“Let the young men now arise and compete.”
— 2 Samuel 2:14
After the death of Saul and his three sons in battle, Abner proclaimed Saul’s only remaining son, Ishbosheth, king over all Israel (2 Sam. 2:8–10). Only Judah followed David. One day the commanders of the two kings met on opposite sides of a pool in the town of Gibeon (2 Sam. 2:13). Abner, the commander of Ishbosheth’s troops, said to Joab, David’s commander, “Let the young men now arise and compete” (v. 14). Joab and Abner may have been friends at one time and were boasting to each other about their armies.
“So they arose and went over by number, twelve from Benjamin, followers of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve from the servants of David. And each one grasped his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side” (2 Sam. 2:15–16). What seems to have begun as a competition grew into a fierce battle between the two sides (v. 17). Abner’s men eventually got the worst of it. Perhaps David’s men had simply received better training and knew how to work as a team.
Adapted from David: After God’s Heart, page 90.
Tomorrow: “Competition Between the Generals” (2)