... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)


David and Joab: wisdom and justice!

… May the Lord punish these criminals as they deserve!
2 Samuel 3:39 (GNT)

Words spoken by King David over the commander of his army, Joab. Why? And did the Almighty Father bring justice about? Who was this Joab? He was ...

... one of the three sons of Zeruiah whom was David's sister, 2 Samuel 2:18. Joab and his brothers Abishai and Asahel joined David when he was in hiding, 1 Samuel 22:1-2. Joab became a high ranking officer, commander of Judah's army and later of Israel's army under King David - 2 Samuel 20:25 - while his brothers also joined the military. Joab was mentioned in the list of David's hero's2 Samuel 23:37 - but at a lower position then his brother Abishai whom fought side by side with David against the giants - 2 Samuel 21:15-22 and 23: 18 - although Joab did hold a higher position than him over David's troops. Joab was also became a man of means as 2 Samuel 14:30 speaks of his land where he was growing barley.

Even though the sons of Zeruiah were close to David, this didn't mean he always followed their advise. In the case of David having the chance to kill King Saul for example, he didn't follow their advise, 1 Samuel 24:5-8 and 26:7-11. Nor did he in both occasions in the case of dealing with Saul's relative Shimei - 2 Samuel 16:9-10 and 19:22-24 - whom was cursing David the day he had to flee Jerusalem because of his son Absalom's attempt to rise to power, which by the way was halted through battle. 

David was well aware of the fact that the son's of Zeruiah were causing him trouble as he himself said in two occasions, 2 Samuel 16:9-10 and 19:21-22 (GNB),

9 Abishai, whose mother was Zeruiah, said to the king, Your Majesty, why do you let this dog curse you? Let me go over there and cut off his head! 10 This is none of your business, the king said to Abishai and his brother Joab. If he curses me because the Lord told him to, who has the right to ask why he does it?

21 Abishai son of Zeruiah spoke up: Shimei should be put to death because he cursed the one whom the Lord chose as king. 22 But David said to Abishai and his brother Joab, Who asked your opinion? Are you going to give me trouble? I am the one who is king of Israel now, and no Israelite will be put to death today.

Joab first crime: Abner

Battle sons of Zeruiah, with Joab as the commander of King David's military troops and their men against Abner the son of Ner commander of Israel's troops and his men. They were on King David, then king over Judah. They lost their brother Asael by he lance of Abner, even though initially Abner didn't want to kill Asahel because he wouldn't have wanted to face his brother Joab - 2 Samuel 2:17-22 - but Asahel, fast runner, didn't stop chasing him during the battle. Abner was the commander of King Ishbosheth's army of Israel, a son of Saul whom Abner made king over Israel - 2 Samuel 2:8-10 - while the tribe of Judah remained faithful to David whom they made their king, 2 Samuel 2:1-7. Before him, Abner served King Saul as such, 1 Samuel 26:13-16

2 Samuel 2:12-32 narrates the battle between Joab and Abner, which ended in the death of 19 of Joab's men in addition to his brother Asahel whom they buried in the family tomb at Bethlehem and 360 of Abner's men. The battle between the forces supporting King David and those in support of Saul's family went on for a long time - 2 Samuel 3:1 - as David became stronger because the Almighty God was with him - 1 Chronicles 11:9 - while his opponents became weaker. But, didn't the Almighty God want David to be the king of the whole of Israel and not only of Judah?

Abner gained more power by the day amongst the followers of Saul and after an argument with Ishbosheth - 2 Samuel 3:6-8 - he started to play a key role into gathering the rest of Israel under David's leadership, 2 Samuel 3:9-11. Abner exchanged messages with David about making an agreement with him, and David agreed to speak with Abner under the condition that he would bring David's first wife, Michal the daughter of Saul, to him when he came to discus the terms of the agreement. So did Abner and David received him at Hebron from where he ruled and gave a feast for him and his twenty men while giving him a guarantee for safety, 2 Samuel 3:12-16. Before Abner went to see David, he had talks to formulate the agreement with the leadership of the tribe of Benjamin and the rest of Israel - 2 Samuel 3:17-19 - whom wanted David as their king all along. 

The only problem was, Joab didn't agree with Abner having talks with David about the subject because he didn't trust him - 2 Samuel 3:23-25 - and he wanted revenge for him killing his brother, 2 Samuel 2:23. Joab wanted things to go his way, so he arranged a way to meet Abner privately and he killed him - 2 Samuel 3:2726-27 - without David's knowledge. Abner did kill Asahel, after warning him a couple of times, in battle. But, Joab murdered Abner as he killed him at a time of peace not in battle.

The Almighty Father waits for the right time to punish his enemies!

35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; Deuteronomy 32:35 (NIV)

David's reaction to Joab's crime.

David's reaction to Joab's action? David said that he and his subjects were completely innocent - 2 Samuel 3:28 - and spoke of punishment that could come over Joab and his family. He ordered Joab and his men to mourn, while at Abner's funeral David himself in mourning walked behind his coffin, and sang a song of lament for Abner whom he called a great leader of in Israel. All David's people and those of Israel understood he didn't have any part in the killing of Abner, 2 Samuel 3:31-38

But, if David had nothing to do with the death of Abner, what did he as the king of Judah do to punish the killer Joab? The man that confronted and fought the giant Goliath leaving him headless surely had the courage and power to deal with Joab himself. King David did … nothing! He didn't even confront him. But, he did sent up a prayer. Now, was David all of a sudden a coward, or was this a wise decision?

