner started the whole thing by suggesting to act out a war, when it was all over, Abner twice warned the young man to stop his persistence and go home. If Abner had not killed Asahel, Asahel would surely have killed Abner. Remember that Asahel was fast, the fleet of foot, and very cunning. Abner was well trained in defending himself, yet an old man, while the attack on Abner was to his back. However in our Lord's eyes that was just not right to place a brethren in a situation of kill or being killed.

This is a sample of things that are allow to get out of control, and before long both sides forget how it started, and focus on nonsense. It happens in churches, to where an argument starts and before long it blows so far out of control that the church splits over it, and God is left completely out. So as believers in the Word of God, that fight with each other and find causes against each other, your church also will end up just as these brethren have. Both sides tossing words from hilltop to hilltop, and working themselves up, getting ready to go to battle. This was how denominationalism expanded, however today Christians would rather be like a bunch of chickens that stand by and peck the weaker one to spiritual death.

Friend, when we claim the name of Christ, we are to show the love of Christ to the non-believing world that there is a difference between us and them. We are to show kindness to those that are weaker and show the same forgiveness that Christ had, and showed to us when went to the cross of our sins. That is the beauty of Christianity This is why there should be no horse play between Christians when it comes to the Word of God. When brother fights brother you are going against every aspect of God's Word.

II Samuel 2:28 "So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more."

When Joab finished with his message, Joab listen to every word, and it made sense. What started out as entertainment and a training mission, ended up in war between brethren. Joab blew the trumpet to call the people together and they listened to Joab, and the pursuit ended that moment. They sat in silence listened to Joab, then departed for their homes. Joab saw exactly the cause of his brother's death, Asahel's death was caused by his hot temper, and Joab did not want others to pay with their lives for Asahel actions.

II Samuel 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 Mahaniam."

II Samuel 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."

From these actions of foolishness caused by both sides, David's men lost twenty men, and there were three hundred and sixty of Abner's men that died. All because of foolishness, and allowing pride to take control.

II Samuel 2:31 "But the servants of David had smittten of Benjamin, and of Abner's men, so that three hundred and threescore men died."

Stop and put it another way, there were three hundred and eighty souls of Israel, all tribes that lost their lives needlessly because there was a lack of common sense. Stop and think for a moment for there was not one thing that was gained by all this competition and strife. It brought pain and sorrow into many homes, and the lose of loved ones on all sides.

II Samuel 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 came to Hebron at break of day.

Once an agreement had been reached, and the strife ended, both sides had traveled all night just to put distance between themselves and the other side. What happened here is another side that is there within all of mankind, and it exists even within the churches today. I guess the lesson that we can take from this chapter is to take care of the things you say and not allow our pride to over run what God's Word instructs us to do. Jesus set the example for us, and if we are not careful, pride and boastful thinking can grow out of control. If you allow your pride in your belief to take control of your thinking, don't take it out on your brethren when they don't hold up to your knowledge and belief that you do.

Remember that what ever knowledge you have in His Word, is there because God's Spirit has placed it there in your mind. It is God that gets all the credit, not you, and you should be praising Him for what ever light is turned on in your mind.


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