Howbeit, he refused to turn aside
Determined on making him his captive if possible.
Wherefore Abner, with the hinder end of the spear;
he had in his hand, which seems to have had a pike at both ends; so that with the hinder end of it, next to Asahel, he thrust it at him, without turning to him: and
smote him under the fifth [rib];
the place where hang the gall and liver, as the Jewish commentators from their Talmud F9 observe. There are twelve ribs, seven of which are called true ones, and five spurious; if this was the fifth of the seven, the spear must pierce the breast F11, and strike the seat of life, the heart and lungs; if the fifth from the eighth and first of the spurious ones, then wounding the hypochondria, it must pass to the vital bowels of the abdomen, which seems to be the case here F12: according to some F13 this is meant of the inferior ribs, which we call the short ribs, and any of these five are called the fifth rib; and Abner must strike him in the right side, because he was behind him, and which stroke must be deadly, because he struck him through the liver:
that the spear came out behind him:
the thrust was so violent that the spear went through him, and came out at his back:
and he fell down and died in the same place;
he fell at once, and died on the spot immediately:
and it came to pass, [that] as many as came to the place where Asahel
fell down and died stood still;
that is, such of David's men who were in the pursuit after the Israelites, when they came to the spot, and saw Asahel dead, they had no power to proceed in the pursuit, being so troubled and grieved at the death of him.
F9 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 49. 1.
F11 "Transadigit costas, et crates pectoris ensom". Virgil. Aeneod. l. 12. ver. 506.
F12 Vid. Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 3. p. 501.
F13 Weemse's Portrait of Man, p. 24.