2 Samuel 2:18
And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe.
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2 Samuel 2:18-19. Three sons of Zeruiah — She was David’s sister, and therefore these were his nephews. Asahel was light of foot as a wild roe — He was a gallant man, and one of David’s twelve captains, remarkably valiant, but more remarkably swift. Asahel pursued after Abner — Being desirous of the glory, either of taking or killing the greatest man in Israel.

2:18-24 Death often comes by ways we least suspect. We are often betrayed by the accomplishments we are proud of! Asahel's swiftness, which he presumed so much upon, did him no service, but hastened his end.Neither side had the advantage in the combat of twelve a side; hence, the quarrel was fought out with great fierceness by the two armies, and the victory was won by David. 14. Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us—Some think that the proposal was only for an exhibition of a little tilting match for diversion. Others suppose that, both parties being reluctant to commence a civil war, Abner proposed to leave the contest to the decision of twelve picked men on either side. This fight by championship instead of terminating the matter, inflamed the fiercest passions of the two rival parties; a general engagement ensued, in which Abner and his forces were defeated and put to flight. No text from Poole on this verse.

And there were three sons of Zeruiah there,.... In the battle:

Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel; Joab was the general of the array, Abishai was he who went into Saul's host at night, and took away his spear and cruse of water at his head, 1 Samuel 26:6; and it is for the sake of the third, Asahel, that the account is given, the story of his death being about to be told.

And Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe: swiftness of foot, as well as courage, for which this man was famous, 1 Chronicles 11:26; was a very great qualification for a warrior (e). So Achilles, in Homer (f), is often said to be swift of foot, and others of his heroes are commended for their swiftness. Harold son of King Canutus, was from his swiftness (g) called Harefoot; as here this man for the same reason is compared to a wild roe, which is a very swift creature, or to one of the roes that were in the field as in the original text. See Sol 2:7; one sort of which, called "kemas", is said to run as swift as a tempest (h).

(e) Cornel. Nepos, Epaminond. l. 2.((f) , Iliad. 1. lin. 15. (g) Rapin's History of England, vol. 1. p. 128. (h) Aelian. Hist. de Animal, l. 14. c. 14.

And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe.
18–23. The Death of Asahel

18. three sons of Zeruiah] The standing designation of David’s nephews, to shew their relationship to him (1 Chronicles 2:16).

as a wild roe] The wild roe or gazelle, which still abounds in Palestine, is celebrated for its swiftness, grace, beauty, and gentleness. Cp. 1 Chronicles 12:8; Proverbs 6:5. See Tristram’s Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 127.

2 Samuel 2:18As this single combat decided nothing, there followed a general and very sore or fierce battle, in which Abner and his troops were put to flight by the soldiers of David. The only thing connected with this, of which we have any further account, is the slaughter of Asahel by Abner, which is mentioned here (2 Samuel 2:18-23) on account of the important results which followed. Of the three sons of Zeruiah, viz., Joab, Abishai, and Asahel, Asahel was peculiarly light of foot, like one of the gazelles; and he pursued Abner most eagerly, without turning aside to the right or to the left.
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