Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron.2. David Anointed King over Judah
1. David’s inquiry of the Lord (2Samuel 2:1-3)
2. Anointed king over Judah (2Samuel 2:4)
3. His message to the men of Jabesh-gilead (2Samuel 2:5-7)
The first thing mentioned of David after his lamentation over Saul and Jonathan is that he inquired of the Lord. He would not do a single step towards claiming the rights which belonged to him without consulting the Lord. It shows how David, with all his faults, was in submission to the Lord. He waits on the Lord ready to follow His guidance and in this David acknowledged his complete dependence on Him who had chosen him as His King over His people. In this he is a type also of our Lord Jesus. The answer came to him at once that he was to go up into the cities of Judah. Then the men of Judah came and anointed him king over the house of Judah. There is nothing ostentatious about it nor does he take any steps whatever to extend his God-given rights beyond the tribe of Judah. His first act as king was to thank the men of Jabesh-gilead for the kindness they had done in the burial of Saul. He also exhorted them to be strong and announced his kingship over Judah.
But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim;3. Abner’s Revolt and the War which Followed
1. Abner makes Ish-bosheth king over Israel (2Samuel 2:8-11)
2. The defeat of Abner (2Samuel 2:12-17)
3. Abner and Joab and Joab’s victory (2Samuel 2:18-32)
God’s king began his reign in quietness, and opposition and open revolt followed at once. Abner, who had been the captain of Saul’s host, took a son of Saul by the name of Ish-bosheth and made him king in Gilead. The original name of this son was “Esh-baal,” which means “the fire of Baal” (1Chronicles 8:33). “Ish-bosheth” was his other name; it means “man of shame.” He seems to have been a weakling and a tool in Abner’s hand. Ish-bosheth’s influence was soon extended over all Israel and the false King ruled, while David was only acknowledged by the faithful men of Judah. David’s reign over Judah was seven years and six months. Here are faint hints of what will be repeated in the future history of Israel. Another Ish-bosheth, a pretender to the throne of Israel, the false king, will be in the earth. He comes in his own name, with no claim whatever to the throne. And the true King, like David, will only be acknowledged by a faithful remnant of his people. The seven years and a half remind us of the last period of Israel’s history when these things come to pass. However, Ish-bosheth’s weakness and especially his end makes a fuller application on these lines impossible.
The other prominent person is Joab, the son of Zeruiah, who went out with the servants of David. (Joab was David’s nephew. See 1Samuel 26:6; 1Chronicles 2:16.) They met Abner’s force about six miles northwest of Jerusalem by the pool of Gibeon. Then followed at Abner’s suggestion a conflict between twelve young men of Benjamin, the subjects of Ish-bosheth, and twelve of David’s servants. A wicked scene followed. They slaughtered each other at Helkathhazzurim, “the field of sharp swords,” after which there was a severe battle which ended with the defeat of Abner. All this shows the sorrowful conditions which existed among Israel, foreshadowing again the worse conditions throughout this age and especially at the close of it. Then follows the record of the three sons of Zeruiah, Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Asahel followed hard after Abner and though repeatedly warned by Abner, continued in his pursuit till Abner in self-defense slew him. The battle ended with the loss of nineteen servants of David and Asahel, while Abner lost 360 men. “Shall the sword devour forever?” was Abner’s question. As long as God’s true King does not occupy the throne, ruling in righteousness and in peace, wars and bloodshed will continue. The sword cannot be stopped till He reigns. In His coming kingdom nations will learn war no more and beat their swords into plowshares.