2 Samuel 3:4
his fourth was Adonijah, the son of Haggith; his fifth was Shephatiah, the son of Abital;
The House of DavidB. Dale 2 Samuel 3:1-5
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

2 Samuel 3:1-5. - (HEBRON.)

1. The theocracy had its chief support in David and his house. On him also rested the Messianic hope (2 Samuel 7:13). Hence the importance which attaches to events of his life that would otherwise have been left unrecorded.

2. "The summary narrative of these seven years presents the still youthful king in a very lovable light. The same temper which had marked his first acts after Saul's death is here strikingly brought out. He seems to have left the conduct of the war altogether with Joab, as if he shrank from striking a single blow for his own advancement. When he does interfere, it is on the side of peace, to curb and chastise ferocious vengeance and dastardly assassination. The incidents recorded all go to make up a picture of rare generosity, of patient waiting for God to fulfil his purposes, of longing that the miserable strife between the tribes of God's inheritance should end" (A. Maclaren).

3. In the house of David, at war with the house of Saul, we see an embodiment of the great conflict between good and evil; a representation of "the household of faith" as opposed to the world, and the spirit as opposed to the flesh (Galatians 5:17). Notice -

I. ITS PROTRACTED ANTAGONISM. "And there was long war," etc. It:

1. Is rendered necessary by the opposite nature and aims of the contending parties. "These are contrary the one to the other."

2. Implies a state of constant warfare, and involves many a painful struggle. "What grievous tales of distress are folded up in these brief words!"

3. Is permitted by God for wise and beneficent purposes: to test the principles of his servants; to exercise their faith and patience; to strengthen, purify, and perfect their character.

4. And must go on to the end. "This is a battle, from which, as it ends only with life, there is no escape; and he who fights not in it is of necessity either taken captive or slain" (Scupoli).

II. ITS INCREASING STRENGTH. "David waxed stronger and stronger," in the number of his followers, the amount of his resources, the unity and vigour of their employment, the stability of his position, the extent of his influence, the assurance of his success. And all who "strive against sin" within and without also "go from strength to strength:"

1. In patiently waiting upon God and faithfully doing his will. "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart" (Psalm 27:14).

2. By the bestowment of his grace and the cooperation of his providence, directing, protecting, and prospering them, in accordance with his promises. Their strength is not self-derived, but "cometh from the Lord." "And he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God," etc. (Zechariah 12:8); "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4); "I have all strength in him that giveth me power" (Philippians 4:13).

3. And thereby they show that God is with them, and that his righteous purposes concerning them will be accomplished.

III. ITS DECLINING OPPONENTS. "And the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker," relatively and proportionately to the growth of David's, and in consequence of the protracted antagonism and increasing strength of the latter.

1. In wilful separation from God, and seeking their own selfish ends in opposition to his will (see 2 Samuel 2:8-12). Those who fall away from God fall into self-division and self-contention (ver. 8); "and a house divided against itself cannot stand."

2. By the immovable might of God against whom they set themselves (Psalm 2:4), and his wrath, which is "revealed from heaven against all ungodliness," etc. (Romans 1:18). They are like a wave that dashes against a rock and is broken and scattered in foam. "The face of the Lord is against them that do evil" (1 Peter 3:12).

3. And thereby they prove that God is against them, and are taught that their purposes will assuredly fail and they themselves be overthrown. From the time of his defeat (2 Samuel 2:17), if not from the very first, Abner probably felt that the cause in which he had embarked was hopeless. "He recognized now most distinctly in David the rising star in Israel; and, however haughtily his words might sound, he only sought to conceal behind them his despair of Ishbosheth" (Krummacher).

