2 Samuel 3:33
And the king sang this lament for Abner: "Should Abner die the death of a fool?
The Fool's DeathA. G. Brown.2 Samuel 3:33
A Long WarC. M. Fleury, A. M.2 Samuel 3:1-39
Perpetual WarJ. Irons.2 Samuel 3:1-39
Progress and Termination of the Civil WarW. G. Blaikie, M. A.2 Samuel 3:1-39
David's Lament Over AbnerB. Dale 2 Samuel 3:31-35

2 Samuel 3:31-35
2 Samuel 3:31-35. - (HEBRON.) David's lament over Abner.

"As a fool dies should Abner die? -
Thy bands unbound,
Thy feet not set in fetters:
As one falls before the wicked, thou didst fall!" On hearing of the death of Abner, David exhibited the same generous spirit as formerly at the death of Saul (2 Samuel 1:11, 12).

1. He disclaimed (before his trusted servants, as afterwards, ver. 38) against having had any part therein; declaring, "I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord," etc. Malicious persons, judging others by themselves, might accuse him of it; and if it had been instigated by him, he would have brought guilt upon his people as well as himself (2 Samuel 21:1; 2 Samuel 24:1, 17).

2. He invoked a curse on the head of the author of the deed; not from a feeling of personal hatred and vindictiveness, but of righteous indignation (1 Samuel 26:19).

3. He ordered a public mourning in honour of the deceased. "And David said to Joab," etc. (ver. 38). Although he durst not arrest him, he clearly indicated what he thought of his conduct, and sought to remove the odium which it cast on his own good name.

4. He followed in the procession as chief mourner, wept at the grave (John 11:35), and fasted until sunset. "There is no more beautiful picture in his life than that of his following the bier where lay the bloody corpse of the man who had been his enemy ever since he had known him, and sealing the reconciliation which death ever makes in noble souls by the pathetic dirge he chanted over Abner's grave" (A. Maclaren). "This short poem is not only a dirge; it is also an apology for David and for Abner himself" (Wordsworth). It expresses -

I. ADMIRATION OF EMINENT WORTH. Abner was not a villain (fool) or murderer, deserving of being put in fetters and dying a felon's death; but brave, capable, noble-minded, "great in council, great in war," and worthy of respect and honour. A generous man sees and appreciates what is best in other men. "The generous spirit of David kept down all base and selfish feeling, and added another to those glorious conquests over his own heart which were far higher distinctions than his other victories, and in which he has left us an example which all, from the least to the greatest, should try to emulate" (Blaikie).

II. AFFLICTION FOR A PUBLIC LOSS. A light was quenched "in Israel" (ver, 38). His presence and influence would have contributed to the reconciliation of the tribes and the welfare of the nation (ver. 21). David's sorrow was sincere; his tears (in confirmation of his words) evinced the tenderness and sympathy of his heart, moved the people also to tears, and (in contrast with the bearing of Joab) convinced them of his innocence and uprightness.

III. ASTONISHMENT AT AN EXTRAORDINARY FATE. "The point of this indignant, more than sorrowful, lament lies in the mode in which Abner was slain" (Kitto, 'Cyc.'). How strange that Abner should have fallen in the full possession of strength to defend himself and liberty to flee from danger; neither as a prisoner taken in battle nor (in allusion to the right of blood-revenge which Joab claimed) as a murderer delivered up in bonds to the avenger by lawful authority, as he would have been if he were guilty! His fall - so different from what might have been expected and from what he merited - could be accounted for only by its having been caused by the treacherous malice and murderous violence of "sons of wickedness."

IV. ABHORRENCE OF A WICKED DEED. (Vers. 29, 39.) The death of Abner was, even more than his life would have been, conducive to David's interests. "It must have seemed to him, from a prudential point of view, that it was a piece of good fortune. But the strength of his moral indignation does not suffer itself to be assuaged by worldly considerations" (Delitzsch). Hatred of wrong is a sign and measure of the love of right. "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil" (Psalm 97:10). David was as severe toward evil doers as he was tender and pitiful toward the victims of their wickedness. "He was a man extreme in all his excellences - a man of the highest strain, whether for counsel, for expression, or for action, in peace and in war, in exile and on the throne" (E. Irving). - D.

