2 Samuel Chapter 2

King Saul of Israel had been killed in a battle against the Philistine army, along with many of the men of Israel. David was living in the land of the Philistines at that time, because he had needed to escape from the hands of Saul. While he and his followers lived there, he had remained loyal to Israel and to the Lord. Now that Saul was no longer there to act as king, it was the fitting time for David to come forth as the Lord’s anointed leader of the people. This chapter begins:

1 And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the Lord said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron.
2 So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal’s wife the Carmelite.
3 And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.
4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabesh-gilead were they that buried Saul.

David prayed to know if he should return to the land of Judah, and the Lord told him to go to Judah, to the city of Hebron. It is good to see that David continued to seek the guidance of the Lord in the things he did. David took his wives, his men and their families, and they went into Hebron and lived there. The men of Judah anointed David king over the house of Judah. They told David that the men of Jabesh-gilead had been the men to bury Saul.

5 And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the Lord, that ye have shewed this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him.
6 And now the Lord shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing.
7 Therefore now let your hands be strengthened, and be ye valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.

David sent a message to these men, to honor them for their kind treatment of king Saul. He said that he would show them kindness because they had done this. He also made them aware that he had been anointed king over Judah.

8 But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim;
9 And made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.
10 Ish-bosheth Saul’s son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.
11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

Meanwhile, the captain of Saul’s army, Abner, who was also Saul’s uncle, took Ish-bosheth and made him king of Israel. It is entirely possible that Abner had ill feelings towards David, because he had been in the company for Saul, who had gone after David for so long, but that is not written here. Abner had been with Saul before David had done anything mighty in battle for the army of Israel. He may have even held the same feelings of jealousy, which Saul had held. I don know know for sure, but what is known is that Abner desired for Israel to be led by the line of Saul. I don’t know if there is anything written about Ish-bosheth before this point, but he became the king because of his relationship to king Saul, and I believe, because those sons mentioned previously, had been killed along with Saul. David reigned for seven years over the house of Judah.

12 And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out, and met together by the pool of Gibeon: and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.
14 And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise.
15 Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which pertained to Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.
16 And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side; so they fell down together: wherefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon.
17 And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.

Abner and men of king Ish-bosheth went out to the pool of Gibeon, and they called for their servants to play for them. Then men of David surrounded and killed these men and a battle started, in which Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the men of David.

18 And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe.
19 And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner.
20 Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Art thou Asahel? And he answered, I am.
21 And Abner said to him, Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take thee his armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from following of him.
22 And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me: wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? how then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother?
23 Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place: and it came to pass, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still.
24 Joab also and Abishai pursued after Abner: and the sun went down when they were come to the hill of Ammah, that lieth before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.

Asahel chased after Abner. When Abner saw him, he told him to take one of the young men instead and to put on his armor. Asahel refused and Abner told him if he continued to follow him, he would smite him. Abner told him he wouldn’t be able to face his brother, Joab, if he did this. Asahel continued after him still, so Abner killed him. Asahel’s brothers, Joab and Abishai, went after Abner and came to the hill of Ammah. Abishai was the man who volunteered to go with David to bedside of Saul when David spared his life. I believe that Ashael, Joab and Abishai were David’s nephews.

25 And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill.
26 Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren?
27 And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother.
28 So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more.
29 And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and they came to Mahanaim.
30 And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel.
31 But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner’s men, so that three hundred and threescore men died.

The men of Benjamin gathered together to go after Abner, along with Joab, and stood on a hill. Abner tried to get Joab to stop the fight, knowing that it would bring biterness. Joab listened to his words and stopped the men of Benjamin from going after them. Abner took his men and they walked until they got to Mahanaim, on the other side of the Jordan. When Joab returned, he found that his brother, Asahel, and nineteen of the men of David, were gone, while 360 of the men of Benjamin and Abner had been killed.

32 And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Beth-lehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.

Ashael was buried in Bethlehem and Joab and his men went on to Hebron, where David was at the time.

It is unclear to me, as to the reason for the attack on the men at the pool of Gibeon. I am not sure if there was already animosity between Judah and Israel, but the land of Israel was no longer under the reign of Saul, and as such, it was divided. In it’s division, this battle took place and many men died. It was typical in this nation, for family to seek after those who killed their family members. Once Ashael was killed, it was not unexpected for his brothers to go after Abner. It is sad to read of the loss both sides suffered from fighting, even within the land that the Lord had once designated for the tribes of Israel to live as one nation.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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