DAVID INQUIRED OF THE LORD: Urim and Thummim (Num
27:21; 1Sa 23:6,9; 30:7,8).
Concern for Saul, the LORD's Anointed. Also, an astute
ABNER... HAD TAKEN ISH-BOSHETH...: Ish-bosheth is only
a weak puppet; Abner is the real power.
ISH-BOSHETH: Ish-Bosheth is a Hebrew name meaning "man
of shame." Comparison of several Old Testament passages indicates that this man
was referred to under several names. In 1Sa 14:49 the name is probably Ishvi
(ASV) or Ishui (KJV), unless this is another name for Abinadab (1Sa 31:2). In
2Sa 2:8 the name is Ishbosheth. In 1Ch 8:33 it is Esh-baal, a compound which was
probably the original name. Some think the name was intended to exalt Yahweh as
Lord (or 'baal'), but was changed to Ishbosheth (as apparently happened with
"Jerubbaal" of Jdg 6:32, altered to Jerub-Besheth of 2Sa 11:21) when the story
of his shameful murder was related (2Sa 4:1-12), in order to make it refer
prophetically to the manner of his death.
Abner worked his way southward until his dominion touched that
of David. Now some conflict was inevitable (vv 12,13).
TWO YEARS: The gradual acquisition of power for 5 1/2
years explains discrepancy between 2 and 7 1/2 (v 11).
God often works very gradually; we must learn to
ABNER... LEFT MAHANAIM AND WENT TO GIBEON: Certainly
with some purpose of aggression.
ZERUIAH: One of David's sisters (1Ch 2:16).
Do we enjoy "skirmishes" with our brethren? The outcome of
such an enterprise can scarcely if even be good.
Either a skirmish, mock-fight, "play", or "sport" (as LXX
implies). Or a fight by champion -- rather than a general war between the 2
whole armies: "A general engagement of troops could... be avoided by the
substitution of a contest of teams of champions. It appears that such was the
case with the two teams of twelve men each who fought for David and Ishbaal at
the pool of Gibeon" (EBC).
But passions become inflamed on both sides, and the war
escalates. (If we sanction strife, we will suffer for it: cp Gal
Prob the young Asahel got "carried away" when he should have
accepted the results of the "skirmish".
...STRIP HIM OF HIS WEAPONS: Abner hoped that the armor
only would be enough to appease the young man.
THE BUTT OF HIS SPEAR: Abner did not wish to kill
Asahel -- or else this was a defensive maneuver while fleeing.