The Death of Abner

Scripture Passage: 
2 Samuel 3:1-39

INTRODUCTION: Joab behaves the opposite of his cousin David. David waits for God to revenge him against his enemy Saul. David trusts that the Lord will, in His time, make things right (1 Samuel 26:9-10). Joab also has an enemy. Abner had killed Joab’s brother Asahel in battle (2 Samuel 2:21-23). Joab cannot wait for the Lord, but must exact his own vengeance. But, in doing so, he brings a curse upon himself and his household. Both the Old and New Testaments teach us to leave vengeance to the Lord (Leviticus 19:18; Proverbs 24:29; Romans 12:19). In this lesson, children should be taught what vengeance is and that they should not revenge wrongs done to them.

  1. DAVID ESTABLISHES HIS KINGDOM IN HEBRON (2 Samuel 3:1-5)
    1. His Warfare (2 Samuel 3:1)
      1. There was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David.
      2. The war continually favors the house of David.
        1. The house of David waxes stronger.
        2. The house of Saul waxes weaker.
    2. His Wives and Children (2 Samuel 3:2-5)
      1. Amnon, the son of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess (2 Samuel 3:2)
      2. Chileab, the son of Abigail (2 Samuel 3:3)
      3. Absalom, the son of Maacah (2 Samuel 3:3)
      4. Adonijah, the son of Haggith (2 Samuel 3:4)
      5. Shephatiah, the son of Abital (2 Samuel 3:4)
      6. Ithream, the son of Eglah (2 Samuel 3:5)
  2. ABNER ESTABLISHES HIS POWER IN ISRAEL (2 Samuel 3:6-11)
    1. The Rise of Abner (2 Samuel 3:6)
      1. Abner makes himself strong for the house of Saul.
      2. This is not a godly strength, but a rebellious desire for power.
    2. Abner’s Angry Response to Ish-bosheth (2 Samuel 3:7-8); compare this with similar stories: 2 Samuel 16:21-22; 1 Kings 2:17-25.
      1. Ish-bosheth questions Abner’s actions with Saul’s concubine (2 Samuel 3:7).
      2. Abner questions Ish-bosheth’s right to question him (2 Samuel 3:8).
    3. Abner’s Threat to Deliver the Kingdom (2 Samuel 3:9-10)
      1. Abner makes a vow to translate the kingdom into the hands of David (2 Samuel 3:9-10).
      2. Note:  The word translate is only used in three verses in the Bible.
        1. Its biblical usage
          1. 2 Samuel 3:10 – Abner threatens to translate the kingdom from the house of Saul to the house of David
          2. Colossians 1:13 – God has translated us into the kingdom of His Son
          3. Hebrews 11:5 – Enoch is translated from earth to heaven
        2. Its biblical meaning
          1. To transfer from one place or condition to another intact; in Enoch’s case, he went to heaven without dying.
          2. Compare to our modern use of putting a text of one language into another. It moves from the one to the other, but it does not cease to be what it was in the original. In fact, the outcome in each case is better than it was before it was translated.
    4. Ish-bosheth’s Fear of Abner (2 Samuel 3:11)
      1. Ish-bosheth would no longer answer Abner.
      2. He feared the threats of Abner.
  3. ABNER SENDS MICHAL TO DAVID (2 Samuel 3:12-16)
    1. Abner Opens Negotiations with David (2 Samuel 3:12).
      1. Abner sends messengers to David on his behalf.
      2. He offers his help to bring the kingdom into David’s hands.
    2. David Requires Michal as a Precondition (2 Samuel 3:13).
      1. David offers to make a league with Abner if he will bring Michal.
      2. David fought for the right to marry Michal (1 Samuel 18:27-28).
      3. Saul gave Michal to Phalti instead of David (1 Samuel 25:44).
    3. Ish-bosheth Sends Michal to David (2 Samuel 3:14-16).
      1. David requests Michal at the hand of Ish-bosheth (2 Samuel 3:14).
      2. Michal is taken from her husband (2 Samuel 3:15).
      3. Abner sends Michal’s husband home (2 Samuel 3:16).
  4. DAVID MAKES PEACE WITH ABNER (2 Samuel 3:17-21)