Died Abner as a fool dieth?
There are two or three different renderings of our text. Some take it thus — "Died Abner as a wicked man?" And then the answer is, "No, he did not. He fell by the foul hand of deliberate and deceitful murder." Others render the text — "Shall Abner die like a fool?" That is, "Shall he be unpitied? Shall his fall" be unsung? Shall his murder be unrevenged?" There is a good deal to show for this rendering; because David, directly afterward, pronounces an awful imprecation on the house of Joab. But the third rendering, which we prefer, and which we shall take, is the one which we have here in our text: "Died Abner as a fool dieth?" 'That is, "Can it be true that such a man as Abner, with all his mental power and all his martial prowess — can it be true that Abner, of all men, died like a fool?" The next verse, you will see, explains the reference. His hands free, his feet, unfettered, and yet Abner the warrior falls down before the spear of Joab. "Died Abner as a fool dieth?" I think we may generally take for granted that in young manhood there is always a love of honest dealing. In fact, if any one who calls himself a man objects to plain, straightforward dealing, the sooner he changes his name the better. Surely no young man in his senses here will differ from us in the statement that no matter how successful a man may be in many aspects, yet his life is an utter failure if at the end he dies a fool's death. We recognize the fact that die we must. And I take it that, a true young man would far sooner face a fact like this, and would far sooner hear the preacher boldly deal with it, than attempt the foolish task of escaping an unpleasant subject by not referring to it. What was the mark of folly about Abner's death?

I. HIS STRANGE SIMPLICITY AND WONDERFUL CREDULITY. I do marvel at Abner — certainly David did — that he, of all men, should have been so easily "gulled," for we know no other word that so exactly conveys the thought of our mind. Abner had been continually by the king's side. He must have known, therefore, that the art of political speaking is to conceal your thoughts, and that nature only gives courtiers' tongues to shroud by language the intentions of the heart. Strange that a man like Abner, who had passed through such a school as two courts, should have so readily believed the message which Joab sent him. Now, is it not marvellous how unsuspicious men are of sin's designs? They are shrewd enough in other things. I have no doubt that many of you are sharp, keen, acute men of business. Your books will testify that you do not make very many bad debts. You can see through a man as quickly as most; yet how strange it is that often those who are shrewdest in other things are most deluded as to the nature of sin's designs! As Homer describes in his Odyssey, there are the sirens on the rocks, who sing so sweetly that, if a Ulysses is to be kept from running his craft right on their rugged brows, the men must lash him to the mast and ply their oars with desperate earnestness, for the music of the sirens makes a deadly calm, and leaves no breath of air to fill the sails and take the vessel from her danger. And so sin seems to sing like an enchantress; and the shrewdest and the cleverest men are irresistibly, almost imperceptibly, drawn toward it; and they who would see through a deception of another sort in a moment seem, like Abner, utterly blinded in this respect, What Satan raves to accomplish is to be revenged on God through God's creatures. Is it likely, then, that such a Joab as this can have any good intent when he says to thee by some sin, "Come, let us talk quietly in the gate?" And yet how willingly a man will turn aside with any sin! "A man is both ruined and saved through faith." I confess that when first I heard that statement I was rather startled. I did not at first see its force, and I said, "Stay! There is a mistake. You mean that a man is saved through faith and is ruined by unbelief." The answer I received was: "That is true; so also is it that a man is either saved or lost by faith. If the faith be in God, through Christ, then that faith saves; but, on the other hand, if it is the faith which a man places in the representations made by Satan and sin, that faith damns him." It was our first parents' faith in the words of the serpent that spread ruin over God's new-made world. And so I doubt not that there are many here concerning whom it may be said, as it was of Abner: "Shall that man die as the fool dieth? So keen in everything else, shall he be credulous enough to be led by so simple a snare as that set by the enemy?" Yet so is it.

II. Now NOTE THE NEXT THING IN HIS FOLLY — HIS UNUSUAL ADVANTAGES. I think David specially thought of these when he burst out into the cry, "Died Abner as a fool died?" You glean this from the 34th verse, "Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters." Abner was a prisoner to nobody but himself. No cord bound those mighty arms of his; no iron fetters were upon his feet; and yet he might us well have been born without hands or feet for all the good they were to him. Hands unused, feet unemployed, he stands still like a fool to be killed. Oh! is it not so with many? I ask you, have not your advantages been unused? Let me ask thee, if thou weft to die and be lost wouldst thou not have to acknowledge that, in this respect, thou hast certainly played the fool, for. thy, hands are not bound nor thy feet in fetters? You are not bound with ignorance. It may be that there are some of you here who know the story of the gospel as well as the preacher. It may be that there are others of you here who could stand on this platform and run through all the main doctrines of the Word. What, and will you, with all this knowledge of the truth, yet die as the fool dieth — with unfettered feet and hands at liberty? I know not your history, but it would be a strange thing if there are not hundreds here who have been armed by holy precept. Your Bible may be at the bottom of your box now, just as it was thrown in three years ago, when you left your home in the country. Not a few of you have been armed by noble examples. Have you not had a holy, noble, heavenly example in her who gave you birth, and who, perhaps, is at this moment before the throne? Then let me ask you, why die as a fool? It your hands be not bound, and you know the difference between right and wrong, if you have been armed by holy precept, and if you have been blessed with a heavenly example, why shall it ever be said of you, "Died Abner as a fool dieth?" As Caesar Borgia lay dying fast he looked up, and, with clenched hands, muttered through his teeth the words, "I have provided for everything throughout life except death." And, doubtless, there are many here who can" take up Caesar Borgia's words as describing their own mad folly. Then, I ask you, if you die without hope, may it not be said as a requiem over you, "Died Abner as a fool dieth?"

