2 Samuel 2:12-32 – Civil War – the Generals


2 Samuel 2:12-32


Ish-Bosheth’s and David’s generals battle for control of Israel, with losses on both sides. 


After bloody representative combat failed to settle the matter, Israelites and Judahites fought against each other for their chosen kings. Abner led the forces of Israel, and the three brothers – Joab, Abishai, and Asahel led the forces of Judah. When Judah prevailed, Asahel pursued Abner. All the generals knew each other, and Abner appealed to Asahel to fight against someone else. Asahel refused, and Abner killed his pursuer. Nevertheless, when the forces on each side consolidated, Abner called out for peace and Joab granted it to the man who had just killed his brother. 

This story frames much of the rest of the Book of 2 Samuel. The fighting in the following chapter will be intensely personal, and violent, often with family members involved on various sides. Secondly, the book will be full of intrigue, with false promises, fragile peace, betrayal, and violent retribution, again, often among family members. Joab will never forgive Abner, and will be willing to weaken David and endanger peace in order to take his vengeance (2 Samuel 3:26-30).