Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 2

The first fight between David’s army and Ish-Bosheth’s army

2 Samuel 2:12-16

David had become the king of Judah, a region in the southern part of Israel. Then Ish-Bosheth, the son of Saul, became king of the rest of Israel.

God had appointed David to rule all of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1-13). However, David had no desire to oppose Saul’s family or to fight against Ish-Bosheth. David did not want to start a war in Israel. That war happened because of the powerful ambitions of certain other men.

Those men were the commanders of armies. Abner, a relative of Ish-Bosheth, led Ish-Bosheth’s army. Joab, a relative of David, led David’s army. The two commanders led their men to Gibeon; and the two armies camped on opposite sides of the large pool there. Then Abner and Joab began to argue about what should happen.

They decided that a small group of soldiers from each army should fight each other. The idea was to show which side was stronger. Then, perhaps, the weaker side would accept defeat without the need for a battle.

That plan failed in a very terrible way. All the men were as strong as each other. They were like brothers, both in their strength and in the way that they fought. They were all Israel’s people – they were not foreigners who had learned different ways to fight. Probably, they had all studied together how they should fight.

The awful result was that all those men died. Then a battle began between Abner’s men and Joab’s men.

Next part: The death of Asahel, Joab's brother (2 Samuel 2:17-23)


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