2 Samuel 2: One Tribe is Better than None – the Anointing of a King

When we last left David, he was mourning the deaths of King Saul and his best friend, Jonathan. You might be thinking — crazy King Saul is dead! Long live King David! Ah, not so fast. In the last chapter we saw Saul and his three sons killed in battle against the Philistines. As it turns out, Saul had another son, Isbosheth. Probably, he was not exactly a legitimate heir to the throne. In any case, one of Saul’s generals had a different idea besides King David, which makes for an interesting dilemma for David and his army. Let’s dig in….

We’ll start with a psalm….

Psalm 93

The Lord is king! He is robed in majesty.
    Indeed, the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength.
The world stands firm
    and cannot be shaken.

Your throne, O Lord, has stood from time immemorial.
    You yourself are from the everlasting past.
The floods have risen up, O Lord.
    The floods have roared like thunder;
    the floods have lifted their pounding waves.
But mightier than the violent raging of the seas,
    mightier than the breakers on the shore—
    the Lord above is mightier than these!
Your royal laws cannot be changed.
    Your reign, O Lord, is holy forever and ever.

Psalm 93 NLT

Some points here…

Going on…

2 Samuel 2 – David is Anointed King

After this, David asked the Lord, “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?”

“Yes,” the Lord replied.

Then David asked, “Which town should I go to?”

“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.

David’s two wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. So David and his wives and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron. Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah.

When David heard that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul, he sent them this message: “May the Lord bless you for being so loyal to your master Saul and giving him a decent burial. May the Lord be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love! And I, too, will reward you for what you have done. Now that Saul is dead, I ask you to be my strong and loyal subjects like the people of Judah, who have anointed me as their new king.”

Ishbosheth Proclaimed King of Israel

But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had already gone to Mahanaim with Saul’s son Ishbosheth. There he proclaimed Ishbosheth king over Gilead, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, the land of the Ashurites, and all the rest of Israel.

10 Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king, and he ruled from Mahanaim for two years. Meanwhile, the people of Judah remained loyal to David. 11 David made Hebron his capital, and he ruled as king of Judah for seven and a half years.

War between Israel and Judah

12 One day Abner led Ishbosheth’s troops from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 About the same time, Joab son of Zeruiah led David’s troops out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. The two groups sat down there, facing each other from opposite sides of the pool.

14 Then Abner suggested to Joab, “Let’s have a few of our warriors fight hand to hand here in front of us.”

“All right,” Joab agreed. 15 So twelve men were chosen to fight from each side—twelve men of Benjamin representing Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve representing David. 16 Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other’s side so that all of them died. So this place at Gibeon has been known ever since as the Field of Sharp Swords.

17 A fierce battle followed that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the forces of David.

The Death of Asahel

18 Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle, 19 and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything. 20 When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?”

“Yes, it is,” he replied.

21 “Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner.

22 Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?”

23 But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrust the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there.

24 When Joab and Abishai found out what had happened, they set out after Abner. The sun was just going down as they arrived at the hill of Ammah near Giah, along the road to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 Abner’s troops from the tribe of Benjamin regrouped there at the top of the hill to take a stand.

26 Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?”

27 Then Joab said, “God only knows what would have happened if you hadn’t spoken, for we would have chased you all night if necessary.” 28 So Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men stopped chasing the troops of Israel.

29 All that night Abner and his men retreated through the Jordan Valley. They crossed the Jordan River, traveling all through the morning, and didn’t stop until they arrived at Mahanaim.

30 Meanwhile, Joab and his men also returned home. When Joab counted his casualties, he discovered that only 19 men were missing in addition to Asahel. 31 But 360 of Abner’s men had been killed, all from the tribe of Benjamin. 32 Joab and his men took Asahel’s body to Bethlehem and buried him there in his father’s tomb. Then they traveled all night and reached Hebron at daybreak.

2 Samuel 2 NLT

Points to Ponder

  • David asks God where he should go next. A very wise idea.
  • God’s responses were clear, short and sweet.
  • Even though David was anointed by Samuel when he was a young shepherd, he gets a fresh anointing from the men, probably elders, of Judah. They knew that David was the true king. We born-again believers need a fresh anointing every so often. Even though we have the Holy Spirit in our hearts and at our beck and call, many times the distractions of the world clutter up our signal and we need a tune up. That could be through a day of fasting and praying, a retreat or a getaway off the grid to refresh and restore our souls. We need to always be in-line with what God wants for our lives. Sometimes we don’t get clear, concise answers like David did. So we have to quiet ourselves and listen for God’s voice.
  • Ishbosheth’s name means “man of shame”. He was a weak leader and a puppet king. (Hmm, kind of mirrors our puppet president.)
  • The person pulling his strings was General Abner, who was strong and powerful.
  • Joab, David’s general, had two brothers. One of them, Asahel, was a fast runner and was determined to chase and catch Abner. However, he became an adrenaline junkie and being young and inexperienced, he ended up losing his life over a foolish pursuit. He got caught up in the thrill of the chase. The pursuit of a dream could become a nightmare if not guided by God.

Guided by the Holy Spirit

Are your dreams and pursuits guided by the Holy Spirit? Do they have God’s anointing — God’s approval? Is it worth it? What will you gain if you lose your…

  • life
  • health
  • family
  • marriage
  • relationships
  • dignity
  • integrity
  • good character
  • good reputation
  • soul

There are times when you need to realize when to back off. That it’s NOT worth it.

Do You Have the Holy Spirit in Your Heart?

Not sure? Then simply humble yourself and…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

The Potter’s Hand

Over 16 years ago, I put my life in God’s hands as I drove from Florida to Arizona. I had no idea what to expect or what He had in store for me. This was my life-song that helped carry me through. I realized that I cannot manage my life by myself. I need God’s guidance and wisdom every minute of every day….



Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

Jesus’ Predictions of the End Times in Matthew 24 are Being Fulfilled!

Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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