2 Samuel, 1
A The Triumphs of David
David hears of Saul’s death
1: Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag; 2: It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance. 3: And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped. 4: And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also. 5: And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead? 6: And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. 7: And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I. 8: And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. 9: And he said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. 10: So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord. 11: Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: 12: And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword. 13: And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. 14: And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD's anointed? 15: And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. 16: And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD's anointed.
David mourns for Saul
17: And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: 18: (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.) 19: The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! 20: Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. 21: Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. 22: From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. 23: Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24: Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. 25: How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou was slain in thine high places. 26: I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. 27: How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
2 Samuel, 2
David King of Judah
1: And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron. 2: So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal's wife the Carmelite. 3: And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. 4: And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabesh-gilead were they that buried Saul. 5: And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the LORD, that ye have shewed this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him. 6: And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing. 7: Therefore now let your hands be strengthened, and be ye valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.
Ishbosheth King of Israel
8: But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim; 9: And made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel. 10: Ish-bosheth Saul's son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. 11: And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
12: And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13: And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out, and met together 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. 14: And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise. 15: Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which pertained to Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16: And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow's side; so they fell down together: wherefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon. 17: And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David. 18: And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe. 19: And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. 20: Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Art thou Asahel? And he answered, I am. 21: And Abner said to him, Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take thee his armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from following of him. 22: And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me: wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? how then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother? 23: Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place: and it came to pass, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still. 24: Joab also and Abishai pursued after Abner: and the sun went down when they were come to the hill of Ammah, that lieth before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon. 25: And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill. 26: Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren? 27: And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother. 28: So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more. 29: And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and they came to Mahanaim. 30: And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David's servants nineteen men and Asahel. 31: But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner's men, so that three hundred and threescore men died. 32: And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
2 Samuel, 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.
David’s sons born
2: And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 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; 4: And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5: And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
Abner joins with David
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. 7: And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father's concubine? 8: Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ish-bosheth, 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? 9: So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the LORD hath sworn to David, even so I do to him; 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 Beer-sheba. 11: And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him. 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. 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. 14: And David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth Saul's son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines. 15: And Ish-bosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish. 16: And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return. And he returned. 17: And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you: 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. 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. 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. 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.
Joab kills Abner
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. 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. 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? 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. 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. 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. 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: 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. 30: So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle. 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. 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. 33: And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth? 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. 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. 36: And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people. 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. 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? 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.
As we move into the second book of Samuel we find that Saul and Samuel are dead and so the way is clear for David to establish his kingdom and this book describes his successes and struggles. The book was written by about 930 BC. The first part of the book describes David’s triumphs and the later part his struggles. In spite of all the trouble that Saul gave to David, David still behaves honourably toward Saul even in his death. David always respected him and never put out his hand to hurt him and now in his death he genuinely mourns for him. After David establishes himself as king of Judah Ish-bosheth seeks to make himself king and this brings a long civil war. David is free to have sons and Abner Saul’s greatest mighty man joins David but is later killed by Joab. But first we must come back to David’s and Saul. The death of Saul was a great tragedy in Israel. In fact the life of Saul was a great tragedy. He had such potential and yet he was week in his spirit and never had the mind of God in his soul. He said of himself l have acted like a fool and been very wrong in what l have done. A messenger arrives in camp of the death of Saul. David asked him where he had come from and he said l have escaped from Saul’s army. David asked how the battle went and he said the army was routed and Jonathan and Saul are dead. He said that he accidentally came upon Saul who was leaning on his spear and was not dead yet. And he called on me to kill him so l stood on him and killed him. So l did stand on him and kill him. And l took his crown and bracelets and have brought them to you. David tore his clothes and so did the men that were with him. They wept and fasted and mourned until the end of day. They mourned for Saul, Jonathan and the people of Israel that had been killed. Then David questioned him again who are you he said and he said l am an Amalekite. David said to him how was it that you were not afraid to kill the Lords anointed? There was no answer. David called on one of his young men to execute him and so he died. David lamented over Saul and Jonathan (and he wrote the way in which Israel might mourn and it was written in the book of Jasher) What follows is a song of mourning.
The beauty of Israel is slain upon your high places:
how are the mighty fallen!
Do not tell this in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon;
lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
You mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew,
neither let there be rain, upon you,
nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away,
the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil.
From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan turned not back,
and the sword of Saul returned not empty.
Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives,
and in their death they were not divided:
they were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.
You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights,
who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.
How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!
O Jonathan, you were slain in your high places.
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan:
very pleasant hast thou been unto me:
thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
How are the mighty fallen,
and the weapons of war perished!
This touching song causes the hardest heart to weep.
The next thing that David did was to enquire of the Lord as to what he was to do next. David always seemed to seek the Lord at times of important decisions. He asked whether he should go and where he should go. The LORD said Go and go to Hebron. David moved his wives and all his men to Hebron. The men of Judah gathered to anoint David king. When David heard that the men of Jabesh-Gilead had buried Saul he blessed them for what they had done. But Abner who was captain over Saul’s army took Saul’s son Ish-bosheth and made him king over Israel. Ish-bosheth was 40 years old when he reigned over Israel. He only reigned for two years. David was king in Hebron for 7 ½ years. This rival king to David caused a long civil war in Israel. Next we have the interesting incident where mighty men of Ish-bosheth and David meet at the pool of Gibeon. Joab with David’s men on one side of the pool and Abner with Ish-bosheth’s men on the other side. Then Abner said to Joab lets allow our men to rise up and fight. So twelve men were chosen from both sides. All twelve men killed each other. The valley was called ‘the field of swords’. That day there was a great battle and Abner was beaten in battle by David’s men. Asahel (who was very fast on his feet) chased after Abner and Abner asked who are you chasing me? and because Asahel refused to stop chasing him that he turned his spear around and killed Asahel with it. Joab and Abishai also chased after Abner even until night fall. Joab asked why they were still pursuing him. In the morning Joab blew a trumpet and all the people stood still and stopped fighting. Joab returned and found that he had lost 20 men against 360 men of Abner. Joab walked all night to Hebron in the morning. This was the beginning of a long civil war but David’s side got stronger and Saul’s side weaker. Then we read that David had a number of sons from his wives. Then we read that Abner throws in his lot with David. Abner had fallen out with Ish-bosheth. Abner sent a message to David saying l want to be on your side and help you to establish the kingdom. David said good enough but bring my wife with you. Then Abner said to the Elders of Israel you sought for a king now set up David as your king. And so Saul’s greatest captain Abner and David’s greatest enemy became his greatest asset and one who drew the kingdom together for David. Joab however was most put out that Abner had taken such a close association with David. He felt that Abner had come to spy out David’s court. Joab sent a message to Abner asking him to speak to him, but when he came Joab killed him in revenge for his brother Asahel. David insisted that Joab and his family should mourn for Abner. David wept and all the people wept. He said Abner died as a fool dies. He was not in chains he was killed before wicked men. And he wept and all the people wept with him. David refused any food that day and he declared that a mighty prince and a great man had fallen that day in Israel. David said God will deal with these wicked men according to what they had done.