2 Samuel 4:1
And when Saul's son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
IV.

(1) All the Israelites were troubled.—The death of Abner affected both Ish-bosheth and his people. For the former, “his hands were feeble,” the whole support and strength of his throne being gone; the latter were “troubled” because they had been carrying on negotiations with David through Abner, and these were now thrown into confusion, and it became uncertain how they might result.

2 Samuel 4:1. His hands were feeble — He was greatly dismayed, as well he might be; for he was in effect disarmed; he had lost both his sword and his shield in Abner. And all the Israelites were troubled — That is, all those who were united to the interest of Ish-bosheth, and probably many others also; for they had lost their great and powerful agent with David; the man in whom both he and they confided; the man who, from his authority and credit, both with the army and the people, was best able to conduct and confirm the league then agreed to on both sides. They feared that, through his death, this treaty would be broken off, or that it would not be managed with so much prudence as Abner would have used; that the fall of this great man would produce some important change, and they were apprehensive it might be of a disastrous kind.4:1-7 See how Ishbosheth was murdered! When those difficulties dispirit us, which should sharpen our endeavours, we betray both our heavenly crowns and our earthly lives. Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty and ruin. The idle soul is an easy prey to the destroyer. We know not when and where death will meet us. When we lie down to sleep, we are not sure that we may not sleep the sleep of death before we awake; nor do we know from what hand the death-blow may come.To eat meat ... - Fasting was a sign of the deepest mourning 2 Samuel 1:12. The fast lasted until the sun was set. CHAPTER 4

2Sa 4:1, 2. Baanah and Rechab Slay Ish-bosheth, and Bring His Head to Hebron.Ish-bosheth and his party are astonished at Abner’s death, 2 Samuel 1:7. Two captains murder Ish-bosheth, and bring his head to David, 2 Samuel 4:2-8; who caused them to be put to death, and hanged up; and Ish-bosheth’s head to be buried, 2 Samuel 4:9-12.

His hands were feeble; his spirit, and courage, and strength failed him. This phrase is used in the same sense Ezra 4:1 Nehemiah 6:9 Isaiah 13:7 35:3. The Israelites were troubled, because now they were unable to oppose David, and doubtful of obtaining his favour, now Abner their peace-maker was dead.

And when Saul's son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron,.... By Saul's son is meant Ishbosheth, to whom tidings were soon brought of the death of Abner his general, and that he died in Hebron, where David his rival reigned, and was there murdered by Joab the general of his army:

his hands were feeble: not only in a natural sense, being quite dispirited at hearing such news; but in a civil sense, having lost his main support and strength, he being president of his council, and commander of his forces, and in whom he placed all his confidence: and if he knew nothing of his being at Hebron, it must surprise him to hear of his dying there; from whence he might conclude, that since he was there without his knowledge, it could not be in his favour, some plot was forming, and schemes laying with his rival to dethrone him; or if he knew of it, and understood it in this light, that he was endeavouring to make peace between him and David, and upon advantageous terms to him, of which now he might entertain no hopes; he was dispirited, and might conclude that Joab was against any terms at peace, and therefore had dispatched him:

and all the Israelites were troubled; at the loss of so great a man in their kingdom, and of whose designs to unite them to Judah, and put them under the government David, they were not ignorant; but now were in the utmost confusion, not knowing what step to take, and whom to send to carry on the treaty, in which Abner was concerned; and whether it would be safe for any to go upon it, since he who had the management of it was murdered, and no justice done on the murderer, and therefore might question David's sincerity and uprightness in this affair; these things greatly distressed and embarrassed them for the present, but Providence opened a way for their future establishment and prosperity.

And when Saul's {a} son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were {b} feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled.

(a) That is, Ishbosheth.

(b) Meaning, that he was discouraged.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ch. 2 Samuel 4:1-7. The Murder of Ish-bosheth

1. his hands were feeble] His hands were weakened. His resolution was paralysed: he lost heart. Cp. Ezra 4:4, and the opposite expression in ch. 2 Samuel 2:7.

were troubled] Were dismayed. Ish-bosheth was a mere puppet, and Abner the real stay of the kingdom.The first strophe (2 Samuel 3:33) is an expression of painful lamentation at the fact that Abner had died a death which he did not deserve. "The fool" (nabal) is "the ungodly," according to Israelitish ideas (vid., Psalm 14:1). The meaning of 2 Samuel 3:34 is: Thou hadst not made thyself guilty of any crime, so as to have to die like a malefactor, in chains and bonds; but thou hast been treacherously murdered. This dirge made such an impression upon all the people (present), that they wept still more for the dead.
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