Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 3

David refuses to eat

2 Samuel 3:35-37

King David made an extraordinary effort to give honour to Abner at his funeral. The custom was for the funeral to happen just a few hours after the death. David was in a state of shock after the news that Joab, the leader of his army, had killed Abner. However, David still insisted that he himself would arrange the funeral. He organised a great procession to give honour to Abner; he even forced Joab to walk in that procession. At the grave, David sang a lament, a sad song, that he himself had written for the occasion.

After the funeral David was weak, so the people urged him to eat, to regain his strength. However, on such a sad and serious occasion, David would not eat. He even made a serious promise in front of God that he would taste nothing that day.

All the people already knew that David was a very sincere person; he tried to please God in everything. However, David’s attitudes on that day astonished them. David did not try to defend Joab, although David depended very much on Joab as the leader of his army. Nor did David pretend that the death of Abner was unimportant. It was clear that David was not trying to impress anyone or to establish his own importance. Rather, David’s desire was simply to show proper honour to a great man who had suffered a cruel death.

Those simple attitudes pleased Israel’s people. David was a king who truly wanted to do the right things. He was the kind of king that their nation needed.

Next part: The sons of Zeruiah (2 Samuel 3:38-39)


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