IV. ITS PERILOUS RELATIONSHIPS. (Vers. 2-5.) "The increasing political strength of David was shown, as usual among Eastern monarchs, by the fresh alliances through marriage into which he now entered" (Edersheim). In addition to his three wives, Michal, Ahinoam (mother of Amnon), and Abigail (mother of Chileab, who appears to have died early), he had "Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur" (mother of Absalom and Tamar), Haggith (mother of Adonijah), Abital, and Eglah; and he afterwards still further enlarged the royal household (2 Samuel 4:13-16). "None of his sons here mentioned were eminent for virtue, and some of them were notorious for their sins." Polygamy was tolerated by the Law of Moses (1 Samuel 1:2), although the king was forbidden (Deuteronomy 17:17) to "multiply wives to himself;" and it was practised by David in conformity with ancient and prevalent custom, from political considerations and natural inclinations, without reproof (ch. 12:8); but (as his subsequent history shows) it fostered in him a sensual tendency, undermined his moral strength, and produced innumerable enmities and other evils in his family: "One deadly element of future woe mingled itself with the establishment of the kingdom of David - he brought into his family the curse of the harem. An utter lack of discipline was one of its first fruits; and it brought yet deeper ill even than that; for it poisoned all the springs of family life, and tainted it with ever-recurring impurity; working in him and all around him its universal fruits of impurity, jealousy, hatred, incest, and blood" ('Heroes of Hebrews Hist.'). "It was the immemorial custom in all those countries for the magnificence and power of a ruler to display itself in the multiplication of his establishment, that is, of his wives; forevery wife involved a separate establishment. It shows the utmost depravity when Christians seek to shelter their own unjust and shameless lives under an appeal to that of David, and that, too, although none of their other proceedings show the smallest trace of David's noble spirit, and although they are by no means ready to bear as David did the consequences of their shame" (Ewald). "If we want exemplifications of all the miseries and curses which spring from the mixture of families and the degradation of woman in the court and country where polygamy exists, David's history supplies them. No maxims of morality can be half so effectual as a faithful record of terrible effects like these" (Maurice). In view of these effects we learn that no strength or prosperity can be lasting where "the friendship of the world" is cherished, and "the lusts of the flesh" are suffered to prevail; and that victory over some opponents may be followed by defeat by other more subtle and dangerous foes. - D.

I am this day weak, though anointed king.
David utters the words which hint at something concerning the balancings in life.

I. SOME DISAPPOINTMENT IS SURE TO FOLLOW UPON THE ATTAINMENT OF OUR HOPES AND TO INTERMINGLE WITH OUR JOYS. Men struggle for riches all life long, and when they have gained them, oft have no power of enjoyment left. The argosy of food is just coming into port, but somehow is caught by the tide, driven behind the pier, and wrecked on the rugged rocks outside. The topmost step of the throne is reached, the sceptre grasped, the crown placed on the head, when the thorn is felt pressing into the tender brow and the paean of joy is toned by the minor note of sorrow. This is not the invariable experience, but general. One might say that the exceptions establish the rule.

II. THESE BALANCINGS IN LIFE ARE INTENDED BY THE AUTHOR OF ALL LIFE. God has not promised that ease shall always follow on effort, nor full peace come immediately a victory is won. It is of the Divine appointment that those who have wealth, powers, or high position shall often have also strong jealousies, bitter annoyances, severe domestic troubles, great losses, unfulfilled expectations, and harsh regrets over unrealized ideas. That man of genteel manners and calm exterior has a very Vesuvius in his breast. You see not the throes that disturb his soul. So poverty and weakness, sickness and solitude, as well as strength and riches, have their balancings. Power can grow out of privation, and strength out of suffering, while ennui may be the offspring of pleasurable ease and satiety of constant satisfaction. All happiness has its alloy and all sorrow its surcease. This is by Divine arrangement. These thoughts should teach us —

1. To find all our joy and strength in God.

2. To be thankful for any balancings that may develop being and life.

3. To see to it that we so live that no painful counterbalancing may follow upon this life in the future; to be careful lest the very greatness of the glory and richness of the reward should only make us feel how meagre was our earth-life and unpardonable our spiritual coldness.

4. That we should never let despondency seize us, remembering these balancings in life.

5. Many are weak and know it not. They are anointed heirs of God, kings and priests, but through sin they are weak every day. David knew what he had lost when Abner was taken; but many so live that they ignore the loss they suffer by their wilful ignorance of Christ, through whom alone any can be really strong and kingly in spirit.

(Frederick Hastinas.)

I. WE HAY BE ANOINTED, AND YET WEAK. Every believer is an anointed king. He was really anointed in the covenant of election before the world was. When Jesus Christ was set up from everlasting, His people were really set up in Him. Every child of God also was actually anointed when Jesus Christ ascended up on high, and led captivity captive and received gifts for men. But in our souls, our anointing time comes in that hour when, being called by grace and washed from sin, we begin to reign over sin, self, the world, death, and hell, by virtue of our union with Christ. Every believer is a king to-day. And yet it is quite possible that he may be groaning out, "I am weak;" for weakness and Divine Anointing may stand together. God's children are often very weak in faith: they stagger at the promise through unbelief. It is not always in their power to "set to their seal that God is true." Christians have ebbs of faith as well as floods; they have winters as well as summers; they have times of drought, and years of famine. The weakness of a Christian's faith may also affect all his other graces. It must do so; for when faith is strong, every other grace is strong; when that is weak, all things else decline. It may be to-day that your hope has become very dim; you are in bondage through fear of death, and see not the mansions in the skies. You have forgotten that you are in Christ, and now you no more look for His appearing. Your hope declines, and all your comfort dies.

