The Second Book of Samuel

Chapter 3

During the war, David still grows stronger, 1. Six sons are born to him in Hebron, 2-5. Abner, displeased with Ish-bosheth, 6, revolts to David, 7-12. David requires as a condition to bring him his wife Michal, 13-16. Abner communes with the Israelites, and David makes him a feast and dismisses him, 17-21. Joab returning from battle, is displeased with the king and kills Abner, 22-27. David curses Joab, 28-30; and mourns for Abner, 31-39.

1 Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David, but David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.

2 And sons were born to David in Hebron: his first-born was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3 His second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; 4 The fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah, David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

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. 7 And Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. And Ish-bosheth said to Abner, "Why have you gone in to my father's concubine?" 8 Then Abner was very angry for the words of Ish-bosheth and said, "Am I a dog's head of Judah? I show kindness this day to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hand of David, and yet you charge me today with a fault concerning this woman. 9 May God do so to Abner and more also, unless, as the LORD has sworn to David, I do this for him: 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." 11 And he could not answer Abner a word again because he feared him.

12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, "Whose is the land?" and also saying, "Make your league with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring about all Israel to you." 13 And he said, "Good. I will make a league with you. But one thing I require of you, that is, you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come to see my face." 14 And David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, saying, "Deliver to me my wife Michal, whom I espoused to myself for one hundred foreskins of the Philistines." 15 And Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish. 16 And her husband went with her, weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, "Go, return." And he returned.

17 And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, "You sought for David in times past to be king over you. 18 Now then do it, for the LORD has spoken of David, saying, 'By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.'" 19 And Abner also spoke in the ears of Benjamin. And Abner also went 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.

20 So Abner came to David in Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men who were with him a feast. 21 And Abner said to David, "I will arise and go and gather all Israel to my lord the king so that they may make a league with you and that you may reign over all that your heart desires." And David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

22 And behold, the servants of David and Joab came from pursuing a troop and brought in a large amount of plunder with them, but Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the host that was with him had come, they told Joab, saying, "Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has sent him away, and he has gone in peace." 24 Then Joab came to the king and said, "What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you. Why is it that you have sent him away, and he is quite gone? 25 You know Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive you, to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you do."

26 And when Joab had come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, who brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 And when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly and smote him there under the fifth rib so that he died for the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 And afterward when David heard it, he said, "I and my kingdom are guiltless before the LORD forever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 Let it rest on the head of Joab and on all his father's house, and let there not fail from the house of Joab one who has an issue, who is a leper, who leans on a staff, who falls on the sword, or who lacks bread." 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.

31 And David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, "Rend your clothes, gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner." And king David himself followed the bier. 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. 33 And the king lamented over Abner and said,

"Should Abner die as a fool dies?

34 Your hands were not bound,/
nor your feet put into fetters./
As a man falls before wicked men,/
so you fell."

And all the people wept again over him. 35 And when all the people came to cause David to eat food while it was yet day, David swore, saying, "May God do so to me and more also, if I taste bread or anything else until the sun is down." 36 And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them, as whatever the king did pleased all the people. 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. 38 And the king said to his servants, "Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 And I am this day weak, though anointed king. And these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too hard for me. The LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness."


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Samuel, Chapter 3[➚]


[v.10] - Reference, 1st Samuel 15:28, 28:17.

[v.14] - Reference, 1st Samuel 18:25-28.

[v.15] - Reference, 1st Samuel 25:44.

[v.39] - "The LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness" - Reference, Psalm 62:12. See also, Job 34:11; Psalm 28:4.