But Abner, the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host
This man's father, Ner, was Saul's uncle, ( 1 Samuel 14:50 ) , and he was his own cousin, and being general of his army, a post he was willing to keep, might be the reasons for doing what he did, as follows:
took Ishbosheth the son of Saul;
and who seems to be his only son left, except what he had by his concubine. This man's name is Eshbaal in ( 1 Chronicles 8:33 ) ( 9:39 ) . Baal is the name of a shameful idol, and which was therefore sometimes called Bosheth, "shame". See ( Hosea 9:10 ) ; wherefore such names of men, which had Baal in them, were changed for Besheth or Bosheth, as the names of Jerubbaal and Meribbaal, who were called Jerubbesheth and Mephibosheth. See ( Judges 8:35 ) ; compared with ( 2 Samuel 11:21 ) , and ( 2 Samuel 4:4 ) with ( 1 Chronicles 8:34 ) ( 9:40 ) . The latter of these, a son of Jonathan, bid fairest for the crown by lineal succession, but he being but five years of age, and lame, this man Abner judged fittest for his purpose; and though he knew it was the will of God, and he had sworn that David should be king, yet so blind and obstinate was his ambition, that he set up another against him:
and brought him over to Mahanaim;
a city on the other side Jordan, in the tribe of Gad, on the border of the half tribe of Manasseh; see ( Joshua 13:26-30 ) ( Genesis 32:2 ) ; and hither Abner had Ishbosheth, partly to keep the men of Jabeshgilead in awe, to whom David had sent messengers, acquainting them with his being king of Judah, and prevent their joining with him; and partly that he might be at a proper distance both from the Philistines and from David, till he could form his measures, and gradually carry his point, as he did.