Sunday, January 13, 2013

CV - II Samuel 3 - David solidifies his kingdom

David's seven and a half years in Hebron were good years in many ways.  Six sons were born to him there.  Three of whom were Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah.  These three (especially Absalom) would cause David much sorrow later.  The early years in Hebron were also troubled yers, marked by frequent warfare between David's forces and Ishbosheth's army, led by Abner.  During this time, the army of Ishbosheth and Abner suffered many defeats at the hands of David, thus dwindling their
forces in numbers.  Also, there were defections to David's side, which always caused morale problems, further weakening the organization.  We'll see, as we have before, that although Abner is basicly consumed with self-interest, he is a very smart and capable leader, much more
so than Ishbosheth, whom Abner made king following the death of Ishbosheth's father Saul.

Chapter 3 tells of the "transition" which shifted all authority to David.  It starts out telling of Abner and Ishbosheth coming to odds with each other.  It of course involved a woman.  And of course the stronger of the two personalities will prevail.  The woman was Rizpah, a concubine of Saul's.  The Scripture doesn't say whether or not Abner made advances toward Rizpah, but it says Ishbosheth accused him of it.  {I'm inclined to believe Abner did anything he wanted to with impunity.}  But Abner's response to Ishbosheth's accusation was one of outrage, rather than just a denial.  In vss 8-11 gives an account of Abner's response, wrapping up with verse 8 saying that Ishbosheth did not dare
say another word to Abner about anything of contention because he was afraid of Abner.

Vss 9--> Abner again does a very wise thing.  He sent a messanger to David wanting peace.  In that message he all but concedes that the kingdom belongs to David anyway.  Now David of course accepts this gesture, but on one condition.  He wanted Michal back.  {Review:  During Saul's first major encounter with the Philistine army, he offered his daughter Michal to any man who would take on and defeat Goliath.  David accomplished that and although Saul gave him Michal to be his wife,
he later gave her to someone else (Paltiel) after he got upset with David.  Michal had not been mentioned since then, but obviously David has not forgotten Michal as his first wife, and the reward for one of the most unforgettable experiences of his life.}  Abner did not hesitate to agree to this condition, (although Paltiel was not too enthused).  Paltiel continued to voice and act out objections until Abner simply ordered him to go back home (accompanied by a threat, I'm sure).  Abner was not about to allow anything to get in the way of his deal with the powerful king David.  Abner was aware that he would become subject to David very soon, and wanted to gain favor.  {I guess I can't blame him.}  Abner continues his quest for unity and favor with David by gathering the tribal leaders throughout Israel and endorsing David as king.  His arguement was very persuasive, especially the part about David being the one who could deliver them from the hands of the Philistines.  {Don't forget how cruel and frightening these Philistines were.  And they literally surrounded the southern tribes and threatened the north as well.}
Vss 20-21 -  Abner travelled to David himself to deliver this good news, and David received him with open arms and held a feast in his honor.  (David was a gifted leader.)  After the feast, David sent Abner away in peace.  This was no small matter.  David had been troubled for over seven years by Abner.  Peace meant David could go on to more important matters.
Vss 22->  Remember Joab, the leader of the small platoon that defeated Abner and his regiment?  Joab hated Abner because Abner killed Joab's brother Asahel.  About the time David sent Abner away with a peace treaty, Joab returned to Hebron.  Joab heard of David's pact with Abner and he was angry that peace was made with his bitter enemy.  Joab went behind David's back and set up a meeting with Abner and killed him in Sirah.  Of course David found out about it and placed a curse on Joab and his entire family.  {A peace treaty was sacred to David because it was a matter of him honoring his spoken word.  That was always important to good men, and still is.}  The remainder of the chapter describes the level of remorse David has for the killing of the man to whom David promised peace.  He was also grieved with the fact that he lost a loyal family in Joab due to the punishment David was obligated to place upon them.  {These were hard times.  David's life up
to this point was full of disappointment, fear, distrust, death, war; all things to make times miserable.  David earned his stripes in a multitude of ways.}

Next post:  Internal opposition eliminated

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