II Samuel Chapter 3

"The War Between the Two Houses [1-5]."
"House (nation) of Saul [6-11]."
"House of David [12-39]."

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

Note here that the houses are split into the house of Saul, over all the tribes except for Judah, and the house of David ruled over only the tribe of Judah. These were two separate nations, under two separate kingships. So in this chapter the move will be to bring all the tribes back together again. However historically, we know that these two houses will at a later date, after the death of Solomon, be divided again and stay divided until Jesus Christ returns at the seventh trump to set up his earthly kingdom and draw all tribes together under His Kingship.

II 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."

During the time of this split, the house of David was stronger than the house of Saul, that Ish-bosheth rule over. We know that David had the anointing of God to be the king over all Israel, and God is allowing the house of Saul to grow weaker to the point that it will be taken over by the house of David.

II Samuel 3:2 "And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his first born was Ammon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;"

II Samuel 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;"

During the seven and one half year period of the split of Israel, David fathered many sons from many different wives.

II Samuel 3:4 "And the fourth, Adonihah the son of Haggith, and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;"

II Samuel 3:5 "And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron."

All six of these births took place before Jerusalem was conquered, and the two houses came together.

II Samuel 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."

Remember from the prior chapter that Abner was a spokesman for the house of Saul, and when he tried to simulate a war amongst the youth, it turned nasty and some three hundred and eighty men died when things got out of hand. The chapter ended with Abner, and Joab facing off from two hilltops, and deciding to ride all night in the opposite directions. What is happening here was seven years after that face off, Abner made himself politically strong within the royal house of Saul. Abner holds more power than does the king, the son of Saul. Abner was a thinking man and sought what was good for the people, for he was a great general.

II Samuel 3:7 "And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, "Wherefore hast thou hone in unto my father's concubine?"

Saul has been dead now for many years, and Rizpah had not remarried. When Abner took Rizpah and had a child by her, king Ishbosheth tried to insult Abner for even showing an interest in the Rizpah. Remember that Rizpah was of a royal family, and Abner was from a poor common family, and even though Abner was politically strong, the mixing of royal blood with common blood was just not done. When Saul was the king, and Rizpah was taken to wife by the king, it made her of royal blood.

Ish-bosheth the king failed to realize that without Abner, he would be just a boy on the street without a family, for all members of his family were dead. Abner made the king what he was, and talked the heads and elders of the tribes to follow this boy, the son of Saul. This is going to get Abner's anger up, for Abner knew that without his leadership, there would be no royal house of Saul. The kingdom was dead before Abner revived it. Abner knew that God had anointed David king over all Israel. Though Abner made many mistakes, he was loyal to his king Saul and Saul's household when it ruled. He loved his country, and his people.

II Samuel 3:8 "Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ish-bosheth, and said, "Am I a 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 reminded Ish-bosheth that he was the top general that showed kindness to the house of Saul thy father, and to all of Israel. That kindness was shown by saving the house of Saul for his son, and here you sit and insult me for the simple fact of taking a woman. Abner set up the kingdom, and be assured that Abner can make it all come to an end. Because of this insult, Abner will start the wheels turning to bring all of Israel back under the house of David.

II Samuel 3:9 "So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the Lord hath sworn to David, even so I do to him:"

Ish-Bosheth doesn't know it yet, but Abner had just changed his loyalty from the house of Saul to the house of David.

II Samuel 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 Beer-sheba."

God stated that He would give the kingdom into the hands of David, and Abner was about to see to it that God's Word will come to pass. Both houses are about to be joined back together.

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

Ish-Bosheth finally figured out that he had gone to far in calling Abner "nothing but a dog's head". Ish-Bosheth knew he was about to lose not only a loyal general but all of his kingdom.

II Samuel 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."

"To make thy league with me", was to establish a covenant between Abner and David to bring about the joining of all the tribes under the house of David. All the tribes would become one nation again. Abner was dedicating his strength and leadership into placing David as king over all the people of all the tribes of Israel.

II Samuel 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."

Michal was David's wife, and when Saul sought to kill David, he took Michal and gave her to Phaltiel for his wife. David wanted his wife back before he will make this covenant with Abner, for the joining of all the tribes.

II Samuel 3:14 "And David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth Saul's son, saying, "Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines."

Saul asked for one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, yet David delivered two hundred foreskins of the Philistines.

II Samuel 3:15 "And Ish-bosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish."

