II Samuel 3
I have no problem teaching one of my men who is out of line what he should have done. I also will punish accordingly.
This time, the man I placed as captain over my men did something bad. If I had let it go, the whole kingdom would have plunged into a revolt and we would have lost everything.
Yeah, it was that bad.
What did he do?
First, his name is Joab. Joab was angry with Abner for killing his brother during a battle. Abner had given Joab's youngest brother fair warning to stand back and to call off his attempt to kill, but his brother refused. Abner defended himself when Joab's little brother attacked. Unfortunately his younger brother died.
Second, Joab discovered Abner had visited our camp and wanted to make peace. Without my knowledge, Joab sneaked out of the camp with a group of men to hunt Abner. He tricked Abner into returning to my camp where he and his brother killed him.
Third, Joab's other brother is the same man who tried to kill Saul the day he and I sneaked into their camp. I prevented him from killing king Saul and taught him we should respect those God has placed in authority over us. Apparently he forgot the lesson.
Abner was the captain of king Saul's armies. People thought highly of him because of his high position. They might riot, kill each other, destroy property. What a mess.
Mourn the death of Abner, a man who served God's chosen people
Punish Joab for attacking and killing Abner, especially without God's permission.
Restore peace to the Israelites.
I hurried to the scene after hearing what had happened. I pronounced a curse on Joab and all his family. Then I ordered Joab and everyone with him to, "Tear your clothes, put on burlap, and mourn for Abner."
It seemed he saw I meant business. He did as I said. I, too, walked in the procession carrying Abner to his grave, mourning the life taken from him. I mourned with all the people at the grave and sang this song at his graveside:
“Should Abner have died as fools die?34
Your hands were not bound;
your feet were not chained.
No, you were murdered—
the victim of a wicked plot.”
Overcome with grief, I refused to eat even though the people begged me to join them in a meal. I could not. This man should not have been killed. I refused to eat until the sun went down, spending my time in mourning instead.
The people saw my heart and understood I had nothing to do with Abner's murder. We were spared riots.
Two of the official stood near me. They didn't seem to understand the situation. I said, "Don't you realized that a great commander has fallen in Israel today? And even though I am the anointed king, these two men, Joab and Abishai are too strong for me to control. May the Lord repay them for the evil they have done.
I have left their punishment in God's hands.
1. Who did David speak with?
2. What had this man done wrong?
3. Why was his sin so great?
4. What did David tell him to do?
5. What did David do for Abner?
6. Who was Abner?
7. What did David want for the country?