2Samuel 3

 

2Samuel 3:1–3

Ishbosheth, David, Abner and Joab


Outline of Chapter 3:

 

         v.       1           Civil War in Israel

         vv.     2–5           David’s Children Born to Him in Hebron

         vv.     6–11         Abner and Ishbosheth Throw Down

         vv.    12–16         Abner Pledges his Allegiance to David and Brings Michal back to David

         vv.    17–19         Abner Garners Support for David from the Elders of Israel and Benjamin

         vv.    20–21         Abner and David Feast Together and Abner Leaves to Gather Israel to David

         vv.    22–25         Joab Confronts David about Abner

         vv.    26–30         Joab Deceives Abner and then Kills Him/David asks for Divine Retribution

         vv.    31–38         David Mourns Abner’s Death and Eulogizes Abner

         v.       39           David asks for the Lord to Avenge the Death of Abner


Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:

 

         Introduction         The People of 2Samuel 3

         Introduction         Matthew Henry Summarizes 2Samuel 3

         v.       1              The Introverted Parallelism of 1Samuel 3:1

         v.       2              Why We Find David’s Progeny Listed Right here, During a Civil War Narrative

         v.       2              What’s Wrong with Polygamy?

         v.       3              Explanations as to Why Chileab is also called Daniel

         v.       7              What is Ishbosheth so Concerned about with Regards to Abner?

         v.       7              Ishbosheth Worries for no Reason about the Loyalty of Abner

         v.       8              Most Translations Place that to Judah with the Previous Phrase

         v.       8              Some Translations Place that to Judah with the Second Phrase

         v.      11              Why Ishbosheth Allows Abner to Leave after Making These Threats

         v.      18              The Four Interpretations of 2Sam. 3:18

         v.      19              Why the Benjamites are the Most Important Tribe for Abner to Convince

         v.      19              What are the Potential Problems of 2Samuel 3:6–19?

         v.      19              The Actions and Motivations of David, Abner and Ishbosheth

         v.      19              Some Incorrect Notions of the Events of 2Samuel 3

         v.      19              Interesting Theories and Notions of Commentators

         v.      22              Why it is Legitimate for Israel to Pillage

         v.      22              Client Nation USA versus Client Nation Israel

         v.      25              Theories About David’s Response to Joab

         v.      27              Incorrect Notions Part II

         v.      27              How is it that Joab is able to Catch Abner Off-Guard?

         v.      27              Joab is Wrong

         v.      29              Let’s Talk about the Cursing Joab’s Progeny

         v.      30              In Defense of Abner

         v.      30              Who Actually Killed Abner?

         v.      39              How Should We Interpret David saying “I am weak”?


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

 

 

 

 


I ntroduction: 2Sam. 3 is a fascinating chapter of political intrigue, power plays, deceit and revenge. But within all of this, we take note of David’s love life as well, and see his children named herein (those born to him in Hebron). Along with all of this, we get fascinating insights into the characters of David, Abner, Ishbosheth and Joab. We probably better understand these men from this chapter than from any other chapter.


Personally, I have lived with these men for several years now, so who is who is quite clear to me; however, it occurs to me that if, for whatever reason, you just picked up this particular chapter to read, that you may not follow exactly who is who; and therefore, not appreciate all that is occurring.

The People of 2Samuel 3

Character

Character Information

Abishai

David’s nephew. Abner was forced to kill Abishai’s brother, Asahel, in battle when a small portion of David’s army stood up against a small portion of Abner’s army.

Abner

Abner is either King Saul’s uncle or cousin. He has faithfully served Saul for at least 30 years, until Saul’s death. Abner pulls all of the strings in order to move Ishbosheth to a safe place in eastern Israel; and garners popular support for Ishbosheth as king over central, eastern and northern Israel.

Asahel

Abner was forced to kill Asahel in battle, as Asahel continued to chase Abner and would not back down. Asahel is dead already at the beginning of this chapter (2Sam. 2).

David

David once served under Saul, both as a musician and as a general in Saul’s army. Because the people loved David, Saul became inordinately jealous of David and forced David into hiding. David eventually exiled himself to Philistine controlled territory. At Saul’s death, David assumes rulership over Judah, which is southern Israel.

Ishbosheth

This is Saul’s fourth son, a man with very little backbone. Saul, on his last day as king, likely asked Abner to take Ishbosheth to eastern Israel and to set him up as king over Israel.

