2 Samuel 2:22
Once again, Abner warned Asahel, "Stop chasing me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How could I show my face to your brother Joab?"
Strength and WeaknessH. E. Stone.2 Samuel 2:1-32
Attempts At Conciliation DefeatedW. G. Blaikie, M. A.2 Samuel 2:5-32
The Untimely Fate of Asohel: to Young MenB. Dale 2 Samuel 2:18-23

2 Samuel 2:18-23. - (GIBEON.)
Asahel was the youngest of three brothers; the others being Joab and Abishai. They were the sons of Zeruiah (half-sister of David) and a Bethlehemite (ver. 32) whose name has not been recorded; and they had much in common. When Asahel fled to David at the cave of Adullam (some ten or twelve years before the events here mentioned) he was probably a mere lad; he shared his uncle's hardships and participated in his exaltation. He was one of the famous thirty (2 Samuel 23:24), "valiant men of the armies" (1 Chronicles 11:26); accompanied Joab and Abishai in their march to Gibeon, and took part in the battle with Abner and "the servants [soldiers] of Ishbosheth." He was: I. Possessed of eminent gifts. "Asahel was as light of foot as a gazelle" (ver. 18); like "swift-footed Achilles," and like Harold I. (son of Canute), surnamed Hare-foot, "because he was light and swift of foot (Rapin). He was also distinguished by enterprise, courage, perseverance, and other admirable qualities. Mental endowments are incomparably superior to physical; but both are gifts of God, and should be recognized as such; they enable those who possess them to render valuable service to his people; and they should be employed in humble obedience to his will. Yet not unfrequently they become an occasion of vain glory, and are perverted from their proper exercise and end.

2. Actuated by an unwise ambition. "And Asahel pursued after Abner," etc. (ver. 19). He sought to take him prisoner or put him to death, and so end the conflict; and doubtless, also, to display his own superior speed and strength, and obtain the glory of the achievement. He was on the right side, and, considering the circumstances of the case, there was something laudable in his attempt. But it is possible, even in connection with the kingdom of God, to entertain an improper desire of worldly honour and power (Matthew 20:20-23). Those who do so generally set an inordinate value upon the object at which they aim, exhibit an undue confidence in their own abilities, depreciate the difficulties of its attainment, and expose themselves to great risk and peril (Titus 2:6; 1 Timothy 6:9).

"Ah! who can tell how hard it is to climb
The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar?"


3. Heedless of salutary warning. "And Abner looked behind him, and said" etc. (vers. 20-23). "Turn thee aside," etc. "Slay one of the common soldiers and take his accoutrements as booty, if thou art seeking for that kind of fame" (Keil). He eared little about the safety of his men, and was chiefly concerned about his own; but his advice was considerate, wise, and once and again repeated. Asahel, though swifter of foot, was not his equal in experience and skill; and (like many other young men) he despised the warning of the old warrior, was headstrong and over confident of success, and rushed rashly and blindly upon his fate. "Heat of zeal sometimes, in the indiscreet pursuit of a just adversary, proves mortal to the agent, prejudicial to the service" (Hall).

4. Struck down in youthful prime. "And Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him," etc.; suddenly, unexpectedly, and when he seemed on the point of accomplishing his purpose. With one blow his life was cut short, his hope disappointed, his promise of a brilliant future extinguished. "Often do men fancy themselves about to seize upon happiness, when death stops their career and lays them in the dust. And if they will rush forward in the road to destruction, though plainly warned of their danger, they can blame none but themselves" (Scott).

"Fame is the spur that the clear spirit cloth raise (That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights, and live laborious days;
But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears,
And slits the thin-spun life."

(Milton, 'Lycidas.')

5. Regarded with mournful pity. "As many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still" (see 2 Samuel 20:12), overcome with surprise, compassion, and grief; "and they took up Asahel, and buried him," etc. (ver. 32).

