Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 20

David orders Abishai to lead his most capable soldiers

2 Samuel 20:6-7

After the failure of Absalom’s revolution, Sheba tried to start a second revolution against David. David saw that he must act quickly. He ordered Amasa, his new chief army commander, to gather all the men in Judah who could fight. However, Amasa was unable to do it quickly enough.

A few thousand of David’s most capable and loyal soldiers lived in Jerusalem, the capital city, with David. Joab had often led these men into battle in the past, and they were ready to leave at once.

However, it seems that David did not want to ask Joab to lead these men. David had very recently asked Amasa to lead the army instead of Joab (19:13). That was because Joab had killed Absalom, David’s son, in the battle (18:14). Joab was an extremely powerful man – and David considered him to be an evil man. So, David was trying to remove Joab from his important position in the army and the government.

Amasa had not yet returned from Judah, so David could not ask him to lead the soldiers from Jerusalem. Instead, David asked Abishai to lead them. Abishai was Joab’s brother, and one of the most important leaders in David’s army (23:18-19). David’s soldiers respected Abishai deeply.

So, Abishai led out the men from Jerusalem. Their task was to find Sheba, and then either to catch him or to kill him. However, among the men from Jerusalem were some men who remained especially loyal to Joab. It seems that Abishai decided to permit Joab himself to lead this group of men.

Next part: Amasa meets Abishai and Joab (2 Samuel 20:8)


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