This is what David had to say on this Matter, 2 Samuel 3:39 (NIV),
39 And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!”

So, David even though he was king of Judah, he felt week and unable to deal with Joab the commander of his army. He left it to God to deal with Joab. He had faith that justice will be done in time by the Almighty himself. At that time a wise decision for Joab in his position over the military, did have some weight in Judah. Remember even Abner had rather not face him, 2 Samuel 2:17-22. And as a family member in his position he like wise must have had considerable influence.

David's trusted men considered him to be the lamp of Israel that should not be extinguished, 2 Samuel 21:17(NIV). And, it was said about King David that he was as wise as the angel of God and knows everything that happens, 2 Samuel 14:20. But, was it wisdom that he left the punishment of Joab up to the Almighty Father? At the time this decision was wise. Events later in time would assert how Joab would not stop to nothing to get things going his way.

And, justice? That did come about later, much later after David's death even.

Joab kills Amasa and Absalom

Years later, it was after about thirty three years, for killing Abner took place shortly before David was asked by the leaders of Israel to become their king and David ruled after seven and a half years over Judah an additional thirty three years over the whole of Israel. And justice was done after his death by his son Salomon. How did that come about?

Often when some one who committed a crime and think that they have got away with it, they might do it again. So did Joab. He took the life of two other man, one in battle but the other he murdered. At this time Joab was the commander of Israel's army. A position he earned when David took Jerusalem in. Joab was the first to lead the attack on the Jebusites - 1 Chronicles 11:4-9 - and David rewarded him by giving him the position as he promised he would to the one whom would achieve this. Now, after so many years he murdered Amasa commander of the army of Israel, 1 Kings 2:32. David send first Amasa, his relative whom he made commander of Israel's army instead of Joab - 2 Samuel 19:13 - to deal with the revolt led by Sheba which started after David returned on request of the Israeli leadership to Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 20:4-5. When David send Abishai with his royal guard out to assist Amasa, Joab dressed up for battle, joined him and when Amasa met them along the way Joab cowardly murdered him, 2 Samuel 20: 8-13.

But before Amasa, Joab killed Absalom the son of David whom tried to claim David's throne by setting up a coup - he was later defeated and killed, against David's strict orders not to harm him, in battle, 2 Samuel 18:9-17 - with help of Ahithophel, David's most trusted advisor at the time - 2 Samuel 16:23 - whom later realizing he couldn't achieve his goal committed suicide, 2 Samuel 17:23

What was Joab's real motive to kill Absalom in battle? Actually earlier it was Joab whom by his own initiative brought Absalom back to Jerusalem - 2 Samuel 14:1-24,28 – where he lived for two years without seeing David. After Absalom lived in exile for three years - 2 Samuel 13:39 - because he killed his half brother Amnon over his sister Tamar that Amnon had abused, 2 Samuel 13. But, when Absalom wanted to force Joab to come and see him - 2 Samuel 14:28-33 - because Absalom wanted Joab to make arrangements for him to see his father David to bring about their reconciliation - 2 Samuel 14:25-33 - Absalom burned down Joabs harvest, 2 Samuel 14:28-33.

... 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ... Romans 12:17-21 (NIV)

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22 (NIV)

Justice will be done!

Joab would only be held accountable by Salomon on strong advice of his father - 1 Kings 2:5-6 - for the deaths of Abner and Amasa, two men whom were innocent, for he didn't kill them in battle but murdered them - 1 Kings 2:31-33 - driven by his own personal motives and without the knowledge of King David. And, even though Joab didn't choose the side of Absalom, he did prefer Adonijah to become king after David died instead of Salomon whom was David's and God's choice. David didn't see justice done, but he trusted the Almighty God and was confident that his son Salomon would get this job done. 

Joab's motives to each of these three deaths he caused were personal; first the death of his brother Asahel, second the burning down of his harvest by Absalom, and third him in an attempt to regain his power and position of commander of Israel's army - 2 Samuel 20:23 – which he lost to Amasa, whom was made commender of Israel's army in his place. So, Joab was a man whom put his own personal motives and wishes first before all, even before that of the king of Israel. Once Joab even threatened David with loosing the support of his army, which he characterised as the worst disaster that would ever happen to David - 2 Samuel 19:7 - After which David made Amasa in charche of Israel's army instead of him. But Joab retaliated and killed him. This does show the power Joab had within the army.

Benaiah killed Joab in the Tent of God's presence, the Tabernacle - 1 Kings 2:28-35 - and afterwards King Salomon made Benaiah commander of Israel's army instead of Joab, 1 Kings 2:35

Joab holding to the corners of the altar - 1 Kings 2:28 - couldn't save him, for as Exodus 21:14 puts it,
14 But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death.

And, Exodus 21:12 says,
12 “Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death.

According to the law, approved by King David, ordered by King Salomon and by the hand of Benaiah, … justice was served!

King David,
47 “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior! 
48 He is the God who avenges me,who puts the nations under me,
49 who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me.
50 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. 

51 “He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever."

2 Samuel 22:47 -51 (NIV)/ Psalm 18


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Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: King David