“Let the young men now arise and compete.”…
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….
But the servants of David had struck down many of Benjamin and Abner’s men, so that three hundred and sixty men died.
— 2 Samuel 2:14, 15-16, 31
Abner and his troops had to flee. Though Abner must have been a mighty warrior, he could not outrun Asahel, Joab’s brother, who was determined to overtake him. Abner told Asahel to stop chasing him and kill one of his young men instead (v. 21). This reveals that Abner had little concern for those in his care.
I hope none of us are like this. Abner used others as pawns to achieve success and make himself look good. Asahel was foolish to pursue Abner in the first place. Perhaps he was caught up with the zeal of killing Abner as the top trophy.
Adapted from David: After God’s Heart, pages 90-91.
Tomorrow: “Competition Between the Generals” (4)