David is anointed king of Judah. Ishbosheth is proclaimed king of Israel. The battle of Gibeon.
VERSE 1. After this, David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” The LORD said to him, “Go up.” David said, “Where shall I go up?” He said, “To Hebron.”
After this. King Saul had just died. Now there is a power vacuum.
David inquired of the LORD. David sought the will of the LORD God.
To Hebron. This alienated David from the Philistines with whom he had taken refuge and made an alliance. It cemented his destiny to be king.
VERSE 2. So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.
VERSE 3. David brought up his men who were with him, every man with his household. They lived in the cities of Hebron.
VERSE 4. The men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. They told David, “The men of Jabesh Gilead were those who buried Saul.”
they anointed David king over the house of Judah. Now David is officially the king of Judah.
David would be anointed three different times:
1. BY SAMUEL
1 Samuel 16:13. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the middle of his brothers. Then the LORD’s Spirit came mightily on David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
2. AS KING OF JUDAH
2 Samuel 2:4. The men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. They told David, “The men of Jabesh Gilead were those who buried Saul.”
3. AS KING OF THE ENTIRE NATION
2 Samuel 5:3. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron, and king David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the LORD; and they anointed David king over Israel.
VERSE 5. David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and said to them, “Blessed are you by the LORD, that you have shown this kindness to your lord, even to Saul, and have buried him.
Jabesh Gilead. Davis gains the friendship of the people of Jabesh Gilead by commending them for their treatment of Saul’s remains.
VERSE 6. Now may the LORD show loving kindness and truth to you. I also will reward you for this kindness, because you have done this thing.
VERSE 7. Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.”
VERSE 8. Now Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s army, had taken Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim;
Abner the son of Ner. He was the commander of Israel’s army, and effectively the power behind the throne of Israel.
Ishbosheth the son of Saul. His original name was Esh-Baal. That means “fire of Baal.”
But later they wanted to avoid the appearance of connection to Baal and idol-worship. So they changed his name to Ish-Bosheth. It means “man of shame”.
VERSE 9. and he made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.
VERSE 10. Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.
forty years old. Ishbosheth is not listed as one of the sons of Saul at the beginning of Saul’s reign:
1 Sam. 14:49. Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua; and the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal.
But Ishbosheth is included in the total list of sons:
1 Chron. 8:33. Ner became the father of Kish. Kish became the father of Saul. Saul became the father of Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Eshbaal.
Thus Ishbosheth must have been born after Saul became king. That indicates at least a 40-year reign for Saul.
VERSE 11. The time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
VERSE 12. Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
Abner the son of Ner. At this point in the narrative, Abner is David’s biggest rival.
VERSE 13. Joab the son of Zeruiah and David’s servants went out, and met them by the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.
VERSE 14. Abner said to Joab, “Please let the young men arise and play before us!” Joab said, “Let them arise!”
let the young men arise and play before us. That is, “let them fight hand to hand in front of us.” Thus begins infighting between the tribes. This would be their complete undoing.
They had no common enemy to be united against. So they fought each other.
Many Christians are at this point. Their faith-life is little more than a battle between factions.
VERSE 15. Then they arose and went over by number: twelve for Benjamin and for Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of David’s servants.
VERSE 16. They each caught his opponent by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side; so they fell down together: therefore that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.
Helkath Hazzurim. That means “field of daggers.”
VERSE 17. The battle was very severe that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before David’s servants.
VERSE 18. The three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild gazelle.
VERSE 19. Asahel pursued Abner; and in going he didn’t turn to the right hand or to the left from following Abner.
VERSE 20. Then Abner looked behind him, and said, “Is that you, Asahel?” He answered, “It is.”
VERSE 21. Abner said to him, “Turn away to your right hand or to your left, and grab one of the young men, and take his armor.” But Asahel would not turn away from following him.
VERSE 22. Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn away from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I look Joab your brother in the face?”
VERSE 23. However he refused to turn away. Therefore Abner with the back end of the spear struck him in the body, so that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place. As many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still.
VERSE 24. But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. The sun went down when they had come to the hill of Ammah, that lies before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.
VERSE 25. The children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one band, and stood on the top of a hill.
VERSE 26. Then Abner called to Joab, and said, “Shall the sword devour forever? Don’t you know that it will be bitterness in the latter end? How long will it be then, before you ask the people to return from following their brothers?”
VERSE 27. Joab said, “As God† lives, if you had not spoken, surely then in the morning the people would have gone away, and not each followed his brother.”
God. The Hebrew word rendered “God” is “אֱלֹהִ֑ים” (Elohim).
VERSE 28. So Joab blew the shofar; and all the people stood still, and pursued Israel no more, and they fought no more.
VERSE 29. Abner and his men went all that night through the Arabah; and they passed over the Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and came to Mahanaim.
VERSE 30. Joab returned from following Abner; and when he had gathered all the people together, nineteen men of David’s and Asahel were missing.
VERSE 31. But David’s servants had struck Benjamin and of Abner’s men so that three hundred sixty men died.
VERSE 32. They took up Asahel, and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was in Bethlehem. Joab and his men went all night, and the day broke on them at Hebron.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.