2 Samuel 2

A King Who Follows The Lord

David grieved over the loss of Saul and Jonathan, and he sought the Lord to understand what he should do next. David asked the Lord if he would have him go into Judah and the Lord directed him to go into Hebron. David went with his family along with his men and their families to take up residence in this political and geographic center. The tribal leaders came to Hebron, and there they anointed him king of Judah. David immediately shows wisdom and prudence. David learned of the heroic actions of the men of Jabesh, and he sent messengers to bless them. Their sacrifice did not go unnoticed by the new king of Judah. David thanked them for their loyalty and asked God to bless them for their kindness to Saul. He requested the Lord to show them steadfast love, and he promised to be good to them because they had shown kindness to Saul. David’s message closed by mentioning that the house of Judah had anointed him, King. David's message served as an appeal to the elders of the distant city of Israel to recognize him as king.

Political Posturing

Saul had many loyal followers throughout the land who were determined to prevent David from becoming king of Israel. Their problem was that the most qualified successor of Saul had died with his father at Gilboa. Abner, Saul’s uncle and general, sought to rally support for Ish-bosheth, the sole surviving son of the late king. Mahanaim became the base of operations, and gradually Abner was able to secure the support of various regions of the country. Ish-bosheth ruled all Israel for two years. Meanwhile, David reigned in Hebron over Judah for seven and a half years. Abner decided to challenge David's rule in Hebron, so he and his troops set out to meet David. David's men responded to the challenge and advanced to Gibeon as an offensive maneuver. 

Civil War

At a pool, the two forces met with Joab the nephew of David was commanding the forces of Judah. Abner proposed that before the battle, that some of the men fight. Joab agreed. Twelve men from each side competed, and the soldiers were so skilled that all of them eventually fell wounded. This contest did not settle the dispute between the two armies and a battle ensued. The fight left Abner and his men thoroughly defeated. Asahel was killed in the battle at Gibeon, and it led to serious repercussions. Joab and Abishai continued to press the attack until Abner rallied his fleeing soldiers in a strategic position on the top of a hill. Abner called to Joab and suggested that it was time to end hostilities because they were “brothers.” An all-out assault on the position of Abner would be extremely costly, so Joab signaled his men to halt the attack. Abner and his men marched through the night, crossed the river, and returned to Mahanaim. In the battle at Gibeon, twenty of David’s men had been lost while Abner’s losses totaled three hundred sixty. Asahel was buried in the family tomb at Bethlehem, and Joab marched with his troops back to Hebron.

Things To Consider:

  • What can be learned about patience from this passage?
  • Why did David seek the Lord?
  • What can be learned about David's leadership?
  • Do you acknowledge the work and ministry of others? How?
  • Why is power so dangerous?
  • How do people look to political power for salvation?
  • What do you think prompted Abner to seek a fight with David's forces?
  • Why is fighting with family so intense?
  • Why do you think Asahel would not listen?
  • Maintaining peace can be difficult. What can we do to seek peace?