30 July 2 Samuel 3:1,6-21

30 July.  Abner joins David’s supporters

“There was a long war between the people who supported Saul’s family and those who supported David’s family. The supporters of David’s family became stronger and stronger, but the supporters of Saul’s family became weaker and weaker…”

“During the war between the supporters of Saul’s family and the supporters of David’s family, Abner made himself a main leader among the supporters of Saul.”

“Saul once had a slave woman named Rizpah, who was the daughter of Aiah. Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, ‘Why did you have sexual relations with my father’s slave woman?’ Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said, and he replied, ‘I have been loyal to Saul and his family and friends! I didn’t hand you over to David. I am not a traitor working for Judah!’”

“’But now you are saying I did something wrong with this woman! May God help me if I don’t join David! I will make sure that what the LORD promised does happen! I will take the kingdom from the family of Saul and make David king of Israel and Judah, from Dan to Beersheba!’”

“Ish-Bosheth couldn’t say anything to Abner, because he was afraid of him. Then Abner sent messengers to ask David, ‘Who is going to rule the land? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you unite all Israel.’”

“David answered, ‘Good! I will make an agreement with you, but I ask you one thing. I will not meet with you unless you bring Saul’s daughter Michal to me.’ Then David sent messengers to Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth, saying, ‘Give me my wife Michal. She was promised to me, and I killed 100 Philistines to get her.’”

“So Ish-Bosheth sent men to take Michal from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. Michal’s husband went with her, crying as he followed her to Bahurim. But Abner said to Paltiel, ‘Go back home.’ So he went home.”

“Abner sent this message to the elders of Israel: ‘You have been wanting to make David your king. Now do it! The LORD said of David, “Through my servant David, I will save my people Israel from the Philistines and all their enemies.”’ Abner also said these things to the people of Benjamin. He then went to Hebron to tell David what the Benjamites and Israel wanted to do.”

“Abner came with 20 men to David at Hebron. There David prepared a feast for them. Abner said to David, ‘My master and king, I will go and bring all the Israelites to you. Then they will make an agreement with you so you will rule over all Israel as you wanted.’ So David let Abner go, and he left in peace.”

          (2 Samuel 3:1,6-21)

 

 

The war of succession between Israel and Judah lasted for seven long years (see 2 Samuel 2:11 & 2 Samuel 5:5). During this time David successfully ruled the southern kingdom of Judah from Hebron, while Ish-Bosheth’s support gradually waned in the northern kingdom of Israel. 

After a couple of years, Ish-Bosheth became little more than a puppet king, and the real power in Israel lay in the hands of his military commanders headed by Abner.

This situation continued for several years until Ish-Bosheth and Abner fell out over an accusation made by Saul’s son that Abner had had a sexual relationship with one of his father’s slave girls. In those days, this would have been regarded as a treasonable act, so Ish-Bosheth was, in reality, accusing Abner of treason.

The resulting quarrel showed clearly where the real power lay. Abner was furious that Ish-Bosheth, whom he had been supporting and propping up for years, was now accusing him of treason. Conscious that the punishment for treason was death, Abner quickly changed sides, and soon arranged a political bargain with David: He would support David’s claim to the throne of Israel if David guaranteed his freedom.

David was delighted with this agreement, and took the opportunity to arrange for his wife Michal, the daughter of King Saul, to be returned to him. This was also a political decision, as David’s claim to be the true successor of King Saul relied on the fact that he was Saul’s son-in-law.

The photo (by Dr Meierhofer) shows the River Jabbok near Mahanaim in the northern kingdom of Israel. 

You can read more about David @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/30-israel-becomes-a-kingdom-under-saul-and-david/david-becomes-king-of-judah-and-israel/


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