We may expect, one upon another,
trials of our faith in the promises of God and of our patience,
whether we can wait God’s time for the performances of the promises.
II Samuel 1
1 And it came to pass after this, that David enquired 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 So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal’s wife the Carmelite.
3 And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.
4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabesh-gilead were they that buried Saul.
5 ¶ And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the LORD, that ye have shewed this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him.
6 And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing.
7 Therefore now let your hands be strengthened, and be ye valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.
8 ¶ But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim;
9 And made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.
10 Ish-bosheth Saul’s son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.
11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
12 ¶ And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out, and met together by the pool of Gibeon: and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.
14 And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise.
15 Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which pertained to Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.
16 And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side; so they fell down together: wherefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon.
17 And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.
18 ¶ And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe.
19 And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner.
20 Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Art thou Asahel? And he answered, I am.
21 And Abner said to him, Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take thee his armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from following of him.
22 And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me: wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? how then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother?
23 Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place: and it came to pass, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still.
24 Joab also and Abishai pursued after Abner: and the sun went down when they were come to the hill of Ammah, that lieth before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.
25 ¶ And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill.
26 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?
27 And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother.
28 So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more.
29 And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and they came to Mahanaim.
30 And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel.
31 But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner’s men, so that three hundred and threescore men died.
32 ¶ And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Beth-lehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
II Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Samuel 2:1-11 – A Divided People
David’s habit of inquiring of the Lord was not discontinued when he ascended the throne. He allowed his steps still to be ordered by the Lord, who delighted in His servant’s way. From how many blunders might we be saved, if we leaned less on our own understanding and trusted Him with all our hearts! Those who believe like this need not make haste.
This anointing in Hebron—the second in David’s life—is parallel with the unction of the Holy One received by our Lord on His ascension. “Having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost,” said Peter on the day of Pentecost, “He hath shed forth this” (Acts 2:33). The house of Saul was still determined to rule. Its seat was across the Jordan. Is it not a type of the fashion of this world, which is destined to pass away? Between those who refuse and those who accept the Cross, with its separating death, there can be no peace. The war will be long and painful, but the result must end in the victory of the house of David, of which our Lord is both Root and Offspring, Revelation 22:16.
2 Samuel 2:4—The men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king.
Thus was David anointed a second time. Hitherto he had been the leader of a troop; now he became king of his own tribe: and his kingdom clustered around the ancient city of Hebron.
Typically, we learn that our blessed Lord will be acknowledged King of his own people, the Jews, before He is accepted by the world at large. Now, his kingdom is in mystery it is in the Adullam stage. Men are gathering to Him from all quarters; but as yet the world does not recognize it in their political calculations. But ere long the Jews will recognize Him as King, and then we may begin to expect his enthronement over the populations of the globe. When they repent and are converted, times of repenting will come to the entire world.
Experimentally we are taught that as each new department of our life unfolds, we should give Christ a fresh coronation. The attitude which we took up years ago, of complete consecration, must be applied perpetually to each fresh development of experience. Each new step should be characterized by a definite waiting on God, that there may be a fresh enduement of power, a recharging of the spirit with his might. Was He King in the cave, then be sure to acknowledge Him as such, now that you are called from obscurity into the glare of noon. Whenever God says, by the circumstances of your life, Go up; always kneel at the feet of Jesus, saying, “Lord, in the very little I found my joy and strength in serving Thee only; and now, amid the greater responsibility and publicity of my life, I desire to be thy earnest, simple minded, whole hearted follower.”
Have you anointed Jesus as your King? Do not fail. Remember how near of kin He is.
2 Samuel 2:12-23 – Sword-Play to the Death
For seven and a half years David reigned over the house of Judah. He was in the prime of life, thirty years of age, and seems to have given himself to the consolidation of his kingdom and the quiet sanctities of the home. He maintained throughout those years that spirit of quiet expectancy of which his psalms so often speak. In this, he reminds us of our Lord, who is depicted as sitting at His Father’s side till His foes become His footstool.
From Hebron, the city of fellowship, bands of mighty men went forth to fight with Ishbosheth, just as the warriors of the Cross have, in every age, gone forth to engage in deadly conflict with unbelief and sin. Asahel’s death reminds us of Stephen’s martyrdom. But the end is not yet! The Church’s warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against the wicked spirits that rule the darkness of the world. Her weapons, therefore, are not carnal but spiritual, and particularly that of “all prayer,” Ephesians 6:10-20.
2 Samuel 2:24-32 – Shall the Sword Devour for Ever?
The longer the sword devours, the more bitter the hatred engendered. Early that morning, each of twenty-four young men had buried his sword in his antagonist’s heart; and, as the hours passed, the flame of mutual hate had become hotter. There was no telling to what it might lead. Hatred is like a prairie fire in its rapid spread and remorseless destruction.
When night fell, Abner, alarmed by the prospects of slaughter, asked Joab to stay the pursuit. Otherwise, Joab would have fought through the night. However, he drew off his men, and Abner, still dreading his wrath, by a forced march crossed the Jordan that night.
Abner’s reference to the insatiate lust of the sword for human life reminds us, by force of contrast, of the hunger of Christ to seek and to save that which is lost. His appetite to save is a consuming passion. It is His meat and drink to win souls to the eternal life that he is commissioned to impart.