SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Civil war between David's followers (Judah) and the house of Saul (Israel) continued for a long time.
- Ish-Bosheth speaks out against Abner, accusing him of sleeping with Saul's concubine. As a result Abner devises a plan to turn over the kingdom of Israel to David.
- David demands his former wife Michal back before he will negotiate peace with Israel. Saul had arranged the marriage with Michal to reward David for his acts of bravery, but later in a fit of rage took Michal away from David.
- Joab takes revenge for the death of his brother Asahel by killing Abner. (David was on the verge of becoming king over the entire nation, and utilizing Abner was the key to winning over Israel.) Joab's murderous act ruined David's plans.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- This conflict between Israel and Judah occurred because they had lost sight of God's vision and purpose for His people. Instead of uniting to accomplish God's goals and follow Him, they fought each other.
- David suffered much heartache because of his many wives. Polygamy was a socially acceptable practice for kings at this time, but it was not God's will (Deuteronomy 17:14-17). The numerous sons born to David's wives caused him great trouble, as we'll see throughout the book of 2 Samuel.
- Joab took revenge for the death of his brother instead of leaving justice to God. However, that revenge would backfire on him (see 1 Kings 2:31-34).
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- When you are facing conflict, step back from the disagreement and consider whether you and your enemy have common goals that are bigger than your differences. Appeal to those interests as you work towards resolving the conflict.
- Romans 12:19 says to not take revenge. God says He will repay those who deserve it. Refuse to take joy when your enemies suffer, and don't try to get revenge. Seeking revenge only takes away your own peace of mind and increases the chances of future retaliation.