Joab

Joab is the foremost of David’s nephews, which include Abishai and Asahel. Joab will hatch a plot to kill Abner, since Abner killed Asahel in battle. Joab appears to be in control of David’s army.

Michal

Saul’s daughter; the sister or half-sister of Ishbosheth, and David’s wife when David was living in Israel as one of Saul’s chief generals. David had to leave her behind when he left his position as one of Saul’s generals and was on the run from Saul (this was over a period of perhaps 10 years). While David was on the run or in exile, Saul gave Michal to another man in marriage.

Saul

Israel’s first king. Footnote Saul went to battle against the Philistines at the end of 1Samuel and died in battle. He apparently saw to it that Abner, his lead general, take his fourth son into eastern Israel where he would be safe and Abner could set him up as king. Saul is died in battle prior to the events of this chapter (1Sam. 31).

I am sure that you were familiar with Saul and David, and probably with Joab, Abner and Michal. However, just in case, an enumeration of those found in this chapter should be helpful to you to keep in mind who is who.

Also, by mid chapter, we will gather a list of questionable actions and motivations, which might cause the critical mind to questions these events. Afterwards, we will devise a theory which will attempt to explain all of the events and motivations found in this chapter, so that each action makes sense, and so that the motivations of each character fits this character’s interests and personality.


We begin this chapter by noting that there was a long war which raged between David and Ishbosheth (v. 1) which appears to be suddenly followed by a list of David’s children who were born to him in Hebron (vv. 2–5). During this civil war, Ishbosheth calls Abner, his top general, in, and accuses him of having a sexual relationship with his father’s mistress (vv. 6–7). Abner reacts vehemently, and says that he will do all in his power to bring David to power over all Israel (vv. 8–10). Abner storms out, leaving Ishbosheth afraid of him (v. 11).


Ishbosheth then contacts David and tells him that he can deliver all Israel to him, which appeals to David, except that, David asks first that his wife, Michal, be brought to him (vv. 12–14). Interestingly enough, at this point, David sends messengers to Ishbosheth asking for the return of his wife, which Ishbosheth attends to personally (vv. 15–16). While this is going on, Abner is speaking to various groups of men and sending messengers to others, to convince them to give their allegiance to David (vv. 17–19). Soon thereafter, when the alliances are essentially in place, David has Abner come to him for a great feast (v. 20). Abner then excuses himself in order to put the final touches on these new alliances (v. 21). Almost immediately afterward, Joab rides back into town, and is furious with David, when he finds that Abner has been there and left (vv. 22–25). Joab storms out of David’s office, and sends messengers to bring back Abner (sent as messengers from David, most likely—v. 26). When Abner returns, Joab manages to take him aside and murders him (v. 27).


When David hears about what happened, he mourns Abner’s death, but feels powerless to do anything to Joab (vv. 28, 30–34). David instead calls upon God to execute His perfect justice (v. 29). Despite the fact that David does not execute Joab, it is clear to all Israel that David had nothing to do with Abner’s death; and that David’s actions and decisions pleased the people (vv. 35–39).


What is interesting is, nothing is said about David’s involvement in the civil war itself. We find out about David and his wives in this chapter, about David and Abner’s alliance, about David and Joab’s confrontation, and about David’s mourning for Abner—but David does not appear to take part in the actual civil war.


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It is always good to see what another person has done. Both Clarke and Gill seemed random when summarizing this chapter, but Matthew Henry gives us a good overview:

Matthew Henry Summarizes 2Samuel 3

The battle between Joab and Abner did not end the controversy between the two houses of Saul and David, but it is in this chapter working towards a period.

1.      The gradual advance of David's interest (2Sam. 3:1).

2.      The building up of his family (2Sam. 3:2–5).

3.      Abner's quarrel with Ish–bosheth, and his treaty with David (2Sam. 3:6–12).

4.      The preliminaries settled (2Sam. 3:13–16).

5.      Abner's undertaking and attempt to bring Israel over to David (2Sam. 3:17–21).

6.      The treacherous murder of Abner by Joab, when he was carrying on this matter (2Sam. 3:22–27).

7.      David's great concern and trouble for the death of Abner (2Sam. 3:28–39).

As is normally the case, this outline is similar, but not identical to mine.