III. Now note, next, that HIS VERY POSITION MADE THE FOLLY OF HIS DEATH THE GREATER. Oh, Abner, if you had refused to speak to Joab outside the city gates and insisted on entering them first, even Joab would not have dared to violate the sanctity of that citadel. Thou wouldst have been safe. I may be mistaken, but I think I am not. As far as my own feelings are concerned, the nearer a person is to safety when he dies the sadder is his death. It is sad enough for the sailor to go down in mid-Atlantic, when there are only the winds to howl his requiem, and when no eye looks down upon his struggles but that of the seagull whirling round and round upon the wings of the hurricane. It is sad enough to sink down with only the shriek of the sea-bird in your ear; but, I think, it is sadder far to go down just outside the harbour's mouth, with a thousand eyes upon you and a thousand hands ready to help if they can. Sad enough for the traveller in the desert, parched with thirst and pinched with hunger, to lay him down in the burning dust to die, with only the vulture hovering over him in air which quivers with intensity of heat. But when we read some time back of one being literally starved to death in the great metropolis, when there were wealth all round, food in abundance and a thousand persons ready to vie with each other as to who should go to his rescue first, it seemed to me the climax of horror to die in the midst of plenty. "Died Abner as a fool dieth" — credulous, with advantages unused, and on the very threshold of safety? God save us from such folly. Shall yonder Abner, who has been the child of prayer for thirty years, die a fool's death? Said a godly mother to a son who used to worship in this place, and is at the present time at the other end of the world, "Ah, my boy, if ever you get into perdition, it will be over ten thousand mother's prayers that she places in front of you as barriers." It may be that there are some here who, though most deeply sunk in sin, yet know full well that there is no night nor morning but the cry goes up to heaven, "Lord, save my boy!" And shall Abner, the child of so many prayers, die the fool's death?

(A. G. Brown.)

Abigail, 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
Bahurim, Beersheba, Bethlehem, Carmel, Dan, Geshur, Gibeon, Hebron
Abner, Chanted, Churl, Death, Die, Died, Dies, Dieth, Fool, Foolish, Grief, Lament, Lamented, Lamenteth, Lawless, Saying, Song
1. 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 Themes
2 Samuel 3:31-34

     5796   bereavement, experience

2 Samuel 3:31-35

     8431   fasting, reasons

2 Samuel 3:33-34

     5899   lament
     7963   song

The 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

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

Of a Private Fast.
That we may rightly perform a private fast, four things are to be observed:--First, The author; Secondly, The time and occasion; Thirdly, The manner; Fourthly, The ends of private fasting. 1. Of the Author. The first that ordained fasting was God himself in paradise; and it was the first law that God made, in commanding Adam to abstain from eating the forbidden fruit. God would not pronounce nor write his law without fasting (Lev. xxiii), and in his law commands all his people to fast. So does our
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

A Believer's Privilege at Death
'For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' Phil 1:1I. Hope is a Christian's anchor, which he casts within the veil. Rejoicing in hope.' Rom 12:12. A Christian's hope is not in this life, but he hash hope in his death.' Prov 14:42. The best of a saint's comfort begins when his life ends; but the wicked have all their heaven here. Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.' Luke 6:64. You may make your acquittance, and write Received in full payment.' Son, remember that
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Morning of Good Friday.
The pale grey light had passed into that of early morning, when the Sanhedrists once more assembled in the Palace of Caiaphas. [5969] A comparison with the terms in which they who had formed the gathering of the previous night are described will convey the impression, that the number of those present was now increased, and that they who now came belonged to the wisest and most influential of the Council. It is not unreasonable to suppose, that some who would not take part in deliberations which were
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Growth in Grace
'But grow in grace.' 2 Pet 3:38. True grace is progressive, of a spreading and growing nature. It is with grace as with light; first, there is the crepusculum, or daybreak; then it shines brighter to the full meridian. A good Christian is like the crocodile. Quamdiu vivet crescit; he has never done growing. The saints are not only compared to stars for their light, but to trees for their growth. Isa 61:1, and Hos 14:4. A good Christian is not like Hezekiah's sun that went backwards, nor Joshua's
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

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

2 Samuel 3:33 NIV
2 Samuel 3:33 NLT
2 Samuel 3:33 ESV
2 Samuel 3:33 NASB
2 Samuel 3:33 KJV

2 Samuel 3:33 Bible Apps
2 Samuel 3:33 Parallel
2 Samuel 3:33 Biblia Paralela
2 Samuel 3:33 Chinese Bible
2 Samuel 3:33 French Bible
2 Samuel 3:33 German Bible

2 Samuel 3:33 Commentaries

Bible Hub
2 Samuel 3:32
Top of Page
Top of Page