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

Michal and Phaltiel had been married for many years by this time, and naturally Phaltiel love Michal greatly by this time. When Abner commanded that Phaltiel return home without Michal, in fear he left. Michal is about to be return to David after many years. We see that David's family had been split by the evil spirits that possessed Saul; but that is what Satan will do all the time, if you allow it to happen.

Even though David was a man after God's own heart, David will also do things that are not pleasing to God. Yet, David always tried to please God, and he repent when he saw any wicked thing that he had do. Of course God forgave him.

II Samuel 3:17 "And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, "Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you:"

The elders of all the tribes all knew Abner well, for Abner served as the top man in Saul's army defending them. It was at Abner's advice that they broke away from David in the first place, and they all knew that any leadership that existed within the house of Saul came from Abner. Now that Ish-Bosheth has so disgusted Abner that he would pull back all support from the house of Saul, the elders are looking to Abner for direction. So Abner was reminding them that in the first place, after the death of Saul, they sought David to be their new king. It was going to be easy for Abner to take their loyalty and swing it back to the house of David. Abner knew of the talk that existed behind the tents, that the people would rather have David as king, and he is going to build on those rumors.

II Samuel 3:18 "Now then do it: for the Lord hath spoken to 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 was a good man, and I'm sure that he regretted many times that he caused those men to die through the horse play between his men and the men of Joab.

II Samuel 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."

The tribe of Benjamin was the tribe of Saul's family, and even though Ish-Bosheth was from the tribe of Benjamin. The things that Abner was saying seemed better to the people of Benjamin, and made sense to them. Abner knew that God had chosen David, and Abner was using the anointing of David by Samuel as the key to swing all the tribes back to accepting David as their king. Abner was trying to do what is right.

II Samuel 3:20 "So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men with him a feast."

II Samuel 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"

When David sent Abner away, they departed in good faith, with good relations.

II Samuel 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."

The soldiers of David and Joab had been out pursuing an enemy while this meeting with Abner had taken place, and when they returned to David, they had much spoils taken from the enemy. By the time that Joab returned to Hebron, Abner was well on his way back home. Abner was considered a friend of David as he departed Hebron in peace.

II Samuel 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."

Remember that Joab was David's nephew by David's sister.

II Samuel 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?"

Joab was still mad over the death of his brother that Abner killed, and when he heard that Abner was here at Hebron, and left it peace, Joab became very angry at David. This was very bold and showed disrespect to talk to the king in this manner, even though he was Joab's uncle.

II Samuel 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 was accusing Abner of being a spy and that the only reason for the visit was to spy out our land. Joab was accusing Abner of deceiving David under false pretenses. Even though Abner made a few mistakes, he was still an honest man. This was not good of Joab in saying these things, for even in the slaying of Joab's brother, Abner gave him many chances to leave and save his life. He even pleaded with the young man to go and fight with someone his own size. All of Asahel's attacks on Abner were from the back, and it came to a matter of kill or be killed. The point here is that Abner did not murder Asahel, Joab's brother, even though Joab wanted to avenge his brother's death.

II Samuel 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."

Joab was plotting to commit the murder of Abner, and David did not have knowledge of any of Joab's evil intensions. Joab sent a fast horseman to bring Abner back to Hebron.

II Samuel 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 dieth, for the blood of Asahel his brother."

When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab followed through with his plot to kill Abner, and called him aside at the entrance of the town. Abner was not aware that there was any evil aimed at himself, for when he departed from Hebron, he departed in peace. Even though Joab called what he did avenging for the murder of his brother, Abner did not murder Asahel. However, this act of Joab was the out and out murder of Abner. In the Hebrew manuscripts it is plural, for when you kill a man, you also kill all the generations that would have come from that person.

II Samuel 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:"

Here again "blood" spoken of here is plural, for it stopped any future generations from coming through the loins of Abner. Abner was a military man with no family, and except for any child that may come in the future from Rizpah, there would be no children from Abner. Remember that it was Abner's taking of Rizpah in the first place that caused the rift between Abner and Ish-Bosheth. David is declaring himself and all his royal house innocent and guiltless before the Lord for the death of Abner.

II Samuel 3:29 "Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father's house; and let there not fall 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."