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What I find fascinating about the Word of God, that, even in chapters which seem to be fairly straightforward, such as the narrative that we find in this chapter, there is a great deal to be dug out of this chapter by way of personal application. When I first put together the basic exegesis from the Hebrew, trying to make certain that I understood what was going on from the narrative standpoint, I often wondered, okay, but how is this applicable in any way to my life? However, as I got further into the narrative, examining the motivations and the actions of the principals involved, I found that there was a great deal to be learned from this, as well as a lot of personal application. Everything in Scripture has a purpose, although we may not always be able to determine what that purpose is. Much of what we read has application to our lives (however, do not think that every verse that you read is going to necessarily have some application to you). There is a balance, and in that balance we will find life lessons, if you will, that we might use to guide us in our walk on this earth. All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; and is a critic of thoughts and intents of the heart (2Tim. 3:16 Heb. 4:12b).


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As we begin this chapter, bear in mind that there is no actual hard, chapter break between 2Sam. 2 and 3; in the original, we go directly from the parting of the ways between Joab and Abner (after Abner had killed Joab’s brother) to an overview of the civil war which ensued (v. 1 below).


Civil War in Israel


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so she is the war long between a house of Saul and between a house of David. And David is going and holding fast and a house of Saul is going and [they are] weak.

2Samuel

3:1

And so the war is long between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David advances and is strong and the house of Saul advances but [they are] weakening.

The civil war between those loyal to Saul and those loyal to David seemed to go on for a long time. David’s army continued to strengthen, and Saul’s army continued to weaken.



Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so she is the war long between a house of Saul and between a house of David. And David is going and holding fast and a house of Saul is going and [they are] weak.

Septuagint                              And there was war for a long time between the house of Saul and the house of David; and the house of David grew continually stronger; but the house of Saul grew continually weaker.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek somewhat expands on the adjective long from the Hebrew. The description of David’s and Saul’s house in the Greek is definitely different from the Hebrew, having one less verb in each case, and the verb used in the Greek is somewhat different.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       This battle was the beginning of a long war between the followers of Saul and the followers of David. Saul's power grew weaker, but David's grew stronger.

NLT                                        That was the beginning of a long war between those who had been loyal to Saul and those who were loyal to David. As time passed David became stronger and stronger, while Saul’s dynasty became weaker and weaker.

REB                                       The war between the house of Saul and the house of David was long drawn out, David growing steadily stronger while the house of Saul became weaker.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         As the war between the royal families of Saul and David dragged on, David's family became stronger and stronger, and Saul's family became weaker and weaker.

HCSB                                     The war between the house of Saul and the house of David was long and drawn out, with David growing stronger and the house of Saul becoming weaker.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.

Young's Literal Translation     And the war is long between the house of Saul and the house of David, and David is going on and is strong, and the house of Saul are going on and are weak.


What is the gist of this verse? There is a civil war in Israel which is long and drawn out, with David’s side getting stronger while Abner’s side grows weaker.


2Samuel 3:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

milechâmâh (הָמָח׃ל ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536

ărûkâh (הָככֻרֲא) [pronounced uh-rook-KAW]

long

feminine singular adjective

Strong’s #752 BDB #74

bêyn (ןיֵ) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition

Strong's #996 BDB #107

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bêyn (ןיֵ) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition

Strong's #996 BDB #107

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: And so the war is long between the house of Saul and the house of David. We don’t find this adjective long used very often. This would also make sense for this war to take place over a period of time less than 2 years, while Ishbosheth is ruling over Israel. Although I could come up with a scenario where the war between them was longer, that just seems less likely.


That a war seems long is a matter of perception. At present, we have been in Iraq for a few years—since I am not stationed there, the war seems rather brief to me, and for the most part, there are no battles, but rather skirmishes. Similarly, American casualties are low. A year’s worth of casualties for the US in Iraq is comparable to a couple months in Viet Nam and comparable to one battle from World War II. Furthermore, there is a lot more occurring other than skirmishes there. I am aware of at least one soldier who never used his weapon while there; and that there are innumerable building and infrastructure projects going on as we speak. On the other hand, a war where there are frequent confrontations of large groups of men, is going to seem lengthy after two years, which is the situation that we have here.

