2 Samuel 2:13
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.
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(13) Joab the son of Zeruiah.—Zeruiah was David’s sister (1Chronicles 2:16), and Joab the most prominent of her three distinguished sons. Subsequently, by his successful leading of the forlorn hope in the siege of Jerusalem (1Chronicles 11:6; comp. 2Samuel 5:8), he became permanently established as commanaer-in-chief of David’s army. He was undoubtedly among “the brethren of David” who came down to him at the cave of Adullam (1Samuel 22:1), though he is not mentioned by name, like his brother Abishai (1Samuel 26:6-9), in the narrative of David’s outlawry.

The pool of Gibeon is a large reservoir or tank, arranged to store the overflow from a subterranean reservoir fed by a spring in the rocky hill-side. Its ruins still remain, about 120 feet long by 100 broad. The hostile forces halted in full sight of each other on the opposite sides of the pool.

2:8-17. The nation in general refused David. By this the Lord trained up his servant for future honour and usefulness; and the tendency of true godliness was shown in his behaviour while passing through various difficulties. David was herein a type of Christ, whom Israel would not submit to, though anointed of the Father to be a Prince and a Saviour to them. Abner meant, Let the young men fight before us, when he said, Let them play before us: fools thus make a mock at sin. But he is unworthy the name of a man, that can thus trifle with human blood.On the east of the hill (El-jib, the ancient Gibeon) is a copious spring, which issues in a cave excavated in the limestone rock, so as to form a large reservoir. In the trees further down are the remains of a pool or tank of considerable size (120 feet by 110 feet). This is doubtless "the pool of Gibeon."

Sat down - i. e. halted and encamped.

12. Abner … and the servants of Ish-bosheth … went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon—This town was near the confines of Judah, and as the force with which Abner encamped there seemed to have some aggressive design, David sent an army of observation, under the command of Joab, to watch his movements. Went out, to battle.

Quest. How could or durst this one tribe oppose all the rest?

Answ. First, This tribe was very numerous and valiant of themselves, and they had a king of extraordinary courage, and conduct, and success. Secondly, There were great numbers of the other tribes which favoured them, as appears from 1Ch 12. Thirdly, They had the encouragement of special promises of God, made both to their tribe and to David.

Met together, i. e. met the opposite army, and put themselves into a posture for battle.

And Joab the son of Zeruiah,.... A sister of David, and this her son was general of David's army:

and the servants of David, went out; that is, his army went out from Hebron to Gibeon, which was twenty four miles (d) to meet that under Abner; for though he had but one tribe with him, and Ishbosheth had all the rest, yet Judah was a numerous, powerful, and warlike tribe; and besides many out of the other tribes had joined them, and, above all, God was on their side, and they had his promise to rely upon with respect to the establishment of the kingdom in the house of David, and his power and providence to trust in, and therefore went out boldly and cheerfully to meet the armies of Israel under Abner:

and met together by the pool of Gibeon; the same perhaps with the great waters in Gibeon, Jeremiah 41:12,

and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool; facing one another, and watching each other's motions.

(d) Bunting's Travels, p. 146.

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.
13. Joab the son of Zeruiah] The eldest of David’s three nephews, the son of his sister Zeruiah (1 Chronicles 2:16). Next to the king himself he occupies the most conspicuous position in the history of David’s reign. Already he appears to have acted as commander-in-chief of the army, though his formal appointment to that post was the reward of his valour at the capture of Jebus (1 Chronicles 11:6; 2 Samuel 8:16). In this capacity he (a) conducted the war against the Syrians and Ammonites (2 Samuel 10:7); (b) completed the conquest of Edom (1 Kings 11:15-16); (c) defeated the Ammonites in a second war, and took their capital (2 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 12:26).

With a too ready subservience he carried out David’s plan for getting rid of Uriah (2 Samuel 11:14 ff.), a service which increased his influence over David, by giving him the possession of his guilty secret. (See Blunt’s Undesigned Coincidences, Part II. ch. II.) We find Him scheming to secure the restoration of Absalom to David’s favour (2 Samuel 14), yet remaining loyal to David in Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 18:2).

The vindictive unscrupulousness of his character is illustrated by his murder of Abner in revenge for the death of Asahel (2 Samuel 3:27); of Absalom, in spite of David’s express command (2 Samuel 18:14); of Amasa, who was appointed to supersede him (2 Samuel 20:10).

Too valuable to be dispensed with, too fierce to be controlled, he was a continual source of vexation to David (2 Samuel 3:39), who gave Solomon a dying charge not to leave his crimes unpunished (1 Kings 2:5-6). His complicity in Adonijah’s rebellion filled up the measure of his iniquity, and he met a traitor’s death in spite of his taking sanctuary at the altar in Gibeon (1 Kings 2:28-34).

by the pool of Gibeon] “A few rods from the village [of El-Jib], just below the top of the ridge towards the north, is a fine fountain of water. It is in a cave excavated in and under the high rock, so as to form a large subterranean reservoir. Not far below it, among the olive trees, are the remains of another open reservoir, perhaps 120 feet in length by 100 in breadth.” Robinson, Bibl. Res. I. 455. The “pool of Gibeon” may well be the waters of this fountain and reservoir. It is again referred to in Jeremiah 41:12 as “the great waters that are in Gibeon.”

they sat down] i.e. halted and encamped.

Verse 13. - The pool of Gibson. As Gibeon, which lay about six miles northwest from Jerusalem, was twenty-six miles distant from Hebron, and about the same distance from Mahauaim, it is plain that David knew of Abner's march. Possibly he had been summoned to yield his kingdom up to Ishbosheth as the rightful lord, but, while taking no measures to extend his rule, he felt himself justified in defending his election to be king ever Judah. The pool of Gibeon is described by Robinson ('Researches,' 2:136) as "an open tank about a hundred and twenty feet in length and a hundred in breadth, surrounded by a grove of olive trees. Above it, excavated in the rock, is a subterranean reservoir, to receive the water from a copious spring, from which the overflow descends into the tank below." As neither party was willing to shed the first blood in a civil war, of which the Philistines would reap the benefit, they both halted in sight of one another on opposite sides of the hill, with the tank below them in the middle. 2 Samuel 2:13War between the supporters of Ishbosheth and those of David. - 2 Samuel 2:12, 2 Samuel 2:13. When Abner had brought all Israel under the dominion of Ishbosheth, he also sought to make Judah subject to him, and went with this intention from Mahanaim to Gibeon, the present Jib, in the western portion of the tribe of Benjamin, two good hours to the north of Jerusalem (see at Joshua 9:3), taking with him the servants, i.e., the fighting men, of Ishbosheth. There Joab, a son of Zeruiah, David's sister (1 Chronicles 2:16), advanced to meet him with the servants, i.e., the warriors of David; and the two armies met at the pool of Gibeon, i.e., probably one of the large reservoirs that are still to be found there (see Rob. Pal. ii. pp. 135-6; Tobler, Topogr. v. Jerusalem, ii. pp. 515-6), the one encamping upon the one side of the pool and the other upon the other.
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