Then Abner sent messengers in his place to say to David, "To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and surely my hand will be with you to bring all Israel over to you."
2 Samuel 3:12-16. - (BAHURIM.)1 Samuel 19:11-17). Of her he had been deprived when he fled from the court of Saul; she was given to Phaltiel (Phalti), the son of Laish, of Gallim (1 Samuel 25:44), by her father, perhaps as a piece of policy, to attach him to his house, and they lived together for many years, apparently in much domestic comfort. We have here -
I. AN INJURED HUSBAND DEMANDING HIS JUST RIGHT. "Well; I will make a league with thee: but one thing I require," etc. (ver. 13). The demand was:
1. Founded upon justice; David having been unjustly and contemptuously treated.
2. Reverential toward the Law, which had been flagrantly violated. It does not appear that Michal was ever legally divorced from David.
3. Incited by affection toward her and the memory of her early love to him.
4. Adapted to test the sincerity and fidelity of Abner, and prepare the way for further negotiations.
5. Consistent with his honour. He could not suffer his wife to live as the wife of another man without shame.
6. Calculated to remind the northern tribes of his former services against the Philistines (vers. 15, 18).
7. And to increase his influence over them by the maintenance of his family alliance with the house of Saul and the public recognition of his power. There was policy as well as principle in the condition imposed.
II. A FEEBLE RULER ENFORCING A HUMILIATING REQUIREMENT. "And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul's son," etc. (ver. 14). "Not to Abner, but to Ishbosheth (for the league between David and Abner was a profound secret), whom David knew must act feebly, as he was at Abner's dictation" ('Speaker's Commentary'), "to demand the restoration of Michal, that her return might take place in duly legal form" (Keil), and that it might be apparent that he "had not taken her by force from her husband." Nothing is said of Ishbosheth's feelings on receiving the message. Like other incapable monarchs, he never exhibited any spirit except on the point of his royal dignity; and, even on this, his wrath was extinguished before the frown of Abner. Under constraint, he sent Abner himself, and took his sister from her husband. And the effect of this concession must have been to discredit him in the eyes of the people and hasten his downfall. Henceforth it was hardly necessary that Abner should disguise his intentions (ver. 17). There is no more pitiful sight than that of a man who holds the royal office without adorning it with royal qualities.
III. A HELPLESS SUBJECT SUBMITTING TO A PAINFUL NECESSITY. (Vers. 15, 16.) The scene is a pathetic one. Michal conducted forth, attended by her husband, "weeping behind her" to Bahurim (2 Samuel 19:17), on the borders of Judah, where he was compelled to part from her, with the contemptuous order, "Go, return." "And he returned" in bitter disappointment, grief, and shame. Yet he had brought his trouble on himself. How fruitful in domestic misery are imprudence, ambition, and sinful expediency! It may be long delayed, but it surely comes. Men reap. as they sow. "Wherefore all Phaltiel's tears move no pity of mine. Caveat raptor, let him beware who violently takes another man's wife, seeing shame and sorrow are the issue of such ungodly marriages" (T. Fuller). "His tears ought to have been tears of repentance for his sin against God and against David" (Wordsworth). Perchance there lay hid in the evil he now suffered the seed of future good. But here his history ends.
IV. A HAUGHTY PRINCESS RESTORED TO HER LEGITIMATE LORD. Nothing is said of their meeting. This silence is ominous; and it is to be feared that the reunion was not one of unmingled satisfaction. Time and circumstances may have changed her feelings toward David (1 Samuel 18:20), separated her more widely from him in spiritual sympathy, and developed in her heart her father's pride. She was now only one of many wives. At a subsequent meeting (2 Samuel 6:20) she was scornful, jealous, and unspiritual. And that which David anticipated with pleasure became an occasion of pain and lasting trouble. - D.
To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
PeopleAbigail, Abishai, Abital, Abner, Absalom, Adonijah, Ahinoam, Aiah, Amnon, Asahel, Benjamin, Benjamites, Chileab, Dan, David, Eglah, Gibeon, Haggith, Ishbosheth, Ithream, Jezreel, Jezreelitess, Jizreelitess, Joab, Laish, Maacah, Maachah, Michal, Nabal, Ner, Paltiel, Phaltiel, Rizpah, Saul, Shephatiah, Talmai, Zeruiah
PlacesBahurim, Beersheba, Bethlehem, Carmel, Dan, Geshur, Gibeon, Hebron
TopicsAbner, Agreement, Alliance, Behalf, Behold, Belong, Bring, Covenant, David, Getting, Hebron, League, Messengers, Round, Saying, Straightway, Support, Turn
Outline1. During the war David becomes stronger
2. Six sons are born to him in Hebron
6. Abner, displeased with Ishbosheth
7. revolts to David
13. David requires as a condition to bring him his wife Michal
17. Abner confers with the Israelites, feasted by David, and dismissed
22. Joab returning from battle, is displeased with the king, and kills Abner
28. David curses Joab
31. and mourns for Abner
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 3:12-13
LibraryThe King --Continued.
The years thus well begun are, in the historical books, characterized mainly by three events, namely, the bringing up of the ark to the newly won city of David, Nathan's prophecy of the perpetual dominion of his house, and his victories over the surrounding nations. These three hinges of the narrative are all abundantly illustrated in the psalms. As to the first, we have relics of the joyful ceremonial connected with it in two psalms, the fifteenth and twenty-fourth, which are singularly alike not …
Alexander Maclaren—The Life of David
Of a Private Fast.
A Believer's Privilege at Death
The Morning of Good Friday.
Growth in Grace
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