 

At this juncture, Gill suggests a time line: The recent battle, though so much in favour of David, did not, put an end to the war between him and Ishbosheth, which lasted five years longer; for it was when Ishbosheth had reigned two years that that battle was fought, and he reigned five years longer; for not till his death, and when David had reigned above seven years in Hebron, was he made king over all Israel; and during this time peace was not made, but the war carried on; though perhaps not in pitched battles, of which we no more read, but in skirmishes.


Back in the previous chapter, I suggested a time line, to account for the fact that Ishbosheth ruled for 2 years while David ruled for 7½ years. During the time the David ruled, the Philistines had a strong foothold in central Israel for perhaps as long as 3 years, which prevented any autonomy among the Israelites. Then Abner probably spend 2 or more years getting Ishbosheth situated, and then Abner went out and garnered support for Ishbosheth. At that point, Ishbosheth ruled for 2 years, which is most of chapters 2–4 of 2Samuel. After Ishbosheth dies (coming up in the next chapter), it will take another 6 months for David to gather popular support for his rule over all Israel. I think this makes far more sense than Gill’s rambling explanation above.


2Samuel 3:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

Qal active participle

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

châzaq (ק ַז ָח) [pronounced khaw-ZAHK]

to tie up, to bind; to hold fast, to adhere to, to be stuck to; to be strong, to be firm, to increase in prosperity, to strengthen

Qal active participle

Strong’s #2388 BDB #304


Translation: And David advances and is strong... David’s army goes out and they gain ground, they lose very few of their men, and morale is high. They continue to become stronger.


Here, by the way, David is a metonym for his army. Although David possibly did travel with his troops, this paragraph does not require that. That is, he can be named as the subject, even if he is simply giving the overall orders, but not going out into the field (which is not necessarily the case).


This is interesting, that, even though Israel desired a king in order to go to war against Israel’s enemies, we do not seem to have that situation here. That is, it does not appear as though David or Ishbosheth are going into battle themselves, nor are their armies engaged in war against their enemies, but against each other. Samuel warned Israel what might happen if Israel desired a king; however, this particular scenario was not a part of his warning.


2Samuel 3:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

Qal active participle

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

dal (לַ) [pronounced dahl]

frail, helpless, weak, low, poor, needy

masculine plural noun/adjective

Strong’s #1800 (and #1803) BDB #195


Translation: ...and the house of Saul advances but [they are] weakening. Although the general Hebrew construction is not easy to deal with, this simply means that the army of Abner keeps going out to fight, but each time, it becomes weaker and weaker. More troops are killed, morale is low, and they are losing ground.


The house of Saul simply refers to Ishbosheth’s army led by Abner. The impression given by the previous chapter is, Ishbosheth probably did not travel with his army.

 

Matthew Henry waxes perhaps too poetically about this verse: David's side got ground. The house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker, lost places, lost men, sunk in its reputation, grew less considerable, and was foiled in every engagement. But the house of David grew stronger and stronger. Many deserted the declining cause of Saul's house, and prudently came into David's interest, being convinced that he would certainly win the day. The contest between grace and corruption in the hearts of believers, who are sanctified but in part, may fitly be compared to this recorded here. There is a long war between them, the flesh lusted against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh; but, as the work of sanctification is carried on, corruption, like the house of Saul, grows weaker and weaker; while grace, like the house of David, grows stronger and stronger, till it come to a perfect man, and judgment be brought forth unto victory. Footnote


At least the beginning of Henry’s commentary gives us a good idea as to what was happening. However, even when Henry begins speaking of the war of the spirit against the flesh, I don’t want to necessarily rule these thoughts out. Matt. 10:35–36: For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Gal. 5:17: For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Eph. 6:12: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. The war between our sin nature and our spiritual nature is a constant in our lives; the war between the spiritual forces that we cannot see is a constant in our lives; it is no wonder that we should see warfare between men, and rebellion against God’s plan (David should rule over Israel, not Ishbosheth; and Ishbosheth and Abner know this).

 

Keil and Delitzsch summarize this verse with a little less fanfare: The historian sums up in these words the historical course of the two royal houses, as they stood opposed to one another. “The war” does not mean continual fighting, but the state of hostility or war in which they continued to stand towards one another. They concluded no peace, so that David was not recognised by Ishbosheth as king, any more than Ishbosheth by David. Not only is there nothing said about any continuance of actual warfare by Abner or Ishbosheth after the loss of the battle at Gibeon, but such a thing was very improbable in itself, as Ishbosheth was too weak to be able to carry on the war, whilst David waited with firm reliance upon the promise of the Lord, until all Israel should come over to him. Footnote


This, by the way, is a summary verse, which summarizes much of what is to follow in this chapter. It is almost a title for this chapter, albeit, a lengthy one. How David becomes stronger and Saul’s house weaker will be discussed in the almost 40 verses which follow.


