Day 111 (April 21): Ishbosheth accuses Abner, Abner joins David, Joab takes revenge on Abner, David sings at Abner’s funeral, Ishbosheth murdered, Murderers killed

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Samuel 3:6-4:12

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 3:6-21): I am surprised that Abner is aligning with David after being at Saul’s right hand for so many years.  Being at the helm with Saul, Abner should know everything that went on between Saul and David.  He should know both of their motives.  Maybe he could see that David was the more righteous and Ishbosheth’s accusation of Abner sleeping with one of Saul’s concubines was the last straw?  It’s nice to see Michal back, but it would be nice if she could choose whom she wants to call her husband.  No. 2 obviously cared for her deeply.

A. We can certainly read into the story that tensions between Ishbosheth and Abner rose, and this was a breaking point.  Ishbosheth accusation is a strong one: it would have been a great insult to Saul’s memory for one of his generals/leaders to sleep with one of his wives/concubines.  So it is unsurprising that Abner reacts the way he does.  Regarding Michal, we don’t know much about her situation, but I can tell you the next time she appears on the scene, it will not be a pleasant encounter with David.  Perhaps she really did miss hubby #2.

Q. (3:30): So, all is fair in war, but killing someone after the fact is not?  Sounds good to me, but I’m sure that Joab still felt a lot of anger toward Abner for killing his brother.

A. Joab is acting as a family avenger for his brother, which was the reality of the world that the ancient Israelites lived in.  David obviously does not approve of this action, even though Joab is acting in what would have been seen as a proper incidence of the taking of vengeance.  It was a brutal world, and in many places, it still is.

Q. (3:31): David is called king now?

A. David has been king of Judah for some time; we saw reference to it in our reading from yesterday (2 Samuel 2:4).  And though God has declared him king of all Israel, it is clear that the entire nation is not ready to follow him yet, but it won’t take long.

Q. (4:1-3): I don’t know what “paralyzed with fear” means.

A. Oftentimes the writer of these volumes — and ancient societies in general — will use actions of one person — in this case the king — to describe the situation for an entire group of people (Israel).  So basically, the writer is referring to Ishbosheth’s fear and using the image as a representation of the mindset of the entire people.  Ishbosheth is greatly fearful after Abner’s death — don’t forget it was Abner who put him on his throne — and like his father, Ishbosheth appears to be succumbing to fear-based decision making — in this case, making no decisions.  Ishbosheth was so fearful that he could not decide how to act, so in this sense he was “paralyzed” with fear.

Q. (4:5-12): And we think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are bad.  I think David needs to make an order that there will be no more killing out of vengeance.  I’ve read about enough decapitations for a while.

A. Um, don’t hold your breath that the killing will stop.  David’s rule will be peaceful for a while, but will quickly turn bloody, even within his own house.

Day 110 (April 20): Judah anoints David, David reaches out to Saul supporters, Abner proclaimed Saul’s son Ishbosheth king, Israel and Judah go to war, Abner kills Asahel, David’s sons born in Hebron, Descendants of David, Three of David’s warriors heralded

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Samuel 2-3:5

1 Chronicles 3:1-4

2 Samuel 23:8-39

1 Chronicles 11:10-19

1 Chronicles 11:20-47

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 2:31): It seems that the tribe of Benjamin keeps taking a beating.  They were the ones that went to war with the rest of Israel in a reading a week or two ago, right?  Is Benjamin cursed?

A. Yes, they were involved in the war against the other tribes (Judges 20, Day 96).  I would not say they were cursed, but rather they are making bad choices.  They sided against the other tribes in the previous story, and they have sided with Saul’s side (the losing side) in this current battle.  The reason in this case is obvious: Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin, and it is unsurprising that his tribe would “lead” the fighting on behalf of Saul’s son, who in their eyes is the rightful heir to the throne.  Don’t worry too much about Benjamin, they will be on the right side of the conflict that will really have a lasting impact.  You’ll see.

O. (3:2-5): David has added to his wives collection.

Q. (23:8) What was the significance of the Three?

A. I wouldn’t read anything more into it then the story presents: David had an “inner circle” of warriors, his very best men.  These men had such impressive records of war, that they actually warrant mentioning THEIR exploits in the midst of David’s story.  The writer is giving some love to normally unsung heroes.  David will be in some hairy situations — some of which he causes — in the next few chapters, and these men will go a long way toward bailing him out.

O. (23:15-17): How awesome that although David was thirsty and longed for water, he gave it to the Lord.