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


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)