What we find in v. 1 is an introverted parallelism. Footnote Simply by observing the indentations below, I think the almost poetic structure of this verse is obvious:

The Introverted Parallelism of 1Samuel 3:1

And so the war is long

between the house of Saul

and the house of David.

And David advances and is strong

and the house of Saul advances but [they are] weakening.

It may not seem obvious to the casual reader, but there are times when there is great literary structure to be found in Scripture. We see this over and over again in David’s psalms. When you recognize the key to his psalm, then, all of a sudden, it takes on this great overall structure, which most people do not ever see.


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Unfortunately, this civil war will not be the last; we will later study civil wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam (1Kings 14:30), and Asa and Baasha as well (1Kings 15:16, 32).


You may wonder why God allows this civil war to continue. First of all, God allows man free will, and that these events are a result of probably Saul’s last wish given to Abner before the battle against the Philistines began. Secondly, there are a number of men who are still loyal to Saul and to any in his line; many of these men have to be eliminated, which will happen in war. Therefore, God is going to wipe out (through David’s army) most of those who support Ishbosheth, Saul’s son.


It may seem weird to you that we begin this chapter with commentary on the civil war between Abner and David, and then suddenly stop and discuss the children born to David in Hebron; however, recall that there were no chapter breaks in the original. The end of 2Sam. 2 moved right into the beginning of 2Sam. 3 without any sort of notation of a chapter break. 2Sam. 3:1 is somewhat of a summary verse, which summarizes what follows the standoff between Abner and Joab in Gibeon. The remainder of 2Sam. 3 gives us a few events which took place during this civil war and during David’s reign in Hebron. Part of David’s concern, during this period of time, was devoted to his wives, and to having children (vv. 2–5). In fact, in the midst of all this, David even will get Ishbosheth to deliver his wife, Michal, to him (vv. 13–16).

 

Keil and Delitzsch also comment on what seems to be a sudden detour: The account of the sons who were born to David at Hebron does not break the thread, as Clericus, Thenius, and others suppose, but is very appropriately introduced here, as a practical proof of the strengthening of the house of David, in harmony with the custom of beginning the history of the reign of every king with certain notices concerning his family (vid., 2Sam. 5:13. 1Kings 3:1 14:21 15:2, 9, etc.). Footnote


Furthermore, David’s increase of wives and children stands in stark contrast to what follows—an argument between Ishbosheth and Abner over a former mistress of Saul’s. Vv. 2–5 illustrate just how David’s house grows stronger and stronger; and vv. 6–11 illustrate just how Saul’s house becomes weaker and weaker.


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David's Children Born to Him in Hebron

2Chron. 3:1–4a


And so is born to David sons in Hebron. And so is his firstborn Amnon to Ahinoam the Jezreelitess.

2Samuel

3:2

And sons are born to David in Hebron. His firstborn is Amnon, [born to] Ahinoam the Jezreelitess.

David sired several sons while living in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon, the son of Ahinoam, the Jezreelitess.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so is born to David sons in Hebron. And so is his firstborn Amnon to Ahinoam the Jezreelitess.

Septuagint                              And sons were born to David in Chebron: and his first–born was Ammon the son of Achinoom the Jezraelitess.

 

Significant differences: None


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Several of David's sons were born while he was living in Hebron. His oldest son was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     Sons were born to David in Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelite...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam of Jezreel...

Young's Updated LT              And there are born to David sons in Hebron. And his first-born is Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess.


What is the gist of this verse? The first son that David had born to him was Amnon, the son of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess.


2Samuel 3:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâlad (דַלָי) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

to be born

3rd person masculine plural, Niphal perfect

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

There appears to be a missing letter in the MT; it is pointed (i.e., there is a vowel point), but the consonant is missing. This consonant is apparently found in the Qere reading. Footnote

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Cheberôwn (ןר׃ב∵ח) [pronounced khebv-ROHN]

association, league, joined; transliterated Hebron

proper noun; location

Strong’s #2275 BDB #289


Translation: And sons are born to David in Hebron. When David became king over Judah, this did give him certain privileges, which included being able to marry pretty much as many women as he desired. Whereas, David did not amass as many wives as did Solomon, he did marry a number of women. At some point in the future, we’ll have a list of those wives and their children.


