2 Samuel 2:26
Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? know you not that it will be bitterness in the latter end?…
Here we have an inquiry which ought to be put under all circumstances that are doubtful, and especially under all circumstances that are marked by selfishness or disregard of the interests of others. The question never is, what is the present feeling, but what will be the ultimate condition. There is night as well as morning, and the darkness must be considered as certainly as the light. What do things grow to? What is the latter end? If a man sow good seed he will reap good fruit. He who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind.
1. This question may be put to every man who is pursuing evil courses: — Say to the indolent, "Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end?" — say to the drunkard the same thing; say to the debauchee, whose whole thought is taken up with the satisfaction of his passions, the same thing; say also to the gambler, the adventurer, to the man who is boasting immediate success founded upon immoral courses, "Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end?" Remind every one that there is a latter end; that there is a war in which there is no discharge; that there is an audit in which we must give up every account, every voucher, and undergo Divine judgment. The whole of our life should be conducted under the consciousness of its latter end.
3. This need not becloud our prospects, depress our spirits, or take the inspiration out of our action: a man may so contemplate his latter end as to know nothing of melancholy; he may rather see in it the beginning of the blessedness that is pure and immortal. We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be bad.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren?
WEB: Then Abner called to Joab, and said, "Shall the sword devour forever? Don't you know that it will be bitterness in the latter end? How long shall it be then, before you ask the people to return from following their brothers?"