II Samuel 2
A Spy in Saul's Camp Reports
Abner had taken charge. Most of the men didn't mind. He was, after all the captain of Saul's army.
He knew that David had been chosen by God as Israel's next king, but he also knew one of Saul's sons still lived. Abner gathered the people of Mahamaim together and crowned Saul's son Ish-Bosheth king.
Most likely Ish-Bosheth also knew David had been chosen to be the next king, but greed gets into the hearts of men. At age forty, he agreed to be crowned king of Israel. He quite enjoyed the ceremony.
Abner and the army under him led the royal party southwest to Gibeon.
In the meantime, David's men heard the news and sent an army, led by Joab, to meet them. At the pool in Gibeon, Abner, Ish-Bosheth and their army sat on one side of the water and David's men, sat on the other. The distance was close enough for them to speak to each other.
Abner spoke first. "Why should our armies fight? Choose twelve of your men to fight, and we'll chose twelve of ours. The winner represents his army."
Both sides chose twelve men. The opponents lined up against each other and because of their great fighting skills, no one won. All twenty four men died in a short time. Since no one remained alive to claim victory for his side, the armies chose to go to war.
Saul fought to have Ish-Bosheth in charge of all Israel. David's men fought to have David the official king of all Israel.
The battle was fierce, but David's men took the advantage. When Abner realized his army suffered, he turned and ran from the battle.
Joab's brother, Asahel could run like the swiftest animal. He chased Abner, keeping his eyes held firm on his enemy's every turn.
Abner looked back as he continued to run. "Is that you Asahel?"
The men kept running, jetting to the right and left. Abner couldn't loose Asahel not matter how hard he tried. "Asahel, stop chasing me. I don't want to kill you. How could I look your brother, Joab in the face if you died?"
"Very funny, Abner. Maybe you should be more worried about what might be said when I kill you."
"Fine. I'm tired of running." Abner suddenly stopped and jabbed the butt of his spear into Asahel. Joab's brother fell dead.
Abner saw Joab and David's army closing in on his position. He fled as fast as he could. Joab, his other brother, and the rest of his army continued chase.
Abner his surviving men stopped running at the top of a hill. He called down to Joab and David's army. "When is the bloodshed going to stop? How long is it going to take for you to order your men to stand down?"
Joab called back. 'If you had not asked us to stop we would not have done so. We would have chased you until morning if necessary." He blew his trumpet signaling David's men to stop the chase.
Abner took Isb-osheth back to Manhamain, the place he had been crowned king. David's men returned to their home in Hebron.
The war had ended . . . for now.
1. Who was Abner? What job did he have?
2. Who did Abner crown king of Israel?
3. What happened at the pool of Gibeon?
4. Joab's little brother, Asahel, could run how fast?
5. What happened to Joab's brother?
6. David's men had been winning the battle. How did the battle end?
7. Why did Joab stop fighting?