David did not, insofar as we know, have any children when he was on the run from Saul. He did have two wives, as we know, but not having children was probably intentional on David’s part. When in Judah, he never knew when he would have to pick up stakes and move on; and when living in a protectorate of Gath, he knew that he was deceiving the king of Gath—so that made his time in Gath uncertain as well. However, once David moves to Hebron as king over Judah, he has some human stability, and he chose to enjoy this time, apparently.


I should speak to Solomon and David: Solomon learned a lot of his father, and part of that included Bible doctrine. However, he also learned from David’s example of having multiple wives, which Solomon was most excessive about—he had 1000 wives and mistresses, and the Song of Solomon chronicles his frustration and love for a woman that he could not have. In other words, you can have it all without having anything at all.


To some, including me, the first time I read these few verses, they seemed to come out of nowhere. We are in the midst of a civil war, and suddenly, everything stops and David’s wives and children are enumerated; and then we return to the civil war. Why is this not listed immediately after David’s move to Hebron? Why is it not listed immediately before 2Sam. 5, where David is made king over all Israel?

Why We Find David’s Progeny Listed Right here, During Civil War Narrative

1.      This insertion seems to indicate that David had his mind on other things, apart from the civil war in which he was engaged. There is even an implication that David himself did not take a very active part in the war. He is just as concerned with collecting wives and having children as he is with the war with Ishbosheth. We do not find David going to war himself—at least, there is no mention of that. We will see David making babies, making alliances, and making eulogies, but not making war himself.

2.      The first verse of this chapter tells us that the house of David became stronger and stronger—this is illustrated not by an enumeration of battles between the two armies and the relative casualty count, but by the number of wives and children which David had. The section after this will deal with Abner and Ishbosheth arguing about a mistress who once belonged to Saul (which symbolizes their side becoming weaker and weaker).

3.      Another reason that David’s wives and children are mentioned here is, even though David is in the midst of a civil war, David’s mind is on other things.

4.      David has 3 (now 2) nephews who obviously look up to him, but are not under his control and influence. What will follow in this chapter will illustrate this fact. David will also lack control and influence over his own children, the ones being born at this time.

5.      Finally, what the author might be illustrating here is simultaneous action—David involved in a civil war, which he does not participate much in; and filling the palace with new babies.

Reason #2 came from Keil and Delitzsch, which I believe to be the primary reason for the insertion of these verses on David’s progeny.


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David has 3 nephews—now one deceased and two filled with revenge motivation—and these men could really used David’s steady hand and influence in their lives. It is much better to nip their problems in the bud, rather than to let their youthful exuberance and poor judgment get the best of them. However, David will not do this. He is content to be the uncle that they look up to; but he gives them no guidance that we can see. We know that he had the chance when Joab comes in to speak to him later in this chapter; but David offers no guidance and no boundaries.


David’s sons are going to be raised the same way—David will take a hands-off approach—and perhaps we can blame this on his father, who has David out watching the sheep at a very young age, and who seemed to have little confidence and few expectations in David (however, we did note an instance of Jesse teaching David).


So there is no misunderstanding, David is not supposed to have multiple wives, as per Deut. 17:17 (And he [any king over Israel] shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold). Is David aware of this? We really don’t know; however, David does seem to be well-schooled in the Law, so my opinion is, David did know. Furthermore, it would be reasonable that he would want to know about all passages related to being a king; so I suspect that he knew this and other passages for this reason as well.


Application: God has designed a family unit: one man, one woman, and children. I know of blended families and single mother families, and the problems which they face are almost insurmountable. Bringing in a new mother or a new father into a family often ends up as mutual toleration at best; out and out antagonism at worst. Having no father to speak of, means a child grows us without the guidance and insight of a father. A normal father, for instance, will do anything to protect the soul and body of his daughter. The mother might be enjoying sharing makeup with her daughter, buying clothes together, letting her daughter go out at a young age—but a father knows what men are like. Most fathers might even want to keep their daughters under lock and key until age 30. With both parents, there is a balance which is achieved. A daughter learns about what kind of man she should marry and she learns about what kind of wife she should be. Remove one of the parents, and you remove a key element in that young girl’s training. The same with a male. A young man sees how his father treats his mother, and learns from this. He observes the faithfulness and dedication of his mother and looks for this in a woman.


