2 Samuel 2:20
Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Are you Asahel? And he answered, I am.
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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. 2Sa 2:19-32. Asahel Slain.

19-32. Asahel pursued after Abner—To gain the general's armor was deemed the grandest trophy. Asahel, ambitious of securing Abner's, had outstripped all other pursuers, and was fast gaining on the retreating commander. Abner, conscious of possessing more physical power, and unwilling that there should be "blood" between himself and Joab, Asahel's brother, twice urged him to desist. The impetuous young soldier being deaf to the generous remonstrance, the veteran raised the pointed butt of his lance, as the modern Arabs do when pursued, and, with a sudden back thrust, transfixed him on the spot, so that he fell, and lay weltering in his blood. But Joab and Abishai continued the pursuit by another route till sunset. On reaching a rising ground, and receiving a fresh reinforcement of some Benjamites, Abner rallied his scattered troops and earnestly appealed to Joab's better feelings to stop the further effusion of blood, which, if continued, would lead to more serious consequences—a destructive civil war. Joab, while upbraiding his opponent as the sole cause of the fray, felt the force of the appeal and led off his men; while Abner probably dreading a renewal of the attack when Joab should learn his brother's fate, and vow fierce revenge, endeavored, by a forced march, to cross the Jordan that night. On David's side the loss was only nineteen men, besides Asahel. But of Ish-bosheth's party there fell three hundred and sixty. This skirmish is exactly similar to the battles of the Homeric warriors, among whom, in the flight of one, the pursuit by another, and the dialogue held between them, there is vividly represented the style of ancient warfare.

No text from Poole on this verse. Then Abner looked behind him,.... Perceiving one at his heels, and making haste up to him.

And said, art thou Asahel? for it seems he knew him personally, being well acquainted with his family:

and he answered, I am; so that they were very near to each other, as to discourse together, and be heard and understood by each other.

Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Art thou Asahel? And he answered, I am.
Abner then proposed to Joab that the contest should be decided by a single combat, probably for the purpose of avoiding an actual civil war. "Let the young men arise and wrestle before us." שׂחק, to joke or play, is used here to denote the war-play of single combat. As Joab accepted this proposal, twelve young warriors for Benjamin and Ishbosheth, and twelve from David's men, went over, i.e., went out of the two camps to the appointed scene of conflict; "and one seized the other's head, and his sword was (immediately) in the side of the other (his antagonist), so that they fell together." The clause רעהוּ בּצד וחרבּו is a circumstantial clause: and his sword (every one's sword) was in the side of the other, i.e., thrust into it. Sending the sword into the opponent's side is thus described as simultaneous with the seizure of his head. The ancient translators expressed the meaning by supplying a verb (ἐνέπηξαν, defixit: lxx, Vulg.). This was a sign that the young men on both sides fought with great ferocity, and also with great courage. The place itself received the name of Helkath-hazzurim, "field of the sharp edges," in consequence (for this use of zur, see Psalm 89:44).
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