1. Let me remark that David at this special time felt his weakness, more particularly because he was in a new position. He has come into a new place — nations are at his feet — men bow before him; it is a new position, and he says, "I am this day weak, though anointed king." Whenever you make a change in life; whenever God calls you to another set of duties, you will surely find out what perhaps you do not now believe — that you are weak, though anointed king.

2. Here, too, David had come into new temptation. The arrows had been shot at him before, from one direction alone, now the storm caeses on one side, and begins on the other. If men knew that the storm would always ,come to one side of the house they would repair and strengthen it, and then they would not fear the blast; but if on a sudden it whirled round and took the other corner, how would they be prepared for that? Where there is the honey of royalty, there will surely be the wasps of temptations. High places and God's praise do seldom well agree; a full cup is not easily carried without spilling, and he that stands on a pinnacle needs a clear head and much grace.

3. And then further, David had now come into new duties. It was his duty to have taken Joab and have made him suffer the full penalty of the law for having killed Abner. A king must defend the oppressed and avenge the murdered, but David fails to perform the new duty, for he feels that he is too weak.

II. IT WAS BUT LITTLE WONDERFUL THAT DAVID'S KINGDOM WAS WEAK, FOR IT WAS BUT NEWLY GAINED; and. it is but little marvel if we also are very weak in the beginning of our spiritual life. When a king has had time to set himself down upon his throne, and to sweep away before him this party and that, either by politics or by the power of the sword, and so to put down every rival, then his throne becomes confirmed. Young Christian, it is no wonder that you are weak, when the good work has only lately begun with you. See the lambs in the fold: it is well that they have been shorn in good weather, for what would become of the shorn lamb in the untempered wind? Shall we suppose that the young sapling shall stand as firmly as the oak with its gnarled roots and its hoary branches, which have been twisted together by many a storm? What! Shall a babe fight a battle? Shall a new-born infant go forth to war? Do you wonder because the new creature is weak? Wonder rather at its power, than at its weakness.

III. DAVID WAS WEAK ONLY IN THE FLESH, and that the Christian truly is only weak there. Why was David weak? "Because," said he, "the sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me. I cannot subdue them; I cannot keep them under; I cannot manage any kingdom whilst such turbulent spirits as these interfere and intermeddle with everything."

IV. IT IS WHERE THE FLESH IS STRONG THAT WE ARE WEAK. Why was not David strong? Why, because of the sons of Zeruiah, yet these sons of Zeruiah were his greatest strength. What could he have done without Joab and Abishai — Joab the man who smote the garrison of Jebus, and Abishai who slew three hundred men in single-handed fight. What could he do without these? These were David's mighty men, those who always led the van, and with a tremendous shout dashed among the Philistines, and scattered the uncircumcised. So it is with us. Whatever is our strength in the flesh is sure to be our weakness in the spirit. Remember that your sons of Zeruiah will be hard to manage. I believe the strength of God, s ministers generally lies in the points where they are the weakest, and their weakness usually lies in their strength. That is to say, natural strength will be toned down by a spiritual weakness, and a natural weakness will be exalted and be made the vehicle and channel for spiritual strength. It has often been so. The very physical appearance of Paul, his personal presence which was said to be weak and contemptible, becomes to him the subject of glorying. He glories in his infirmity, for it is the means of giving honour to God. "This is strange logic," says one. It is; God's logic is strange. Gideon fears the Midianites because of the slender number of his soldiers, but the Lord says, "the people are yet too many for me." The king of Judah on another occasion hires for himself with so many hundred thousand talents a number of mercenary troops from the king of Israel. "Now," says he, "I shall win the battle"; but before the battle begins the prophet bids him send these men back. God can do better without means than he can with means that are audacious enough to think themselves necessary. The Lord will always throw the sword away from his hand when that sword begins to boast itself. Assyria is his axe to cut down the cedars, but if you set down any good thing you have ever done to yourself, God will bring you down.

V. OUR WEAKNESS SHALL NOT PREVENT OUR REIGNING BY-AND-BY. David's kingdom did not shake, even when his heart failed him; and it would have stood just as fast if he had knocked away Joab and Abishai, who seemed to be the props that supported it. It was David's business to believe that come what may God's purpose must stand, and God will do all His pleasure. It is just the same with you, Christian, to-day. However weak you may be, and whatever means may have failed you, remember God hath said it — you shall be saved; He has promised that you shall be glorified with Christ; and so you must be, come fair, come foul.

(C . H. Spurgeon.)