Application: I have heard the statistic that 3 out of 4 Black babies are born out of wedlock in the United States at this time. Half of these are young men, most of whom will grow up without a real father. At a certain age, many women are no longer able to reign in their young men, and they go out of control. They function without any morality and without any respect for others (which a father often enforces and teaches). And many of them go out and do exactly as their absent father has done. My point is, God has a perfect design, and this design, not matter how tempting it sounds, is not a marriage of one man to several women, as David is doing. What we should expect is difficulties from his sons, which we will find. However, at this point, we will simply get to know these children from birth.


Application: In case you were not aware, there are few nations in the history of the world with as a high a percentage of believers as we find in the United States. It is said that, of those who founded our country, 97% of them could be classified as Protestants. Footnote From my own experience, a larger percentage of the Blacks which I know appear to believe in Jesus Christ. Therefore, here, in the United States, we should expect to find innumerable attacks by Satan against God, Jesus Christ, and the divine institutions (marriage, family, volition and nation). In the day that I live, the assault on marriage and the family is almost unnerving. We have a huge divorce rate and a demand by those who do not fit into God design for marriage petitioning for marriage rights and for family rights. We find some school districts no longer using the colors red and green during Christmas (which is not called Christmas by many of them). We have the spring bunny rather than the Easter bunny. And the great Christmas songs which I recall singing in choir are rarely sung today in any public institution. We find Black families ravaged first by no father, which results in them being taken by drugs and by false religion (Islam or the Charismatic movement). We have a huge percentage of Blacks who see themselves first as Africans and secondly as Americans, which is symbolic of Satan’s attempt to take these people from their true Christian roots as Americans and associate them with the paganism of Africa. We have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, who want to move to America just to start on the bottom rung of the ladder so that they can pull themselves up; and we have so many Blacks who see themselves as being in a nation of oppression and no opportunity, who expect the government to subsidize their lives and lifestyle. These are Satanic attacks; Satan is real and his arguments and logic are greater than our own personal arguments; and, apart from Bible doctrine, we cannot stave off his attacks.


Application: One final note: none of these sons born to David in Hebron are ever celebrated as men of spiritual integrity; several of them whose background we do know, are infamous. If a man as great as David, with all the financial resources of a king, cannot control and guide several children by several wives, what do you think is going to happen to the children of the seeds that you so indiscriminately plant?


You cannot take your spiritual greatness outside of God’s plan and make it work.

Application: What you need to understand is, a husband and a wife form a unit, insofar as their children are concerned. Although my parents were very different in personality and interests, I never played one against the other, because their decisions concerning us were made jointly; they backed up one another. They took their responsibility of raising children seriously, and did so as a team. David cannot function as a team with a half-dozen different wives. He does not have the time. There is no unity and no coordination of discipline and guidance for these children. Even as a king with the resources of a king, David cannot properly father these children he has fathered. There are too many mothers and not enough fathers; and no unity and no unbreakable bond has been established. Now, bear in mind, we are speaking of a great man; David has great spiritual integrity. Over and over again when we have studied him, we find indications of this greatness. However, you cannot take your spiritual greatness outside of God’s plan and make it work. It just won’t.


Polygamy seems like a dream for many men; therefore, let’s answer the question...

What’s Wrong with Polygamy?

1.      Perhaps, if the man can turn things around for a moment, he might understand better. Why do we rarely find one woman with several husbands? After all, there are queen bees, aren’t there? The man has a particular role in the family unit, which involves authority. If there are several husbands, then who has the authority? Furthermore, the authority seems to be with the wife, as she has the several husbands. Similarly, a man with several wives has the problem that, a woman has a particular place in the household. She is second in command. Now, this, to the one with the highest authority, may not seem like much, but it is every bit as important as the man’s authority. When there are several people with the same command position in the same home, we have a problem.

2.      The family makes up a basic unit of society; God designed us the way we are to best function inside the family unit.

3.      The husband and wife are a unit with respect to their children. A good husband and wife function as a unit before their children. Children tend to see their parents as a unity as well. None of this comes into play when there is one husband and several wives. That basic structure no longer exists.

