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GOD to me, and more also, if I taste bread or aught else till the sun be down...
And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did, pleased all the people. For all the people, and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner. And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel.
And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me:, the - LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The truce which was made between Joab and Abner seems to have been of short continuance; but we do not find that David himself went forth to fight against the family of Saul, though there were frequent, contests with their followers. Ish-bosheth is supposed to have been a person of mean abilities, as he did not attend his father and brethren to the field of battle; and it is imagined that Abner thought to rule the kingdom, by dictating to Ish-bosheth; but when he found that his party declined, and David's was continually increasing, he formed a design of bringing about a revolution, which he had reason to suppose would be very agreeable to the Israelites in general; he therefore took advantage of a trifling affront which Ish-bosheth gave him, and instantly deserted his cause.
The interest of so powerful a man as Abner, was a very desirable acquisition to David: but he placed his dependence on GoD alone, and therefore would not enter into any league with him, till Michal was restored; for certainly Saul's having given her to another was a great indignity
indignity to David; and it is likely that he had a peculiar affection for her, as it was evident she had for him, by her having hazarded her own life to save his; and perhaps she might have intimated to him, by some means or other, her desire to return, which he could scarcely in honour deny, as she was the person who had made him a king's son-in-law. There is an appearance of cruelty in his distressing Phaltiel; but we must consider, that David only required him to restore what he had no right to keep, therefore he was not a proper object of pity; and his silent sorrow proves, that he knew he had no reason to complain of injustice in David's behaviour.
David certainly had a right to make a treaty withi Abner, and had he declined it, he would have acted an unjust part by the Israelites in general, and the men of Judah in particular, in rejecting an opportunity of uniting those, who had been separated by the unlawful usurpation of Ish-bosheth.*
Abner's fate teaches us, how uncertain are all the purposes of man; he had formed great projects, and promised great things; but behold they were all subverted, and he died as a fool dieth! Had he acted from good motives it is likely he would have been successful; but though he knew the determination of GOD in respect to David's being king, he at first opposed him from selfish and ambitious views, and would not have joined him at all, if he had not been disappointed in them,
Joab's behaviour was treacherous in the greatest degree, and very unbecoming the character of a renowned warrior; for he shed the blood of war in peace, and in the very gate, which was the place of judgment; he did it therefore in defiance of justice. The curses which David imprecated on Joab, sound very harshly in the ear of a
Christian; but they proceeded from the king's love for his people, as there was cause to fear, that his suffering a murderer to go unpunished in the land of Israel, which was so peculiarly sanctified by the DIVINE PRESENCE, might bring a curse on the nation, for they were commanded not to let a murderer live amongst them; David therefore devoutly prayed, that the LORD would spare him and his people, and confine the curse to Joab, as he could not at that time do the justice which GOD in cases of murder required. The pathetic lamentation, which David uttered for the untimely fate of that great man Abner, convinced the people that he was perfectly innocent of his death.
BAANAH AND RECHAB SLAY ISH-BOSHETH.
From 2 Samuel, Chap. iv.
AND when Saul's son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled,
And Saul's son had two men that were captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin: (for Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin; and the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and were sojourners there until this day.)
And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet, and was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass as she made haste to flee that he fell, and became lame; and his name was Mephibosheth.
And the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and
Baanah, went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ish-bosheth, who lay on a bed at noon; and they smote him and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the plain all night.
And they brought the head of Ish-bosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.
And David said unto them, As the LORD liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity: when one told me, saying, Behold Saul is dead, (thinking to have brought good tidings) I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings: how much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous man, in his own house, upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?
And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron: but they took the head of Ish-bosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner, in Hebron.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The Beerothites are supposed to have been Benjamites who after the battle of Gilboa, fled to Beeroth, a city which had formerly belonged to the Gibeonites, but was evacuated by Saul's destroying them.
The Beerothites, who murdered Ish-bosheth, certainly intended to ingratiate themselves with David, by clearing his way to the throne of Israel; but they had either forgotten, or not heard of his treatment of the Amalekite
Amalekite who boasted of having slain Saul. It was necessary for the vindication of his own character, that David should punish treachery.
Ish-bosheth is mentioned by David as a righteous person, and so he might be in respect to Rechab and Baanah, for it does not appear that he had either done or designed them any ill. But he was not the KING appointed by the LORD; therefore David having been anointed by the command of GoD, was justified in opposing him, and taking all proper measures for recovering his own right. Ish-bosheth certainly had no pretensions to the throne, even supposing that he was not satisfied of David's having been chosen by the LORD;" because Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son, was the lawful heir, if the crown had descended in lineal succession, Ish-bosheth therefore should in that case have fought for him, and maintained his claim, instead of usurping the sovereign power himself.
The severe sentence which David pronounced against the murderers of Ish-bosheth proves, that he was desirous to wait till it should please GOD to bring him to the throne, and that he particularly wished no violence might be done to any of Saul's family.
DAVID ANOINTED KING OVER ALL ISRAEL.
DAVID was thirty years old when he began to reign in Hebron, and he reigned over Judah seven years and six months.
Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.