Later, they took Asahel and buried him in his father's tomb in Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and reached Hebron at daybreak.
2 Samuel 2:30-32. - (GIBEON, BETHLEHEM, HEBRON.)
1. At the fall of fellow soldiers. "Nineteen men and Asahel" (vers. 23, 30) who come not to the muster after sunset (vers. 24, 30), nor answer to the roll call, but lie in the chill embrace of death. "Alas! fallen are the heroes."
2. In the burial of the dead. (Ver. 32.) No opportunity is afforded for seeking out and burying all the slain; but the remains of Asahel are carried across the hills by night (ver. 29) and laid in the tomb of his father in Bethlehem, where the sorrow of the preceding day is renewed. It reminds us of a pathetic scene of recent times described in the familiar lines —
"We buried him darkly at dead of night,
3. When the news is conveyed to their homes. "They came to Hebron at break of day;" a day of bitter grief to many bereaved hearts. "By the slaughter of a war there are thousands who weep in unpitied and unnoticed secrecy whom the world does not see; and thousands who retire in silence to hopeless poverty for whom the world does not care" (Dymond).
4. For the miseries of fellow sufferers; the enemy - defeated, bereaved, and mourning - for they too are "brethren," and cannot but be remembered with sympathy and pity.
5. Concerning the state of the departed. A soldier's life is not favourable to piety and preparation for heaven, and the passions by which he is commonly swayed when his earthly probation is suddenly terminated are such that we can seldom contemplate his entrance into the eternal world with feelings of cheerfulness and hope. "After death the judgment."
6. On account of the animosities of the living, which are increased by conflict and victory, and are certain to be a source of future trouble (2 Samuel 3:1, 30, 33).
7. Because of the dishonour done to the cause of the Lord's Anointed. Religion suffers, the progress of the kingdom is hindered, and the King himself is "grieved for the misery of Israel." "The victory that day was turned into mourning" (2 Samuel 19:2). So is every victory gained by "the devouring sword." But there are victories which are bloodless and tearless, sources of unmingled joy; spiritual victories over ignorance and sin won by and through the might of him at whose birth the angels sang upon those hills of Bethlehem, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." - D.
They came to Hebron at break of day.
I. ARE WE PILGRIMS OF THE LIGHT, OR OF THE NIGHT? Of both. Of the light as we press to reach it, as even now its beams fall on our pathway here, enlightening much that else might perplex. Yet must that light only make the remaining darkness felt. Is it not of the New Jerusalem that it is written, "There shall be no night there?" Can I say there is no night here — no night of sorrow, no pain, no burden clouding heart and mind? Even when life is brightest with us, the very sense of comfort and joy abides because we know that they have about them a heavenly atmosphere. They are to us God's gifts, and we know that He has in reserve still richer blessings. If we are in sorrow we yearn for God, and in joy we rest still in Him. There is always something before the Christian, a brighter life that is to be. We speak of the night of death. Henry Fawcett used to say that from the great illness which prostrated him for so long, he arose, having learnt, what he had recognised before, that death was not to be feared. Nay, more than this, for we need not speak only of the physical aspects of death: we may learn that in death there is not so much a passing into dark valleys — the valleys of the shadow, at all events, are past when death is reached — as a stepping into wondrous light. Death is an unveiling which lets in light and life to our poor human experience. Let us press on in the pilgrimage, though we walk all the night. There is the appointed path and the allotted time. To few will that time, in God's mercy, seem too long, so full is the night of quiet mercies, so little are we alone. But even if the way seem rough, and the hours dark, the night has its own appointed law and limit. Bear up, press on, and all shall be well.
II. THE PILGRIM SHALL REACH A PLACE OF REST. "And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron." Hebron is one of the most ancient cities of the world still standing. It is now a city of some 5,000 inhabitants. It has had many changes in its political history, and has once and again been in ruins. Abraham is called by the Mohammedans Khulil, "the Friend" — i.e., of God; and this, we are told by travellers, is the modern name of Hebron itself. It is "the city of 'the Friend of God.'" Among our quiet resting-places God not seldom brings us to the places from which we can look back, marking the goodness and mercy which have followed us since that long past when near to the same spot we built with them some altar to the Lord. The Lord accepted the offering of ourselves; through the pilgrimage He has been with us.
III. For notice, lastly, THE REST SHALL BE REACHED AT ITS APPOINTED TIME. "And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day." The eternal morning shall not be missed by any who follow on in the way of the Lord's choosing. Only be brave, be faithful, until the day break, and the shadows flee away. Often the shadows of some trouble or some anxiety pass away even here. New light is on our path; the way of lowly duty is plain. Whenever the day-break is upon us, it is only that we may turn, refreshed by rest, to the duty of the new day.
(J. Gasquoine, B. A.).
PeopleAbigail, Abishai, Abner, Ahinoam, Asahel, Asherites, Ashurites, Asshurites, Benjamin, Benjaminites, Benjamites, David, Gibeon, Ishbosheth, Jabesh, Jezreel, Jezreelitess, Jizreelitess, Joab, Nabal, Ner, Saul, Zeruiah
PlacesAmmah, Arabah, Bethlehem, Carmel, Giah, Gibeon, Gilead, Hebron, Helkath-hazzurim, Jabesh-gilead, Jezreel, Jordan River, Mahanaim
TopicsArrived, Asahel, As'ahel, Asahel's, Bethlehem, Beth-lehem, Body, Brake, Break, Broke, Buried, Bury, Burying-place, Dawn, Dawned, Daybreak, Father's, Hebron, Joab, Jo'ab, Lift, Marched, Resting-place, Sepulcher, Sepulchre, Tomb, Travelling
Outline1. 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 Themes2 Samuel 2:32
LibraryThe 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 …
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