June 28, 2017
2 Samuel 3
Shawn Bumpers / General
In the last chapter, David had established his rule over Judah as a tribal king.
His headquarters was in Hebron.
Ishbosheth and Abner, and Joab’s building desire for revenge were not David’s only problems.
David’s many wives were chosen in direct violation of Deut. 17:15–17.
Deuteronomy 17:15–17 NKJV
you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.
On the other side, Ishbosheth had a major problem.
He was a puppet king, controlled by Abner.
Joab’s decision not to finish the job with Abner at that hill in Gibeon had resulted in a long war.
Nevertheless, Ishbosheth and Abner were losing the war, which would last about 2 years.
And during this time, Ishbosheth and his forces were weakening while David and his forces were gaining in strength.
In verse 1, “Grew stronger and stronger” is a phrase that is literally, “Walked to strength” and “Grew weaker and weaker” is “walked toward insignificance.”
David’s family was growing, and like any other monarch of the time, he had a growing harem.
Solomon would go way beyond his father in this regard.
1 Kings 11:3 NKJV
And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.
Abner had his eyes on both kingdoms … but he was better positioned at this moment with Ishbosheth and Israel.
Ishbosheth was a puppet king, but he was at least somewhat aware of it.
In a royal household they may have occasionally represented minor political alliances.
In a similar way a successor to the throne at times sought to claim the authority of his predecessor by taking his concubines for his own.
However, Ishbosheth picked up on Abner’s challenge and confronted him.
Abner was guilty of treason.
Isaiah 9:6–7 NKJV
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
There’s a kind of diplomacy called “shuttle diplomacy.”
It’s defined as, “Negotiations conducted by a mediator who travels between two or more parties that are reluctant to hold direct discussions.”
David was a fighter, but he was also a man of peace when he could be.
So then, diplomacy was an important alternative to outright war.
And we see that Abner kept his promise of verse 12 and sent word to all the tribes that David was their rightful king.
What’s interesting is the phrase, “In time past you were seeking for David to be king over you. Now do it!”
In that day, most armies were not paid any kind of salary or wage.
Instead, they got a cut of the spoils of war.
To Joab, there was no way that Abner could be genuine.
Certainly, Abner must be deceiving David.
Psalm 120:2 NKJV
Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips And from a deceitful tongue.
Joab accused Abner of being a liar in verse 25.
Yet we see that Joab practiced deception also.
Matthew 7:5 NKJV
Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Everything about the death of Abner was wrong.
The two brothers knew what their king wanted, yet they deliberately put their own interests ahead of that of the kingdom.
Now, Hebron was a city of refuge.
God set up cities of refuge in Israel in which killers were safe from those set to avenge a relative’s death.
When David heard the news of Abner’s death, he immediately distanced himself from any part in what his two nephews had done.
In fact, he went so far as to call down a curse on the house of Joab, naming some of the plagues that Moses had warned about in the Covenant of Deuteronomy 28.
Just as he did before for Saul and Jonathan, David wrote an elegy for Abner … he wanted to honor him.
He first made it clear that Abner hadn’t died because of some foolish act on his part.
2 Samuel 22:36 NKJV
“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your gentleness has made me great.
Psalm 103:8–14 NKJV
The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.