Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.4. Abner’s Deeds and End
1. The long war and its results (2Samuel 3:1)
2. David’s family (2Samuel 3:2-5)
3. Abner’s defiant deed (2Samuel 3:6-7)
4. Abner and Ish-bosheth (2Samuel 3:8-11)
5. Abner’s defection to David (2Samuel 3:12)
6. David’s request (2Samuel 3:13-16)
7. Abner with David (2Samuel 3:17-22)
8. Abner’s end (2Samuel 3:23-30)
9. David’s lamentation over Abner (2Samuel 3:31-39)
The first verse speaks of the long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David waxed stronger and stronger. The weakness of the king in giving way to the flesh is next faithfully recorded; his self-indulgence in his different marriages. Alas! he began his sowing in the flesh from which later he was to reap such a sad harvest. Six sons are mentioned, born to David by his six wives. Three of these sons became a source of sorrow and grief to him. Ammon’s vile deed is found in chapter 13. Absalom was a still greater trial to him, Adonijah became the rival of Solomon (1Kings 1:5). In this record of taking these different women as wives, in this gross indulgence of the flesh, he prepared himself for the great sin of his life. Disorder and much confusion followed. Abner’s deed in taking Rizpah insulted Saul’s house and Ish-bosheth protested and Abner’s fury came upon the weakling whom he had made king. Then suddenly Abner professed belief in David’s God-given kingdom. His arrogant pride is seen in verse 10; as if it was in his power to set up the throne of David over all Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba. The poor counterfeit king was silenced. Then we see Abner entering negotiations with David. Had David again relapsed that he fell in with Abner? We do not hear a word that he inquired of the Lord. He makes a condition under which Abner is to see his face. Michal, Saul’s daughter, the first wife he had, who was now the wife of Phaltiell is to be brought to him. He then received her after his request to Ish-bosheth, while her husband accompanied her as far as the border of Judah. The subsequent history, Michal’s mockery, shows that it was a mistake for David to take her back. How different all would have been if David had inquired of the Lord.
Abner, the shrewd schemer, was then entertained by David in a great banquet at which occasion he offered to make David ruler over all Israel. And David listened and sent him away in peace. But was it God’s way and God’s plan to have His anointed made king through such an instrument? Abner’s death frustrating his plans gives the answer. Joab, moved by envy, jealousy and bitter hatred, slew Abner in the same way as he had slain his brother Asahel. He died for the blood of Asahel he had shed. An insinuation is made as if Joab’s deed was justified as the avenger. This however could not be sustained by the law for Abner’s death in slaying Asahel was in self-defence. But David cleared himself from so abominable a deed. “I and my kingdom are guiltless before the LORD forever from the blood of Abner.” A public mourning is instituted in which Joab is forced to partake and the king lamented over Abner. “And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them, as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people.” The king’s wise behaviour had its effect upon the people and thus his kingdom was strengthened.