2 Samuel 2

David Anointed King Over Judah

1 In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked. The LORD said, “Go up.” David asked, “Where shall I go?” “To Hebron,” the LORD answered.
2 So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.
3 David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns.
4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah. When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul,
5 he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The LORD bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him.
6 May the LORD now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this.
7 Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.”

War Between the Houses of David and Saul

8 Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim.
9 He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.
10 Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David.
11 The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.
12 Abner son of Ner, together with the men of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon.
13 Joab son of Zeruiah and David’s men went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool and one group on the other side.
14 Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us.” “All right, let them do it,” Joab said.
15 So they stood up and were counted off—twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David.
16 Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent’s side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.[a]
17 The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the Israelites were defeated by David’s men.
18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle.
19 He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him.
20 Abner looked behind him and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?” “It is,” he answered.
21 Then Abner said to him, “Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel would not stop chasing him.
22 Again Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?”
23 But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.
24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon.
25 Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill.
26 Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?”
27 Joab answered, “As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued pursuing them until morning.”
28 So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the troops came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore.
29 All that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, continued through the morning hours[b] and came to Mahanaim.
30 Then Joab stopped pursuing Abner and assembled the whole army. Besides Asahel, nineteen of David’s men were found missing.
31 But David’s men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner.
32 They took Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak.

2 Samuel 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

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.

Cross References 38

  • 1. S 1Sa 23:2,11-12
  • 2. S Genesis 13:18; S Genesis 23:19; 1 Samuel 30:31
  • 3. S 1 Samuel 25:43; 1 Samuel 30:5
  • 4. S 1 Samuel 25:42
  • 5. S 1 Samuel 27:2; 1 Samuel 30:9; 1 Chronicles 12:22
  • 6. S Genesis 13:18; Genesis 23:2; Genesis 37:14
  • 7. S 1 Samuel 30:31
  • 8. S 1 Samuel 2:35; 2 Samuel 5:3-5; 1 Chronicles 12:23-40
  • 9. S Judges 21:8; S 1 Samuel 11:1; 1 Samuel 31:11-13
  • 10. S Judges 17:2; S 1 Samuel 23:21; 2 Timothy 1:16
  • 11. Exodus 34:6; 1 Timothy 1:16
  • 12. S Joshua 1:6; S Judges 5:21
  • 13. S 1 Samuel 14:50; S 2 Samuel 3:27
  • 14. 2 Samuel 4:5; 1 Chronicles 8:33; 1 Chronicles 9:39
  • 15. S Genesis 32:2
  • 16. S Numbers 32:26
  • 17. S Joshua 19:24-31; Judges 1:32
  • 18. 1 Chronicles 12:29
  • 19. 2 Samuel 5:5
  • 20. S Joshua 9:3; Joshua 18:25
  • 21. 2 Samuel 8:16; 2 Samuel 19:13; 1 Kings 1:7; 1 Chronicles 2:16; 1 Chronicles 11:6; 1 Chronicles 27:34
  • 22. S Judges 3:21
  • 23. 2 Samuel 3:1
  • 24. S 1 Samuel 17:8
  • 25. 2 Samuel 3:39; 2 Samuel 16:10; 2 Samuel 19:22
  • 26. 2 Samuel 3:30; 2 Samuel 10:7; 2 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 14:1; 2 Samuel 18:14; 2 Samuel 20:8; 2 Samuel 24:3; 1 Kings 1:7; 1 Kings 2:5,34
  • 27. S 1 Samuel 26:6
  • 28. 2 Samuel 23:24; 1 Chronicles 2:16; 1 Chronicles 11:26; 1 Chronicles 27:7
  • 29. 1 Chronicles 12:8; Proverbs 6:5; Song of Songs 2:9
  • 30. 2 Samuel 3:27
  • 31. 2 Samuel 3:27; 2 Samuel 4:6
  • 32. 2 Samuel 20:12
  • 33. S Deuteronomy 32:42; Jeremiah 46:10,14; Nahum 2:13; Nahum 3:15
  • 34. 2 Samuel 18:16; 2 Samuel 20:23
  • 35. S Judges 3:27
  • 36. S Deuteronomy 3:17
  • 37. ver 8; S Genesis 32:2
  • 38. S Genesis 49:29

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. "Helkath Hazzurim" means "field of daggers" or "field of hostilities."
  • [b]. See Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO SECOND SAMUEL 2

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.

2 Samuel 2 Commentaries