Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 2

Abner appoints Ish-Bosheth to be king of Israel

2 Samuel 2:8-11

Abner was the cousin of King Saul (1 Samuel 14:50-51). He was the most important leader of Israel’s army. That army suffered a terrible defeat in the battle where Saul died. It seems that their enemies, the army from Philistia, gained control over much of Israel. Very many of Israel’s soldiers had died, including three of Saul’s sons.

However, Abner was a very brave man (3:38). Even in that awful situation, he would not accept defeat. He gathered together what remained of Saul’s army; with them, he continued to oppose Philistia’s army. David became king over Judah (the southern part of Israel) soon after Saul’s death. So, it seems from the time periods in 2 Samuel 2:10-11 that Abner had to fight for another 5 years. Only then did Abner have enough control over the rest of Israel to appoint a king to rule there.

At last, Abner had established a strong enough government to choose whom he wanted to be king. He could have appointed David to be the king over all Israel. However, Abner’s first choice was to appoint Ish-Bosheth, his relative. Ish-Bosheth was the only son of Saul who remained alive.

Abner was a very powerful man, but Ish-Bosheth showed great weakness in his character (3:11-15). So, perhaps Abner was trying to appoint a king whom he could control. However, even Ish-Bosheth would not allow Abner to do whatever he (Abner) wanted to do (3:7). So, in the end, Abner changed his mind and he decided to support David.

Next part: The first fight between David's army and Ish-Bosheth's army (2 Samuel 2:12-16)


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