Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 2

The crimes of Joab

1 Kings 2:5-6

Israel’s king was also its chief judge. So, David had a duty to God that he (David) must punish criminals. However important and powerful those evil people were, David must not allow them to escape the punishment for their crimes.

During the whole of David’s rule, David had allowed an evil man to have an important job in his government. That man was Joab, the chief army commander who led David’s army. David knew that he should not allow an evil man to have that job (Psalm 101). However, he considered himself too weak to deal properly with Joab (2 Samuel 3:39).

So, as David was dying, he urged Solomon to punish Joab for his crimes. Joab murdered Abner just after Abner had decided to support David (2 Samuel 3:27). Joab did that because Abner had killed Joab’s brother Asahel in a battle (2 Samuel 2:18-23). Joab had no right to kill Abner. They were not still fighting a battle - it was a murder during a time of peace.

Joab murdered Amasa in 2 Samuel 20:10. Joab did it because David wanted to replace Joab with Amasa, as chief army commander. Joab carried out both of those murders in a similar manner. Amasa trusted Joab, even as Abner had done. Joab pretended to be friendly to them so that he could get close enough to kill them. David considered that behaviour cruel, shameful and terrible.

It would take great wisdom for Solomon to deal with a man like Joab. However, David urged Solomon to punish Joab with death. Although Joab was now an old man, he must not escape the punishment for those wicked crimes.

Next part: Barzillai's sons (1 Kings 2:7)


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