Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 20

The woman forces Joab to defend his actions

2 Samuel 20:19-21

The woman intended to impress Joab with her speech about the history of the city, Abel Beth Maacah. However, her final words would frighten him. She accused him of a great crime against God, and against God’s people.

God himself had given Israel’s land to its people. He gave them it as their permanent possession. In the past, Joab had often attacked the cities of Israel’s enemies, in order to bring peace to Israel. Now however, Joab was attacking a city that belonged to Israel. In other words, he was destroying what God himself had given to Israel. That was a terrible crime.

The soldiers in Joab’s army served the true God. They heard what the woman said. Only recently, they had seen evidence of how wicked Joab was (20:9-11). If the woman was right, Joab’s own army would not want to support him.

So, Joab had to answer the woman, in order to defend himself. The woman had been careful to say nothing about Sheba – however, Sheba was the real reason for this battle. Sheba had chosen to oppose David, the king whom God had appointed to rule Israel. Sheba had caused most of the nation to turn against David, and the leaders of Abel Beth Maacah were protecting him. That was why Joab had attacked the city. There was no other reason. So Joab insisted that he was not fighting against God, but for him. He had no desire to destroy Abel Beth Maacah, or anywhere else in Israel. If the citizens of that city simply handed Sheba over, he promised to end the attack.

Next part: The death of Sheba (2 Samuel 20:22)


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