2 Samuel 3: Abner is killed

Synopsis:

The war between the house of David and the house of Saul wears on. Saul’s son Ishbosheth accused his captain, Abner, of having sex with one of Saul’s concubines.  The problem was that at this point Abner was very powerful within Saul’s kingdom. So Abner tells Ishbosheth, screw you – I’m going to hand your kingdom to David.  And he proceeds to make arrangements and negotiates a deal with David to return David’s first wife Michal to him. Joab, whose brother was killed by Abner finds out about this – hunts Abner down and kills him, without David’s permission. When David finds out he curses the house of Joab. And mourns for Abner.

In other words:

Abner is accused of treason against the house of Saul, so – he goes out and commits treason by arranging for Saul’s kingdom to be handed to David. Unfortunately, one of David’s men kills him.

Favorite bit:

2 Samuel 3:8 – After Ishbosheth accuses Abner of treason he says, “Am I a dog’s head?”

2nd favorite bit:

2 Samuel 3:29 – David curses Joab for killing Abner – “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.” In other words – I hope you all die.

Least favorite bit:

2 Samuel 27: When Joab kills Abner – stabbing him under the 5th rib.

2nd least favorite bit:

2 Samuel 3:16 – when Michal is returned to David – “her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim.” until Abner told him to go home.  It’s so sad.

Most politically calculating bit:

2 Samuel 3:37 – For all the people and all Israel understood that day (that David lamented Abner), that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner.  Yeah – not sure I believe this to be honest.

Moral lesson learned: 

Don’t piss off the help (2 Samuel 3)

2 Samuel 4: Ishbosheth is dead

Synopsis:

After Abner’s death, all of Israel is worried.  Two of Saul’s captains take it upon themselves to kill Ishbosheth in his sleep.  They bring the head to David expecting to be rewarded. They are instead killed. First their feet and hands are cut off, and then they are hung up over a pool in Hebron. The head of Ishbosheth is buried in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron.

In other words:

Ishbosheth, son of Saul is killed. His murderers are put to death.

Favorite bit:

2 Samuel 3:6 – when Rachab and Baanah kill Ishbosheth they smite him under the fifth rib. This number comes up  A lot. Pretty much all the killings in this book involve someone being stabbed under the fifth rib. Must be near the heart.

Oddest bit:

2 Samuel 3:4 - We are told of Jonathon’s son Mephibosheth – who was 5 when Jonathon and Saul were killed. His murder took him and fled, but he is dropped and becomes lame.  He doesn’t have anything to do with this story. Not sure why we are told of it.

Least favorite bit:

2 Samuel 3:10-11 – David basically schools Rechab and Baanah for killing Ishbosheth. The guy who told me Saul was dead thought he was going to be rewarded, but I killed him. Imagine what I am going to do with you two, who killed a righteous man in his sleep!

Moral Lesson Learned: 

Don’t kill people in their sleep (2 Samuel 4)

2 Samuel 1: David learns of Saul and Jonathon’s deaths

Synopsis:

A few days after Saul is killed, an unnamed Amalekite with rent clothes and dirt in his hair tells David that Saul and Jonathon are dead and that he killed Saul at Saul’s request and took his crown and arm band to give to David.  David and his mean tear their clothes and start to morn. Then, at evening, David has his men kill the messenger for killing God’s anointed (Saul). The rest of the chapter is the lamentation of David for Saul and his beloved Jonathon, especially Jonathon, whose love “was wonderful, passing the love of women.”

In other words: 

David learns of Saul and Jonathon’s death and kills the messenger.

Favorite bit:

2 Samuel 1:26 – I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.

Least favorite bit:

2 Samuel 1:14-16 – Jonathan has the messenger killed for killing Saul (God’s anointed – even thou Saul had asked him to – and he had brought the news & the crown to David). He literally killed the messenger. But I suppose it was to make sure he wasn’t seen as having endorsed the murder of his rival.

Really rather cool: 

The lamentations from 2 Samuel 1:17-27 – oh how the mighty have fallen in the midst of battle and the weapons of war perished! (paraphrased)

Oddest bit:

2 Samuel 1:18 – an aside within the lamentation includes this bit – which doesn’t really fit. “(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold it is written in the book of Jasher:)”

Moral lesson learned:

Don’t be the guy who has to tell a war chief that his homosexual lover has been killed. (1 Samuel 2)

2 Samuel 2: David is made king ... sort of

Synopsis: 

After consulting with God, David goes to Hebron and the men of Judah make him their king. However, Abner, one of Saul’s captains, made Ishbosheth king over the rest of Israel. (Ishbosheth was 40 at the time). Abner (who installed Ishbosheth as king) and Joab (servant to David)  meet by the pool of Gibeon. Abner encourages the men to play so 12 Benjamites (loyal to Ishbosheth & Abner) and 12 servants of David get up. David’s followers kill all 12 of the Benjamites. A battle between the armies ensued and Abner was beaten and fled. Asahel pursued after Abner, and Abner slayed him. The place where Asahel is slain became a pilgrimage site.  Joab, Asahel’s brother pursues Abner, but Abner is able to gather an army of Benjaminites around him and Joab calls off the hunt. Both Abner and Joab return to their respective cities. Joab only lost 19 men plus Asahel. Abner lost 360 men.

In other words:

David is made king of Judah, but someone else is installed as king over the rest of Israel.

Favorite bit:

That there is still going to be a lot of infighting among the tribes of who shall lead them. I know it seems sick – but without this intrigue we don’t have an interesting story.

Least favorite bit:

2 Samuel 2:13-15 – they meet at a pool in Gibeon and everything is cool until David’s followers attack Abner’s men.

What’s cool:

Abner is cool. He is obviously a very skilled warrior and doesn’t want to fight David’s men. This seems to have been an attempt at peace making that went awry because when Asahel follows him, Abner tries several times to get Asahel to stop – telling him repeatedly – I don’t want to kill you, don’t make me kill you – and Asahal keeps pursuing him – leaving him no choice. I realize Abner is a rival to David’s power – however, this little bit of his story makes him seem like not sure a bad guy – even though he installed someone else to be king and we aren’t supposed to root for him.

Moral Lesson Learned:

When someone genuinely offers to stop fighting – stop fighting! (2 Samuel 2)