Alliances and Rulership

Alliances and Rulership

Joab was to David what Abner 
was to King Saul. Abner was 
the general over Saul’s army and 
he rode with his King into 
many battles. He was with Saul 
at the final battle where the King 
and his sons died. He barely 
escaped with his life.

As it was in those days, 
after the fierce battle. The people 
came to the battlefront to pick 
their dead relatives and ensure they 
were given a proper burial. 
An Amalekite came across the bodies 
of King Saul and that of his 
He picked the crown and other 
valuables he could get. (This 
was not unusual in those days too.
What the dead does not need, 
the living takes. This Amalekite man 
was aware of the feud between 
the late King Saul and David.
He decided to take advantage 
of it by claiming that he had 
helped King David get rid of 
his enemy. David knew the truth.
He knew King Saul committed suicide
When the battle was fierce but he 
didn’t want an Amalekite going 
about claiming 
he killed the anointed of the Lord 
without consequence.

For David, the anointed of the Lord 
Is untouchable for everyone even 
when such a person deserves to die 
or had been overbearing and unreasonable. 
David killed the Amalekite man. 
He told him he had to die 
for claiming he had killed the anointed 
of the Lord. That was how fierce 
David’s loyalty to the throne of 
King Saul was. Even though King 
Saul had sworn to kill him and 
deployed much time and resources 
to see it done.

David refused to touch the anointed 
of the Lord. When Abner got 
back to the palace, he gathered 
the remaining soldiers of Israel 
and began to rebuild. Saul’s last 
living son, Ishbosheth had taken 
the throne and started his reign as 
the king of Israel but he was a 
young man who had no understanding 
of what it means to be a King.

Abner stood by him and Abner’s 
presence lends a sort of legitimacy 
to his reign. Ishbosheth was young 
and unwise, he sat in the palace 
and ruled within the walls of his 
father’s house
He lacked the ability to galvanize 
the nation towards recovery and healing 
after the death of so many Israelites.
The people did not know him and 
he didn’t make any attempt to 
know them. As a king from a rich 
background, he had enough food 
on his table and he had his title.
It was enough for him.
Abner on the other hand was 
the one who established his popularity 
all over King Saul’s territory
His influence grew and the nation 
knew him more than they knew 
their king

Abner’s army and Joab’s army met 
by chance one day and they decided 
to have a competition of sorts.
It turned bloody.
Joab’s younger brother Asahel
decided he wanted Abner’s scalp.
Abner knew the young man was a 
teenager and still green. 
He warned him to find someone else 
to fight because they were unevenly 
Asahel refused to listen.
He was ambitious.
He wanted to kill a general.
Asahel and Abner fought.
Abner won easily.
Asahel was killed and the whole 
of the army knew the death 
would have consequences.
Joab was not a forgiving man.
When Abner got to the palace 
of Ishbosheth after the death of Asahel, 
the young king was angry with him 
Over a report he got that Abner 
was sleeping with one of his late
king’s concubine.
Abner lost it.

Being ruled by a child is a 
very testing experience, Abner decided 
he would pledge his allegiance to David.
This left Ishbosheth defenseless and 
He was soon killed by two criminals.
Abner went to meet David and they 
had a heart-to-heart talk.
David was anointed to become 
king at the age of 17. He spent 3 
years serving King Saul, 10 years 
running from King Saul before he was 
made king over Judah 
(the southern kingdom). 
He had ruled in Judah 
for seven years before Abner came to 
hand over the northern kingdom to him
All Abner wanted was to keep 
his position as the general of the 
Army in exchange for giving 
David the northern kingdom.
David saw it as a very good 
deal and David took it.

He swore an oath with Abner and 
announced to his men that a deal 
had been brokered. Joab was 
not in the palace when the deal
happened. He was informed of the 
development as soon as he arrived 
that same day. Joab said, 
“And David accepted this proposal?”
He was told “Yes sir”
Joab saddled his horse and raced
after Abner. When he caught up 
with Abner, he told Abner he 
came in the name of David and 
wanted to have a private chat.
Abner followed Joab to the cistern 
of Sirah. Joab took a knife and 
stabbed Abner to death.

When David heard, David cried 
out in pain “Should Abner die 
as a fool dies? Your hands were 
not bound nor your feet fettered.
You were killed as one dies 
before the wicked”
David fasted and cried for hours.
The alliance he sought had been 
destroyed but he wanted the people 
of the Northern Kingdom to know that 
he didn’t sanction Abner’s death 
and that he honored him and 
mourned him as a brother.
It worked, within a month, 
the Northern Kingdom accepted
David as their King and he began 
to rule over both the Northern 
and Southern kingdoms.

Joab remained David’s general
When David attempted to choose 
another man called Amasa as his 
general, Joab killed that man too.
David realized Joab wouldn’t tolerate 
a rival and left Joab alone
but he did not forget Joab’s 
wickedness. On his deathbed, 
David told Solomon not to allow 
Joab die a normal death
He said “Don’t let his head 
rest on his shoulders”
Solomon understood his father’s 
request and executed Joab!

PS: Even though David was anointed 
king over Israel, he had to work 
with all sorts of men.
Joab was not all evil, he had 
his good side. 
He conquered Jerusalem and sent 
for David to ride into 
the city in a victory parade as 
a mark of honor. He was fiercely 
loyal to David and his throne 
until the king became frail and 
Adonijah persuaded him to support 
his bid for the throne.
He helped restore the relationship 
between David and his son Absalom 
and ironically killed Absalom when 
he took over David’s throne.
All sorts of characters are found
in the corridors of power in 
every nation.
A wise ruler works with them all.
The worst thing Joab did was 
the part he played in the death 
of Uriah. David knew Joab would 
do it that was why it was easy 
for David to tow that path.
Another man would have spoken 
with the king and found an 
Joab didn’t.

In a democracy, there are no 
permanent enemies!