|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-6 The length of this war tried the faith and patience of David, and made his settlement at last the more welcome. The contest between grace and corruption in the hearts of believers, may fitly be compared to this warfare. There is a long war between them, the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; but as the work of holiness is carried on, corruption, like the house of Saul, grows weaker and weaker; while grace, like the house of David, grows stronger and stronger.
Verse 1. - There was long war. As Ishbosheth reigned only two years, and as "the house of Saul" is the phrase used, it seems probable that after Ishbosheth's murder, during the five years before David's election to the throne of all Israel, the house of Saul had some puppet representative at Mahanaim, and some commander in Abner's place. But after the death of this able man matters would go from bad to worse, and, though David probably remained on the defensive, yet the contrast between the peace and good government of Judah and the misery in Israel made all the tribes wish to put an end to a harassing civil war. It is plain, too, that the Philistines, repelled at first by Abner's skill, had again gained the ascendant, and regarded themselves so completely as the rulers of the country, that they resented immediately with summary violence the bold act of the northern tribes in choosing David to be their common king.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David,.... The recent battle, though so much in favour of David, did not, put an end to the war between him and Ishbosheth, which lasted five years longer; for it was when Ishbosheth had reigned two years that that battle was fought, and he reigned five years longer; for not till his death, and when David had reigned above seven years in Hebron, was he made king over all Israel; and during this time peace was not made, but the war carried on; though perhaps not in pitched battles, of which we no more read, but in skirmishes:
but David waxed stronger and stronger; he having the advantage in all such skirmishes, and persons continually coming over to his side from the several tribes:
and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker: being always worsted whenever they skirmished with David's men, and by continual revolts from them. This is reckoned an emblem of the kingdoms of Christ and antichrist, the one increasing more and more, as it has and will do, and the other decreasing, and before long will be consumed; and of the two parties in a regenerate man, grace and indwelling sin, the one as to its exercise growing stronger and stronger, and the other as to its influence on the outward conversation weaker and weaker.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2Sa 3:1-5. Six Sons Born to David.
1. there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David—The rival parties had varying success, but David's interest steadily increased; less, however, by the fortunes of war, than a growing adherence to him as the divinely designated king.
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