5 LESSONS ON HOW NOT TO LIVE: THE STORY OF ABNER (II)
In the first part of this study of Abner’s life, we saw him as a very negative example and gleaned some lessons on how not to live from the Bible account about him. You can read that part by clicking on the title below:
Our examination of Abner’s story stopped at the Battle of Gibeon where he had just called for a ghastly match that left all the participating fighters from David’s and Saul’s camps dead. We pick up the story from there. Read and be blessed!
5 LESSONS ON HOW NOT TO LIVE: THE STORY OF ABNER (II)
After that senseless and gory match, heavy fighting commenced between the two camps and Saul’s men were soundly beaten (2 Samuel 2:17). As we stated in the first part of this teaching, none of this fighting would have occurred if Abner had surrendered the kingdom to David instead of crowning Ish-bosheth over Israel, leaving David with Judah alone (2 Samuel 2:8-11).
As the fighting progressed, Asahel, younger brother of Joab (David’s army commander and cousin), got it into his head that he would acquire the bragging rights for killing Abner. The young man was no match for Abner, the seasoned general. Although Abner warned him to desist from pursuing him, he refused to give up the chase until he killed him (2 Samuel 2:18-23). Thus Abner who had begun the day by demanding needless bloodshed for fun became a marked man by the end of the day because Joab was definitely going to seek revenge.
But before then, he had a falling out with Ish-bosheth son of Saul, the figurehead he had installed as king of Israel. This is the Bible account of what happened:
“7. And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ish–bosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine?
8. Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ish–bosheth, and said, Am I a dog’s head, which against Judah do shew kindness this day unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, that thou chargest me to day with a fault concerning this woman?
9. So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the Lord hath sworn to David, even so I do to him;
10. To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beer–sheba.
11. And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.” – (2 Samuel 3:7-11)
Abner trespassed moral and cultural boundaries in sleeping with Saul’s concubine, who rightly belonged to Ish-bosheth, Saul’s surviving son and the new king. But when a man does not fear God, he develops an arrogance that makes him feel he is untouchable. Abner saw Ish-bosheth as living and ruling by his say-so. He therefore felt he could disrespect and intimidate him.
[bctt tweet=”Being highly placed or powerful is not a license for living wickedly or recklessly.” username=”edithohaja1″]
Angered by Ish-bosheth’s query over his misbehaviour, Abner threatened to turn the kingdom over to David. He made good his threat by visiting David at Hebron to discuss the terms for the handover, terms that obviously would see him gain much from the situation. There he met his death at the hand of Joab, in vengeance for Abner’s slaying of Asahel (2 Samuel 3:12-27).
Abner really thought it was all up to him to decide who became king and when. However, he was plagued by hubris which sets those who harbour it on the highway to destruction. It seems he finally got his just deserts (Matthew 26:52) although Joab would bear the blame for killing him in peace time as though they were at war.
[bctt tweet=”Abner loved killing. So it was no surprise he got killed. See Matthew 26:52.” username=”edithohaja1″]
Lesson 1: Do not place yourself above the law, particularly God’s law.
Lesson 2: Do not disrespect or mistreat people because they are beholden to you.
Lesson 3: Beware of craftiness as it often boomerangs.
Lesson 4: Do not arrogate too much influence to yourself. Rather play the roles God gives you the privilege to with humility.
Lesson 5: Do not prey on others or you will likely become a prey yourself in due course.
It doesn’t really come as a surprise that Abner met his demise at the hands of another violent man, whose relationship with David was just like Abner’s to Saul (Matthew 26:52).
Joab may have sought to kill two birds with one stone: avenge his brother’s death and prevent Abner from taking the credit for uniting the kingdom under David. That achievement would have made David to feel indebted to Abner and who knew what he would have demanded as reward in the pact he asked David to make with him in 2 Samuel 3:12? The command of the army, perhaps? Joab couldn’t allow that to happen.
We were not created to play God and ride roughshod over others. Each of us needs to make God Lord over our lives by accepting Jesus as our Saviour and living in humble obedience to His word.
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“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
– Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Our Father in heaven, may we not live like Abner such that our lives become cautionary tales to posterity. May we honour You and live in peace with folks around us, loving, serving and building them up humbly in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The scriptures in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
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