Then tidings came to Joab
Of the death of Adonijah, and the deposition of Abiathar:
for Joab had turned after Adonijah;
publicly appeared at his feast, when he was saluted king by him, and others, and privately gave him advice in the affair of Abishag:
though he turned not after Absalom;
did not join with him in his rebellion, but faithfully adhered to David; and yet both in his lifetime, and after his death, acted the traitorous part in favour of Adonijah: Ben Gersom gives these words a different sense, as if he was blameworthy in both cases; that he turned after Adonijah to make him king, without consulting David, and having his consent; and he did not turn after Absalom, to deliver him from death, as David commanded him; but the former sense is best:
and Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord;
which was at Gibeon, see ( 2 Chronicles 1:3 ) ; it was four miles from Jerusalem to the north, situated on an hill F5; according to Josephus F6, it was forty furlongs, or five miles, from it; though Kimchi thinks it was the altar in Jerusalem he fled to, which was before the ark, in the tent David made for it; but that is never called the tabernacle of the Lord, only that of Moses: Joab's fleeing hither showed guilt, and that he was in the conspiracy of Adonijah, and was conscious he deserved to die, and now expected it, since Adonijah was put to death; while he remained reprieved or pardoned, he thought himself safe, but now in danger, and therefore fled for it:
and caught hold of the horns of the altar; (See Gill on 1 Kings 1:50).
F5 Bunting's Travels p. 98.
F6 Antiqu. l. 7. c. 11. sect. 7.