I. MUCH OF OUR WEAKNESS ARISES FROM WANT OF FAITH IN THE LOVINGKINDNESS OF GOD. Now, many of us think that unless we have money and health and friends, God does not trouble about us. And this want of faith in His love and care makes us weak in every step of life. Instead of being cheerful, we are full of anxiety, and instead of being joyous as a lark we mope like a chained dog that has no dinner.

1. Let us have sincere faith in God.

2. Hold on to faith in another world. Let no man wrest that faith from you.

3. Hold on to this faith, and it will make you strong to bear burdens, to resist temptations, to endure sufferings, and to die in peace.

II. Another thing that weakens us is WHEN WE PERMIT OURSELVES TO BE SOURED IN TEMPER BECAUSE OF DEFEAT OR OPPOSITION IN LIFE. We ought to feel ashamed of ourselves when we complain of our surroundings. Be cheerful in heart, trusting God. Don't be soured by the so-called "evils" of life; but sing joyfully as you go along.

III. Another cause of our weakness is that WHILE SOME OF US PUT OFF THE DEVIL'S REGIMENTALS, WE OMIT TO PUT ON CHRISTIAN ARMOUR. The Lord Jesus tells of a man who cleansed his house. He turned out the big devils and made his house beautiful. After awhile, one Of the devils returned, and seeing the house garnished but empty — not filled with angels in place of the devils — he entered and brought with him ten Other devils worse than himself. It is so, alas I with many professors. They turn out the big, ugly devils, but they forget to take in the angels. If your heart be empty of a great and powerful love for God and mankind, sin will enter in, and show itself very soon in your life.

(W. Birch.)

Christian Weekly.
If an electric car stands motionless on the tracks, it is nothing against the power of electricity. If an invalid has no appetite, and cannot go out of doors at night, it is no argument against things good to eat and the joy of starlit air. If a man does not know a flower by name. nor a poem by heart, it is no indictment of the beauty of a rose or the charm of some poem. If we bear the name of Christ, but give no other sign of Him, if we go through the forms of godliness but live powerless lives, it is a thousand reproaches to us. To be powerless when Christ has all power, and we can have all we want, is an arraignment to which we can make no answer that is not self-incriminating.

(Christian Weekly.)

To his confidential servants David speaks his whole mind freely. He feels that some apology is needed for leaving the authors of this heinous crime unpunished. As an excuse for doing so he pleads his youth and weakness. Though he had been anointed king, his kingdom' was as yet far from being securely established, he could not dispense with his warlike nephews' help. He dared not order the execution of his best general. Probably the army would have interfered to prevent it. But he protests against their hardness and cruelty, and declares that Joab will not escape the Divine judgment for his crime. "It was one of those movements in which a king, even with the best intentions, must feel to his own heavy cost the weakness of everything human and the limits of human supremacy." Ewald's Hist. of Israel.

(A. F. Kirkpatrick, M. A.)

"It is worse than a crime," says an astute politician, "it is a blunder." And though it was a clear enough crime in David to pass by Joab's murder of Abner, it came out afterwards to be a most terrible blunder. All David's after life might well have been different but for that blunder. There might have been no "matter of Uriah," and no rebellion of Absalom, and none of the other miseries that so desolated David's house, had he not committed this fatal blunder of letting Joab live. David knew his duty quite well. "The Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness," David proclaimed over Abner's mangled body. Yes; but David held the sword for no other purpose than to be the Lord's right hand in rewarding all the evil that was done in Israel in his day. But, then, Joab was the most powerful and the most necessary man in Israel, and Abner had no friends, and David contented himself with pronouncing an eloquent requiem over Abner, and leaving his murderer to go free in all his offices and all his honours. Joab was deep enough to understand quite well why his life was spared. He knew quite well that it was fear and not love that had moved David to let him live. It was a diplomatic act of David to spare Joab, but David was playing with a far deeper diplomatist than himself. Very soon we shall see this respited assassin ordering David about and dictating to him till we shall pity David as well as blame him. Joab's impunity speedily shot up into an increased contempt for David, till secret contempt became open insolence, and open insolence open and unavenged rebellion. Was it not a blunder?

"In the corrupted currents of this world,

Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice,

And oft 'tis seen, the wicked prize itself

Buys out the law: but 'tis not so above;

There is no shuffling, there the action lies

In his true nature; and we ourselves compell'd,

Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,

To give in evidence."

(Alex. Whyte, D. D.).

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
Abital, Abi'tal, Adonijah, Adoni'jah, Fifth, Fourth, Haggith, Shephatiah, Shephati'ah
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 3:1-5

     5732   polygamy

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

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