“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 again said to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I face your brother Joab” (v. 22). These two commanders seem to have been good friends and both willingly sacrificed those under their command. They shook hands, and those under them died. We should never treat those under our care as capital. We should never consider those we serve as our strength. They belong to God, not to us.
Adapted from David: After God’s Heart, page 91.
Tomorrow: “Competition Between the Generals” (5)