2 Samuel 2 – “Two Kings in Israel”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
David moves to Hebron and is anointed king of Judah. Saul’s son Ish-bosheth is anointed king of the other tribes. The generals of the two sides lead their armies into an internecine battle.

II. Photo
One of David’s soldiers is quick: “Asahel was swift of foot, like a gazelle in the open field.” (v. 18b)

III. Important Verses
1: Sometime afterward, David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” The LORD answered, “Yes.” David further asked, “Which one shall I go up to?” And the LORD replied, “To Hebron.”
4a: The men of Judah came and there they anointed David king over the House of Judah.
8-9: But Abner son of Ner, Saul’s army commander, had taken Ish-bosheth son of Saul and brought him across to Mahanaim and made him king over Gilead, the Ashurites, Jezreel, Ephraim, and Benjamin — over all Israel.
12-16: Once Abner son of Ner and the soldiers of Ish-bosheth son of Saul marched out from Mahanaim to Gibeon, and Joab son of Zeruiah and the soldiers of David [also] came out. They confronted one another at the pool of Gibeon: one group sat on one side of the pool, and the other group on the other side of the pool. Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men come forward and sport before us.” “Yes, let them,” Joab answered. They came forward and were counted off, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth son of Saul, and twelve of David’s soldiers. Each one grasped his opponent’s head [and thrust] his dagger into his opponent’s side; thus they fell together. That place, which is in Gibeon, was called Helkath-hazzurim.
25-28: The Benjaminites rallied behind Abner, forming a single company; and they took up a position on the top of a hill. Abner then called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? You know how bitterly it’s going to end! How long will you delay ordering your troops to stop the pursuit of their kinsmen?”  And Joab replied, “As God lives, if you hadn’t spoken up, the troops would have given up the pursuit of their kinsmen only the next morning.” Joab then sounded the horn, and all the troops halted; they ceased their pursuit of Israel and stopped the fighting.

IV. Outline
1-3. David moves to Hebron
4a. David is anointed king over the House of Judah
4-7. David enlists the men of Jabesh-gilead
8-10. Abner anoints Ish-bosheth king of Benjamin and Israel
11. Chronology
12-16. A deadly wrestling match
17. David’s men defeat Ish-bosheth’s men in battle
18-23. Abner kills Asahel, brother of Joab
24-28. The fighting stops
29-31. Assessment of the battle
32a. Asahel is buried
32b. Joab returns to Hebron

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Klein, Ralph W. “1 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 10 (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1983).
Photo taken from http://www.reverberate.org/gazelle/gazelle.jpg