Today the Lord instructs David to go to the city of Hebron in Judah. “Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.” David will reign in Hebron seven years. “But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim; and he made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, over Benjamin, and over all Israel.”
When Abner, commander of Ishbosheth’s army, and Ishbosheth’s servants meet Joab, a commander of David’s army, and David’s servants at the pool of Gibson, Abner picks a fight with Joab’s men. Joab’s men defeat Abner’s men, and afterwards Joab’s younger brother, Asahel, relentlessly pursues Abner. Abner warns Asahel to turn away, but Asahel does not heed the warning and ends up being killed by Abner. Joab will avenge his brother’s death in tomorrow’s reading.
“But David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.” In Hebron David has six sons, Amnom, Daniel, Absalom, Adonijah, Shephatiah, and Ithream by six different wives. We also meet David’s thirty-seven mighty men often referred to as “the Thirty”. His three mightiest men are Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah. We see their love and loyalty for each other as the three mightiest men risk their lives entering the Philistine camp to bring water to thirsty David. However, David refused to drink the water but he “poured it out to the Lord. And he said, ‘Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?’ Therefore he would not drink it.”
You might have noticed that Joab’s two brothers, Asahel, who was killed by Abner in today’s reading, and Abishu, are included in the list of thirty-seven mighty men, but Joab is not. Joab’s ruthless and self-serving acts, which we will read about soon, may possibly be why he got cut from the list. As the saying goes, “It’s not how you start the race but how well you finish.” Joab will ultimately finish with cold-blooded murders, which we will begin reading about tomorrow, and betrayal of David.
Also, take note that the list includes Uriah the Hittie, who is married to Bathsheba, and Bathsheba’s father, Eliam. We read today that David didn’t want to take the water from his three mightiest of men; however, David sure won’t mind taking something or shall I say someone from Uriah and Eliam, two of his mighty men, in a few days reading. Despite David’s upcoming failures, David still keeps these men on his list. As http://whosefaithfollow.org said, “This single name of Uriah reminded David of all his past of shame and chastening; but condemning himself and exalting the grace that had restored him, he would never have dreamed of erasing his name from the book in which it was recorded.” David doesn’t clean up his story by covering his shame because God’s grace shown to him far outweighs the weight of his sin.
Keep reading David’s continuing journey, which includes successes and failures. However, God’s faithful hand of grace will never leave the man after His own heart. (2 Samuel 2:1-3:5, 1 Chronicles 3:1-4, 2 Samuel 23:8-17, 1 Chronicles 11:10-19, 2 Samuel 23:18-39, 1 Chronicles 11:20-47)