6. Remembered with mischievous resentment. (2 Samuel 3:30.) He left behind him a legacy, not of peace and good will, but of wrath and revenge. Pause at his tomb in Bethlehem, and lay to heart the lessons taught by his untimely, fate (Jeremiah 9:23). Let your ambition be different from his; to overcome carnal and selfish ambition in your own heart, to save life rather than to destroy it, to follow in the steps of him who was servant of all (Matthew 20:28). Here is scope for your noblest aspirations and most strenuous efforts. And your hope wilt not be destroyed, but crowned by death.

"Fool not; for all may have,
If they dare try, a glorious life, or grave."

(Herbert.) D.

The servants of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, went out... the servants of David went out.
Guizot, in his life of St. Louis of France, says that the latter had many vassals who were also vassals of the King of England, and that many subtle and difficult questions arose as to the extent of the service which they owed to these kings. At length the French King commanded all those nobles who held lands in English territory to appear before him, and then he said to them, "As it is impossible for any man living in my kingdom and having possession in England rightly to serve two masters, you must either attach yourselves altogether to me, or inseparably to the King of England." After saying this, he gave them a certain day by which to make their choice.

Abigail, Abishai, Abner, Ahinoam, Asahel, Asherites, Ashurites, Asshurites, Benjamin, Benjaminites, Benjamites, David, Gibeon, Ishbosheth, Jabesh, Jezreel, Jezreelitess, Jizreelitess, Joab, Nabal, Ner, Saul, Zeruiah
Ammah, Arabah, Bethlehem, Carmel, Giah, Gibeon, Gilead, Hebron, Helkath-hazzurim, Jabesh-gilead, Jezreel, Jordan River, Mahanaim
Abner, Addeth, Asahel, As'ahel, Aside, Brother, Chasing, Face, Ground, Hold, Joab, Jo'ab, Lift, Repeated, Saying, Shamed, Smite, Stop, Strike, Turn, Warned, Wherefore
1. David, by God's direction, with his company goes up to Hebron
4. where he is made king of Judah
5. He commends them of Jabesh Gilead for their king of Israel
8. Abner makes Ishbosheth king of Israel
12. A mortal skirmish between twelve of Abner's and twelve of Joab's men.
18. Asahel is slain
25. At Abner's motion, Joab sounds a retreat
32. Asahel's burial

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Samuel 2:18

     1652   numbers, 3-5

The Bright Dawn of a Reign
'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
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The King.
We have now to turn and see the sudden change of fortune which lifted the exile to a throne. The heavy cloud which had brooded so long over the doomed king broke in lightning crash on the disastrous field of Gilboa. Where is there a sadder and more solemn story of the fate of a soul which makes shipwreck "of faith and of a good conscience," than that awful page which tells how, godless, wretched, mad with despair and measureless pride, he flung himself on his bloody sword, and died a suicide's death,
Alexander Maclaren—The Life of David

This Affection the Martyrs of Christ Contending for the Truth did Overcome...
10. This affection the Martyrs of Christ contending for the truth did overcome: and it is no marvel that they despised that whereof they should, when death was overpast, have no feeling, when they could not by those tortures, which while alive they did feel, be overcome. God was able, no doubt, (even as He permitted not the lion when it had slain the Prophet, to touch his body further, and of a slayer made it to be a keeper): He was able, I say, to have kept the slain bodies of His own from the dogs
St. Augustine—On Care to Be Had for the Dead.

The First Chaldaean Empire and the Hyksos in Egypt
Syria: the part played by it in the ancient world--Babylon and the first Chaldaean empire--The dominion of the Hyksos: Ahmosis. Some countries seem destined from their origin to become the battle-fields of the contending nations which environ them. Into such regions, and to their cost, neighbouring peoples come from century to century to settle their quarrels and bring to an issue the questions of supremacy which disturb their little corner of the world. The nations around are eager for the possession
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 4

How the Meek and the Passionate are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 17.) Differently to be admonished are the meek and the passionate. For sometimes the meek, when they are in authority, suffer from the torpor of sloth, which is a kindred disposition, and as it were placed hard by. And for the most part from the laxity of too great gentleness they soften the force of strictness beyond need. But on the other hand the passionate, in that they are swept on into frenzy of mind by the impulse of anger, break up the calm of quietness, and so throw into
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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