    1. Abner Negotiates with the Elders of Israel (2 Samuel 3:17-18).
      1. Abner opens communications with the elders of Israel (2 Samuel 3:17).
      2. He encourages the elders to take David as their king (2 Samuel 3:17-18).
    2. Abner Negotiates with the House of Benjamin (2 Samuel 3:19).
    3. Abner Negotiates with King David (2 Samuel 3:20-21).
      1. Abner and David meet in Hebron (2 Samuel 3:20).
      2. Abner pledges his help in gathering Israel unto David (2 Samuel 3:21).
  5. JOAB SLAYS ABNER IN REVENGE (2 Samuel 3:22-27)
    1. Joab Returns and Hears of Abner’s Visit (2 Samuel 3:22-23).
      1. Joab and David’s servants return from a great spoil (2 Samuel 3:22).
      2. Joab is informed of Abner’s visit (2 Samuel 3:23).
    2. Joab Accuses Abner before David (2 Samuel 3:24-25).
    3. Joab Calls Abner Back to Hebron (2 Samuel 3:26).
      1. Joab sends messengers to bring Abner again.
      2. David has no knowledge of Joab’s actions.
    4. Joab Kills Abner in the Gate (2 Samuel 3:27).
      1. Abner returns to Hebron.
      2. Joab kills Abner in the gate of Hebron.
      3. Note: The protection offered in the cities of refuge (Numbers 35:24-34)
        1. For the manslayer (Numbers 35:24-29)
        2. Not for the murderer (Numbers 35:30-34)
      4. Note: When a murderer was allowed to go free, the unrevenged blood that he shed defiled the land. Even in the case of unsolved murders, a sacrifice was to be made for the land (Deuteronomy 21:1-9). This defilement of the land eventually led to its destruction by the judgment of God (see Leviticus 18:25; Deuteronomy 19:10; 2 Kings 24:4; Psalm 106:38; Ezekiel 22:3-4).
      5. Note: Abner died as a fool because he was in the gate of Hebron, one of the cities of refuge, when Joab killed him for the killing of Asahel.
  6. DAVID PRONOUNCES A CURSE ON JOAB’S HOUSE (2 Samuel 3:28-30)
    1. David Declares the Place of Guilt (2 Samuel 3:28-29).
      1. He declares the innocence of him and his kingdom (2 Samuel 3:28).
      2. He calls for the punishment of guilt to be upon the house of Joab (2 Samuel 3:29).
        1. He declares that every child in the house of Joab should have an issue.
        2. He names some of the issues:
          1. Leprosy
          2. Leaning upon a staff
          3. Falling upon the sword
          4. Lacking bread
    2. Asahel’s Blood Is Revenged (2 Samuel 3:30).
      1. Joab and Abishai conspire in the killing of Abner.
      2. They kill him to revenge the blood of their brother.
  7. DAVID MOURNS THE DEATH OF ABNER (2 Samuel 3:31-39)
    1. David Mourns Abner’s Death (2 Samuel 3:31-32).
      1. David calls for mourning from Joab and his men (2 Samuel 3:31).
      2. David is moved at the burial of Abner (2 Samuel 3:31-32).
        1. He follows the bier (2 Samuel 3:31; see Luke 7:14).
        2. He lifts up his voice and weeps at the grave (2 Samuel 3:32).
    2. David Laments over Abner (2 Samuel 3:33-34).
      1. David presents a lamentation for Abner (2 Samuel 3:33-34).
        1. He died as a fool dieth (2 Samuel 3:33).
        2. His hands and feet were not bound (2 Samuel 3:34).
        3. He fell as a man falls before wicked men (2 Samuel 3:34).
      2. The people weep over Abner (2 Samuel 3:34).
    3. David Fasts until Evening (2 Samuel 3:35-37).
      1. David refuses food till the sun goes down (2 Samuel 3:35).
      2. David’s actions please the people (2 Samuel 3:36-37).
    4. David Speaks Out against the Injustice (2 Samuel 3:38-39).
      1. He speaks well of Abner (2 Samuel 3:38).
      2. He speaks of judgment for the sons of Zeruiah (2 Samuel 3:39).

CONCLUSION: At a time when David should be rejoicing, he finds himself mourning yet another miscarriage of justice.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 20:4

The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.