Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 3

Abner persuades Israel’s leaders to support David

2 Samuel 3:17-19

Abner was a military leader. However, he used political skills to persuade Israel’s leaders that they should support David.

First, he spoke to the leaders of the family groups in the parts of Israel that did not yet support David. They already wanted David to be their king. So Abner encouraged them to support David because, then, God would help them against their enemies. Many foreign armies were constantly attacking Israel, including particularly the army from Philistia. God had chosen David to rescue Israel from the power of those nations, Abner said.

When Abner had the support of those leaders, he then spoke to people from his own tribe (family group), Benjamin. It was probably more difficult to persuade them. Saul also came from the tribe of Benjamin, and its people were very loyal to Saul’s family. Their tribe was much smaller than the rest of Israel, but Abner considered it very important to gain their support.

It surprises us to see how much Abner knew about God’s plans for Israel and his (God’s) promises to David. In fact, Abner expresses those promises more clearly than appears in any previous place. However, Abner does not seem to be a holy man (see 2 Samuel 3:7-8). Until very recently, he was fighting against David. Abner only chose to support David because Abner was angry with Ish-Bosheth, Saul’s son.

Perhaps everyone in Israel already knew about God’s promises to David. However, God can speak through anyone whom he chooses. God can even use an unholy person to declare his message. Something like that happened to Saul in 1 Samuel 10:9-13 and 19:18-24.

Next part: David establishes friendly relations with Abner (2 Samuel 3:20-21)


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