Alliances and Rulership
Joab was to David what Abner
was to King Saul. Abner was
the general over Saul’s army and
he rode with his King into
many battles. He was with Saul
at the final battle where the King
and his sons died. He barely
escaped with his life.
As it was in those days,
after the fierce battle. The people
came to the battlefront to pick
their dead relatives and ensure they
were given a proper burial.
An Amalekite came across the bodies
of King Saul and that of his
He picked the crown and other
valuables he could get. (This
was not unusual in those days too.
What the dead does not need,
the living takes. This Amalekite man
was aware of the feud between
the late King Saul and David.
He decided to take advantage
of it by claiming that he had
helped King David get rid of
his enemy. David knew the truth.
He knew King Saul committed suicide
When the battle was fierce but he
didn’t want an Amalekite going
he killed the anointed of the Lord
For David, the anointed of the Lord
Is untouchable for everyone even
when such a person deserves to die
or had been overbearing and unreasonable.
David killed the Amalekite man.
He told him he had to die
for claiming he had killed the anointed
of the Lord. That was how fierce
David’s loyalty to the throne of
King Saul was. Even though King
Saul had sworn to kill him and
deployed much time and resources
to see it done.
David refused to touch the anointed
of the Lord. When Abner got
back to the palace, he gathered
the remaining soldiers of Israel
and began to rebuild. Saul’s last
living son, Ishbosheth had taken
the throne and started his reign as
the king of Israel but he was a
young man who had no understanding
of what it means to be a King.
Abner stood by him and Abner’s
presence lends a sort of legitimacy
to his reign. Ishbosheth was young
and unwise, he sat in the palace
and ruled within the walls of his
He lacked the ability to galvanize
the nation towards recovery and healing
after the death of so many Israelites.
The people did not know him and
he didn’t make any attempt to
know them. As a king from a rich
background, he had enough food
on his table and he had his title.
It was enough for him.
Abner on the other hand was
the one who established his popularity
all over King Saul’s territory
His influence grew and the nation
knew him more than they knew
Abner’s army and Joab’s army met
by chance one day and they decided
to have a competition of sorts.
It turned bloody.
Joab’s younger brother Asahel
decided he wanted Abner’s scalp.
Abner knew the young man was a
teenager and still green.
He warned him to find someone else
to fight because they were unevenly
Asahel refused to listen.
He was ambitious.
He wanted to kill a general.
Asahel and Abner fought.
Abner won easily.
Asahel was killed and the whole
of the army knew the death
would have consequences.
Joab was not a forgiving man.
When Abner got to the palace
of Ishbosheth after the death of Asahel,
the young king was angry with him
Over a report he got that Abner
was sleeping with one of his late
Abner lost it.
Being ruled by a child is a
very testing experience, Abner decided
he would pledge his allegiance to David.
This left Ishbosheth defenseless and
He was soon killed by two criminals.
Abner went to meet David and they
had a heart-to-heart talk.
David was anointed to become
king at the age of 17. He spent 3
years serving King Saul, 10 years
running from King Saul before he was
made king over Judah
(the southern kingdom).
He had ruled in Judah
for seven years before Abner came to
hand over the northern kingdom to him
All Abner wanted was to keep
his position as the general of the
Army in exchange for giving
David the northern kingdom.
David saw it as a very good
deal and David took it.
He swore an oath with Abner and
announced to his men that a deal
had been brokered. Joab was
not in the palace when the deal
happened. He was informed of the
development as soon as he arrived
that same day. Joab said,
“And David accepted this proposal?”
He was told “Yes sir”
Joab saddled his horse and raced
after Abner. When he caught up
with Abner, he told Abner he
came in the name of David and
wanted to have a private chat.
Abner followed Joab to the cistern
of Sirah. Joab took a knife and
stabbed Abner to death.
When David heard, David cried
out in pain “Should Abner die
as a fool dies? Your hands were
not bound nor your feet fettered.
You were killed as one dies
before the wicked”
David fasted and cried for hours.
The alliance he sought had been
destroyed but he wanted the people
of the Northern Kingdom to know that
he didn’t sanction Abner’s death
and that he honored him and
mourned him as a brother.
It worked, within a month,
the Northern Kingdom accepted
David as their King and he began
to rule over both the Northern
and Southern kingdoms.
Joab remained David’s general
When David attempted to choose
another man called Amasa as his
general, Joab killed that man too.
David realized Joab wouldn’t tolerate
a rival and left Joab alone
but he did not forget Joab’s
wickedness. On his deathbed,
David told Solomon not to allow
Joab die a normal death
He said “Don’t let his head
rest on his shoulders”
Solomon understood his father’s
request and executed Joab!
PS: Even though David was anointed
king over Israel, he had to work
with all sorts of men.
Joab was not all evil, he had
his good side.
He conquered Jerusalem and sent
for David to ride into
the city in a victory parade as
a mark of honor. He was fiercely
loyal to David and his throne
until the king became frail and
Adonijah persuaded him to support
his bid for the throne.
He helped restore the relationship
between David and his son Absalom
and ironically killed Absalom when
he took over David’s throne.
All sorts of characters are found
in the corridors of power in
A wise ruler works with them all.
The worst thing Joab did was
the part he played in the death
of Uriah. David knew Joab would
do it that was why it was easy
for David to tow that path.
Another man would have spoken
with the king and found an
In a democracy, there are no