Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 20

The soldiers’ reaction to the murder of Amasa

2 Samuel 20:12-13

Joab was not ashamed that he had murdered Amasa. In fact, Joab wanted the whole army to know what he had done. Then they would know that he, and not Amasa, was their commander.

Joab was not the kind of person who wanted people to love him. Rather, he wanted people to be afraid of him, so that they would obey his orders. For that reason, Joab had told one of the men who was most loyal to him to stand by the body. That man’s duty was to tell all the soldiers in David’s army that they must now obey Joab. It would impress them deeply to hear that message when they saw Amasa’s dead body.

That was what Joab intended. However, the reaction of the soldiers was different to what Joab had expected. In fact, when they saw the body, they hesitated. Many of them knew Amasa – it was a shock for them to see that Joab had killed him. They would also realise that Joab was acting against David’s orders – David had very recently appointed Amasa to lead his army.

So, the men in David’s army were not sure that they wanted such a cruel man as Joab to lead them. Some of them would have wanted to bury Amasa or to show respect to him.

In the end, even the man who was guarding the body, decided not to obey Joab’s order. He removed the body from the road, and he hid it under a sheet. So after that, the men passed that place without any knowledge of Joab’s cruel act. They went from there to fight against Sheba, as David had commanded.

Next part: Sheba escapes to Abel Beth Maacah (2 Samuel 20:14-15)


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