David made king in Hebron. (1-7) Abner makes Ishbosheth king Battle between Abner's men and those of Joab. (8-17) Asahel slain by Abner: 25-32. Both parties retreat. (18-24)
1-7. After the death of Saul, many went to David at Ziklag, ( 1 Chronicles. 12:22 ) to give it in his own time and manner. Yet assurance of hope in God's promise, will quicken pious endeavours. If I be chosen to the crown of life, it does not follow, Then I will do nothing; but, Then I will do all that God directs me. This good use David made of his election, and so will all whom God has chosen. In all our journeys and removes, it is comfortable to see God going before us; and we may do so, if by faith and prayer we set Him before us. God, according to the promise, directed David's path. David rose gradually: thus the kingdom of the Messiah, the Son of David, is set up by degrees; he is Lord of all, but we see not yet all things put under him.
8-17. The nation in general refused David. By this the Lord trained up his servant for future honour and usefulness; and the tendency of true godliness was shown in his behaviour while passing through various difficulties. David was herein a type of Christ, whom Israel would not submit to, though anointed of the Father to be a Prince and a Saviour to them. Abner meant, Let the young men fight before us, when he said, Let them play before us: fools thus make a mock at sin. But he is unworthy the name of a man, that can thus trifle with human blood.
Verses 18-24 Death often comes by ways we least suspect. We are often betrayed by the accomplishments we are proud of! Asahel's swiftness, which he presumed so much upon, did him no service, but hastened his end.
Verses 25-32 Abner appeals to Joab concerning the miserable consequences of a civil war. Those who make light of such unnatural contests, will find that they are bitterness to all concerned. How easy it is for men to use reason, when it makes for them, who would not use it, if it made against them! See how the issue of things alter men's minds! The same thing which looked pleasant in the morning, at night looked dismal. Those who are most forward to enter into contention, will repent before they have done with it, and had better leave it off before it be meddled with, as Solomon advises. This is true of every sin, oh that men would consider it in time, that it will be bitterness in the latter end! Asahel's funeral is here mentioned. Distinctions are made between the dust of some and that of others; but in the resurrection no difference will be made, but between the godly and ungodly, which will remain for ever.
This chapter relates that David, upon inquiring of the Lord, was directed to go up to Hebron, and did, where he was anointed king of Judah, 2Sa 2:1-4. And that being told of the kindness of the men of Jabeshgilead in burying Saul, he sent them thanks, and promised to remember it, and took the opportunity to let them know he was anointed king over Judah, 2Sa 2:5-7. It also relates that Abner set up Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, to be king over Israel, 2Sa 2:8-11; and that there was an encounter between twelve of Abner's men and twelve of David's, which brought on a sore battle between them, in which Abner was beaten, 2Sa 2:12-17; and Asahel, who was of David's party, was slain in the pursuit by Abner, 2Sa 2:18-25; when a retreat was sounded by Joab, at the influence of Abner, who, with his wen, betook themselves to Mahanaim, where he had left Ishbosheth, 2Sa 2:26-29. And the chapter closes with an account of the slain on both sides, the burial of Asahel, and the return of Joab with David's men to Hebron, 2Sa 2:30-32.