This is a seven fold curse that David is putting on the family of Joab for murdering Abner. "One that has issue" is having children, the curse of Joab was that no more children would be born within that family. Some member of that family would come become a leper, and "to lean on the staff" was to "grow old". The curse stated that the family members would not live to see an old age, while the last part of the curse was that they would starve. This is quite a curse to place on the entire family of Joab, because of his murder of Abner, a good man. This curse was on the house of his own nephew, the son of his sister and her husband. The curse was on Abner's father's house, only it is his mother's name that gave him his title and position. By stating "his father house", this curse would apply to Joab's brothers as well.

II Samuel 3:30 "So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle."

Though killing someone in a battle, any battle is not murder, even though it was a stupid battle. It was not murder. However the plotting and the following through with the killing of Abner was murder. There was no plotting to kill in that fake battle that was to take place, that ended in many lives lost. However, when Asahel kept pressing Abner and trying to kill him after it was all over, Abner tried in many ways to get Asahel to leave him alone. Then when the attacks come from Abners back, the action of Abner was in self preservation of his own life. This is why it was not murder of Asahel. But when these two brother, Joab and Abishai took the life of Abner, it was cold and in calculated murder. It was well plotted and carried out in detail, and that was what made this homicide, first degree murder.

Had Abner murdered Asahel, than the act of Joab and Abishai of killing Abner would have been legal, because these brothers would be playing the role of kinsman redeemer. Notice that it was even "to the fifth rib", just as Abner's spear pierced the body of Asahel.

II Samuel 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."

There was great mourning for in all the land of Israel for Abner, and king David himself lead the mourning in the land.

II Samuel 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."

II Samuel 3:33 "And the king lamented over Abner, and said, "Died Abner as a fool dieth?"

The king mourned over the death of Abner, for remember that through the covenant between Abner and David, all the tribes were to be joined together under David. David was saying here in the Hebrew; "So noble of death for such a brave man?" David was saying that this death was a shame. David and Abner knew each other well for they were kinsmen and of the same family.

II Samuel 3:34 "Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: As a man falleth before wicked men, so fallest thou." And the People wept again over him."

What this is saying to the people is that; "I am not condemning Abner for murder, but Abner's fall was by wicked men."

II Samuel 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."

David was doing this to show his brethren the Benjamites and the rest of the tribes of Israel that he was indeed in mourning for Abner. The other tribes loved Abner and looked up to him. Now their leader was dead at the hand of Joab. David did not want any trouble to brew between the two houses while they were still at war with the Philistines and some other neighboring nations.

II Samuel 3:36 "And all the People took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did, pleased all the People."

All the tribes saw how David honored Abner, and that David was truly innocent of the blood of Abner. This act of mourning pleased all the tribes of both houses, and brought them together.

II Samuel 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."

The point was made and all the people knew that the mourning was from David's heart.

II Samuel 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?"

David knew that this act happened in his land, and that he was in a way responsible for bringing Abner to Hebron in the first place. This then was a memorial to Abner who fell at the hands of some very cruel and wicked hands. The killers were his own sister's sons, yet David was the rightful ruler under God, and he had to pass this hard sentence on his own nephews. It was his sisters family that this sentence would fall on. It was not a happy day for David in any matter.

II Samuel 3:39 "And I am this day week, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness."

David was calling attention that this matter is very emotional for him, for even though he was the anointed king, he must pass sentence on the sons of his sister Zeruiah. I'm sure that when David was alone, he wept much over the orders that must come from his throne for the murder of Abner. This was so hard for David that he did nothing but assign to God what ever had to be done over the death of Abner. When good men do nothing, wickedness prevails.

When we stop and consider all sides to this matter we see that it was a family matter. For David, Joab, Abner, and the rest of those involved were kin. This then became a matter where something that started innocent enough, grew to the point that many lives were lost, and there was much hard feelings. The actions of these family members did not to follow the laws and instructions of God's Word, but they acted on their own emotions. Joab lost sight of the actions of his brother, and was unforgiving of his own kin Abner. The act of Abner was for his own defense, while Joab could not forgive Abner for defending himself. Friend, every one lost out over this matter because these men allowed carelessness and evil to take priority over God's instruction through his laws and commandment.

Remember that old spirit of jealousy that was in Saul during his reign, well that same spirit of jealousy took over Joab when he saw that Abner was forming a covenant with David to draw the tribes back together again. There may be many other reasons for the death of Abner not spoken of in this chapter, but in the end, God's Word will come true; the tribes of Israel will be brought under David's rule.

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