2 Samuel 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Strong-willed by definition is being determined to do something regardless of what is advised against it. This mindset is really a double-edged sword. The positive aspect means that we pursue a goal or a thought process and nothing gets in the way or sways us from following that path. This can work for a person in every arena of life. Obviously, the other side of the sword is we can be so determined to accomplish that goal we severe relationships, slaughter the innocent and yes, shut out the voice of God in some matters.
As the kingdom of David is being established, we read of scoundrels, men bent on their own will and trust being questioned. First, there’s Abner. He had been a right-hand man to Saul. Upon his death, he manipulated and swayed the 11 tribes to follow Saul’s son Ish-bosheth. There were more than likely personal motives to this move. But when he was questioned by Ish-bosheth as to his taking Saul’s concubine, he became incensed.
You read this portion and commentators somewhat are still on the fence as to if he did indeed take Saul’s concubine to his bed. His feigned indignity causes questions. His actions prove likewise as well. He decided to leave this king of whom he was committed to serve and switch allegiance to David instead. It’s a political minefield as this is an act of treason. But communication and a meal is set by David to entertain Abner of which results in a peace of sorts between the two.
Enter Joab, David’s right-hand man at the moment. Joab not only questions Abner’s sincerity, but Abner’s character has also proven to be wily. But there were other reasons as well for Joab. Possibly his own placement in David’s kingdom he felt as though it was threatened. More to the point, Abner had killed Joab’s brother and revenge was at the forefront of his thinking. After the meal and Abner had departed, Joab called him back with the pretense it was David’s beckoning. Joab killed Abner in cold blood.
But as the chapter opens, we read of one more who is strong-willed and that’s David himself. God had blessed David on so many levels and yes, he was trusting God to establish his kingdom in His time. But the strange opening of David’s kingdom being strengthened gives a brief genealogy. We read of 6 sons being born to 6 different wives. And if that is not enough, throughout the story David wants his first wife Michal to be brought back. There’s a problem here. David has a problem.
Of these 6 sons, all in time would prove themselves in a not so great way.
- Amnon would rape his half-sister and was murdered by his half-brother.
- Chileab is only mentioned a few times and is called Daniel in 1 Chronicles 3, but because of the brevity of his name going on commentators believe he either died young or was an ungodly, unworthy man.
- Absalom would murder Amnon and in time lead a civil war against his father David, doing whatever he could to murder him.
- Adonijah as well attempted to take the throne from David and tried to bed one of his father’s concubines. He would be executed for such treason.
- The remaining 2 Shephatiah and Ithream either died young or like Chileab were ungodly, unworthy men to even be mentioned in Scripture. God had made it clear in Scripture He was not pleased with polygamy.
The establishment of David’s kingdom was messy. It got messier as these 3 exercised a strong-willed mentality in different arenas. All of this would cause grief.
When we look at our own strong-willed nature we wrestle with, what are the outcomes of such? Who pays for our determination? Truly in the end, we all personally do, but along the way we hurt others in the process. It is strange to me God still blessed David throughout, but that’s His grace shown once again. He loved David. He had plans for David. And I do believe David’s heart was sensitive to God. But when his own determination to do what he wanted, as truly continues to show itself throughout his story, heartache and difficulty followed.
2 Samuel 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
In 2 Samuel 3, we find two men making a deal in order to see their enemy defeated. Abner, being personally offended by Ishbosheth, makes a deal to join David. David, wanting to get his wife (Saul’s daughter) back, makes a deal with Abner.
After a series of events, Joab steps forward to avenge his brother and murders Abner.
“We may even deceive ourselves into the belief that we are honoring our Lord and Master when we are, all the while, bringing disgrace upon his name.”C.H. Spurgeon
Abner knew David was supposed to be king, yet, he only really began supporting David after he was personally insulted. In the end, he believed he was doing something to honor God, but he was really more motivated by the personal attack. Joab believed he was doing something to honor God when he murdered Abner. In his mind, he was protecting David. But the act was a disgrace. It was far from the example that David showed when waiting on the Lord even when Saul was out for murder.
And finally, as Hank has mentioned with David, this chapter outlines his poor handling of difficult situations. David was a great man of faith, but he was far from perfect. Some believe he was a womanizer. His sons, of course, were not great men. In my opinion, this could have been due to the lack of discipline or attention from David as their father.
Here, we definitely find that to be the case with Joab. David verbally disciplines him for his ruthless murder of Abner, but doesn’t act on that discipline with anything further. As we read on this seems to be a common thread with David. As he is slow or reluctant to tie up loose ends, the messiness of his kingdom will spiral out of control on several occasions.