Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 3

Joab kills Abner

2 Samuel 3:26-27

Three of David’s most capable soldiers were brothers: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. They were relatives of David’s family, and they had long fought on his side. However, David found them extremely difficult to deal with. Although they supported him, they did it for their own purposes. Their own opinions mattered much more to them than the opinions of David, their king, did. For example, Abishai had wanted to kill Saul, although David believed that to be wrong and evil (1 Samuel 26:8-9).

Abner, the commander of Israel’s army, killed Asahel in the battle at Gibeon. Abner was desperate not to kill him – but he did it to save his own life (2:18-23). From that day, the other two brothers, Joab and Abishai, wanted to kill Abner.

An opportunity came when Abner made a peace agreement with David. Joab and Abishai, as David’s chief military officials, had a duty to respect that agreement – but they did not care about it. They felt no shame that they were using that agreement to put Abner’s life in danger.

So, Joab and Abishai sent an urgent message to Abner. In it, they probably lied that David wanted Abner to return to Hebron. David knew nothing about it.

As soon as Abner reached Hebron, Joab met him. A strong wall surrounded the city; the gate was the only entrance into Hebron. It was a special place of protection for the person whom someone accused of murder (Joshua chapter 20). In that special place of safety, Joab led Abner into a private room and there, Joab killed him.

Next part: David's curse against Joab (2 Samuel 3:28-30)


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