2 Samuel 3:31

David Mourns Abner

31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, 1"Tear your clothes and 2put on sackcloth and mourn before Abner." And King David followed the bier.

2 Samuel 3:31 Meaning and Commentary

2 Samuel 3:31

And David said to Joab, and to all the people that [were] with
To his whole court, Joab being present: for he did not flee, nor was he laid hold on in order to be brought to justice; which shows how great his power was, and that he was too hard for David, as in ( 2 Samuel 3:39 ) ; however this he did, he enjoined his whole court, and Joab also, to express public mourning on this account:

rend your clothes and gird you with sackcloth;
which were expressions of mourning used on various occasions, and on account of the dead, and which with the Heathens were carried to a greater excess, even to the tearing of their flesh,

and mourn before Abner;
before his corpse, as carried to the grave, when it was usual to make great lamentations: see ( Acts 8:2 ) ;

and King David [himself] followed the bier;
or "bed" F12 on which his body was laid, and carried to the grave. On these the rich and noble among the Greeks and Romans were carried, and those of the meaner sort on biers F14; and so with the Jews; (See Gill on Luke 7:14); some of which were gilded with gold, and were made of ivory, and had ivory feet {o}; that of Herod's was all of gold, inlaid with precious stones, and the body covered with purple, and followed by his sons and kindred, the soldiers going before armed, and their leaders following F16; the bier or bed with the Romans was sometimes carried by six persons, sometimes by eight or more F17. It was not usual for kings, as the Jews say F18, to attend a funeral, to go out of the doors of their palace after their own dead, and much less others; but David did this to satisfy the people, and to root out of their mind all suspicion of his having any hand in Abner's death; and to show that he was not slain by his will, and with his consent.


F12 (hjmh) (thv klinhv) , Sept. "lectum", Piscator.
F14 Salmuth. ad Pancirol. par. 1. tit. 62. p. 343. Kirchman. de Funer. Roman. l. 2. c. 9. p. 375.
F15 Alstorph. de lect. vet. c. 19. p. 149.
F16 Joseph. de Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 33. sect. 9.
F17 Kirchman. ut supra. (de Funer. Roman. l. 2. c. 9. p. 375.)
F18 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 3. Maimon in Hilchot Ebel. c. 7. sect. 7. David de Pomis, Lexic. fol. 119. 4.

2 Samuel 3:31 In-Context

29 May it fall upon the head of Joab and upon all his father's house, and may the house of Joab never be without one who has a discharge or who is leprous or who holds a spindle or who falls by the sword or who lacks bread!"
30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had put their brother Asahel to death in the battle at Gibeon.
31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, "Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and mourn before Abner." And King David followed the bier.
32 They buried Abner at Hebron. And the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept.
33 And the king lamented for Abner, saying, "Should Abner die as a fool dies?

Cross References 2

  • 1. See Joshua 7:6
  • 2. Genesis 37:34; 1 Kings 20:31
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