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Tuesday, April 22 2014

2 Samuel 3: The War Between The Houses of David and Saul

"Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker"

The first actual battle of the Israelite civil war was a decisive victory for David (see 2 Samuel 2: King David Of Judah). It was the beginning of a conflict in which "David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker." During it all, the house of David grew (see also The Wives Of King David).

King David

"3:1 Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.

3:2 And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3:3 And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; 3:4 And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 3:5 And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron." (2 Samuel 3:1-5 KJV)

Abner had been the losing army commander for the house of Saul. He was not only a poor general; he was a man whose only actual loyalty and patriotism was to himself. When he saw that he was losing the war, Abner defected to David with the offer, not of a legitimate military surrender, but of betrayal to his troops and to his king: "Make thy league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee." David accepted his offer because he knew that it would surely end the war very quickly.

"3:6 And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul. 3:7 And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ishbosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father's concubine?

3:8 Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ishbosheth, and said, Am I a dog's head, which against Judah do shew kindness this day unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, that thou chargest me to day with a fault concerning this woman? 3:9 So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the LORD hath sworn to David, even so I do to him; 3:10 To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba. 3:11 And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.

3:12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose is the land? saying also, Make thy league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee.

3:13 And he said, Well; I will make a league with thee: but one thing I require of thee, that is, Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal Saul's daughter, when thou comest to see my face. 3:14 And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth Saul's son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines.

3:15 And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish. 3:16 And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return. And he returned.

3:17 And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you: 3:18 Now then do it: for the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.

3:19 And Abner also spake in the ears of Benjamin: and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and that seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin. 3:20 So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men that were with him a feast. 3:21 And Abner said unto David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a league with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thine heart desireth. And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace." (2 Samuel 3:6-21 KJV)

Abner did not long survive his new allegiance; he was murdered by Joab in revenge for Abner's legal battlefield killing of Joab's brother Asahel. David expressed grief and anger at the killing because it could have resulted in the army that Abner brought with him to return to war against David. It nevertheless did not, "For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner."

Water

"3:22 And, behold, the servants of David and Joab came from pursuing a troop, and brought in a great spoil with them: but Abner was not with David in Hebron; for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace. 3:23 When Joab and all the host that was with him were come, they told Joab, saying, Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he hath sent him away, and he is gone in peace.

3:24 Then Joab came to the king, and said, What hast thou done? behold, Abner came unto thee; why is it that thou hast sent him away, and he is quite gone? 3:25 Thou knowest Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know all that thou doest.

3:26 And when Joab was come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, which brought him again from the well of Sirah: but David knew it not. 3:27 And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.

3:28 And afterward when David heard it, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the LORD for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner: 3:29 Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father's house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff, or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread.

3:30 So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.

3:31 And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier. 3:32 And they buried Abner in Hebron: and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept.

3:33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth? 3:34 Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him.

3:35 And when all the people came to cause David to eat meat while it was yet day, David sware, saying, So do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or ought else, till the sun be down.

3:36 And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people. 3:37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner.

3:38 And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? 3:39 And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness." (2 Samuel 3:22-39 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who gave the Israelites their military laws?
See Deuteronomy 20: Articles Of War


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This Day In History, April 22

238: The Year of the Six Emperors: The Roman Senate outlawed emperor Maximinus Thrax and nominated two of its own Senators, Pupienus and Balbinus, to the throne of Rome (see The Politics Of Rome and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

1124: Alexander I, king of Scotland, died. King from 1107, he was succeeded by his brother David.

1145: The 19th recorded passage of what is now known as Halley's Comet.

Comet Halley 1370: Construction began of the Bastille, a medieval fortress on the east side of Paris, at the order of Charles V.

1500: Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral, on a voyage to India, sailed far to the southwest and discovered Brazil, claiming it for Portugal. The land was first sighted earlier that year by a Spanish explorer, Vincente Yanes Pinzon, but he failed to claim it for Spain.

1509: Henry VIII ascended to the throne of England.

1519: Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortés established a "settlement" (i.e. a garrison) at Veracruz, Mexico.

1529: The Treaty of Saragossa, which divided Spanish and Portuguese interests in the Pacific Ocean, was signed.

1793: Prior to the U.S. becoming an imperial power itself, U.S. President George Washington issued a Proclamation of Neutrality for the U.S. to not become involved in the imperial wars between France and Britain. Washington recognized that France supported the rebellion of the New England colonies for no other reason than to reduce the British military presence in North America, so that France could eventually widen its own colonies in and from Louisiana in the south and eastern Canada in the north. France had no interest in anyone's "freedom" (while aiding the rebellion of the New England colonies, France tolerated no independence in any of its own colonies in North America). Washington repeatedly warned throughout his presidency, and later through his retirement years, against the U.S. ever becoming the very same sort of "rise and fall" imperial empire that Washington had just fought against. One of the greatest ironies of Washington's political legacy is that the capital city that is named after Washington became a worldwide symbol of the very same colonial imperialism that Washington himself actually detested and rebelled against.

1834: The Quadruple Alliance was formed by Britain, France, Portugal and Spain, supporting Isabella II's claim to the Spanish throne against Don Carlos.

1838: The British steamship Sirius became the first to cross the Atlantic from Britain to New York solely on steam power. The journey from Cork to New York took 18 days, 10 hours.

1889: Territory in Oklahoma, formerly the free lands of native American (the "Indians" didn't have a concept of owning land), was opened to white settlers. About 50,000 settlers rushed in on the first day.

1912: Pravda, the "voice" of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, began publication in Saint Petersburg.

1915: The Battle of Ypres (in Belgium) began. It was the first major battle for Canadian troops in the First World War. The Germans released chlorine gas (the first use in warfare), forcing the unprepared French army to retreat. The 1st Canadian Division and British troops rushed to halt the German advance. It took a week of fierce fighting and counterattacks involving more gas before the German attack was brought to a halt.

1933: Frederick Henry Royce, co-founder of the English auto company Rolls-Royce, died.

1944: The British 1st Air Commando Group, using Sikorsky R-4 helicopters, became the first to use helicopters in combat.

1948: During the Israeli War of Independence (the "1948 Arab-Israeli War"), Haifa, the major port of Israel, was captured from Arab forces (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate, A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).

1991: Intel released the 486sx processor.

1994: Richard Nixon, who resigned the office of U.S. president due to the Watergate criminal investigations, died at age 81.

2005: Philip Morrison died at age 89. He was a prominent member of the "Manhattan Project" that developed the U.S. atomic bombs that incinerated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Morrison later became popularly known from his book and PBS series entitled The Ring Of Truth.


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