4.      We have illustrations throughout David’s life as to how his children got out of control, even though David is a man after God’s own heart. Because of the male and female roles in a marriage, it is easier for a husband and a wife, for instance, to raise 4 children, than it is for a husband and 4 wives to raise 4 children. With one husband and wife, we have the basic marriage unit, and we have the command center. The children, ideally, find themselves under the authority of one command center (and a child even at the age of 3 knows when there are two different commanders spouting different commands). This command center breaks down when there are several women occupying the post of second-in-command.

5.      The unique intimacy between one man and one woman is breaks down when there are several women involved. When there is more than one wife, a woman belonging to David does not have unfettered access to him. When we have a half-dozen wives, each wife, for all intents and purposes, is out there on her own, as she may see David intimately once a week (and by intimately I do not mean sex, although that is the physical expression of soul intimacy).

6.      Most men have had the experience of a woman becoming emotional and rather irrational now and again. A household can afford at most, one woman, losing her control for a period of time. At this point, the husband has to gently, and with love, reign his wife in, and often take over her relationship with the children as well. No way does David have time for this with 2 or more women.

7.      In our society today, millions of Black children function with absentee fathers; and a percentage of these actually have contact with their biological father. This has ruined several generations of Blacks. As we follow David’s children while he is king, we will see that they have control issues; authority issues, lust issues, etc. Does this sound like the youth of the US today? Of course it does. I have been illustrating in several of these points that, polygamy does not work in a single household; of course, the male immediately thinks, what if I make enough money to buy two or more houses? We still have the problem that, neither the wife nor children have unfettered access to David, which destroys intimacy, training and discipline (don’t get me wrong; David is in charge of training and disciplining his children; not his wife).

8.      One man and one woman together make a perfect balance; not too much testosterone, not too much estrogen. God designed us that way, and throughout Scripture, this model is upheld as a basic unit of society. We need to be able to accept the fact that God knows what He is doing in the design of the male and female, and in the design of marriage and the family unit. In our imagination, we may think that we can come up with better alternatives (polygamy, gay marriages, single parent families, being raised by a village); however, even in one generation, it is clear that man’s alternatives to God’s approach do not work.

There is a television show on HBO now where polygamy is a part of the setup. HBO has some excellent shows, with outstanding writing and direction and acting. My guess would have been that, the difficulties of polygamy will be downplayed, so that they are peripheral and occasional issues at most (if these issues are raised at all). I have since seen a few episodes of Big Love and they clearly use many of the logical problems which would occur in such a marriage.

We have seen, on the other hand, a rather playful and positive approach to gay couples on television over the past decade or so. They are presented as behaving almost exactly as male-female couples, which is not the case. In the US, we have a particularly bad situation with regards to marriage—50–60% of mates stray (at one time, this percentage was in the single digits). However, in homosexual unions, I think the percentage is closer to 95%; this means, there is no true intimacy, since physical intimacy occurs outside of the relationship with virtually every gay couple.


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Even though the Law condemns polygamy (Deut. 17:17), the author of Samuel makes no comment; however, the disastrous interaction of the children from David’s polygamous unions will speak volumes (see 2Sam. 13–19 1Kings 1–2). Footnote


Application: Okay, you are now convinced as to the importance of the nuclear family; now, why does God allow David to have several wives? God is a gentleman and He respects our volition. God allows us to sin; He allows us to make grave mistakes. With David, this is a matter of teaching by example: if David, a man of great spiritual integrity and with almost unlimited resources, cannot control a half-dozen kids by as many wives, then it should be clear to us that we will be unable to properly raise our own children outside God’s pre-designed family unit. I am sure that this has been said before, but it does not take a village to raise a child; it takes a mother and a father.


Application: Now, you may not be contemplating polygamy, but are you contemplating divorce? Are you contemplating an affair? Are you contemplating sex outside of marriage? Are you contemplating marriage with the idea, “If it doesn’t work out, I can divorce her”? All of these are Satanic attacks upon marriage and the family unit, which God has designed and maintained throughout human history.


2Samuel 3:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

bekôwr (רכ) [pronounced beKOHR]

firstborn

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1060 BDB #114

Amenôwn (ןנמ-א) [pronounced ahme-NOHN]

faithful; transliterated Amnon

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #550 BDB #54

His full and proper name is Ămîynôwn (ןני.מֲא) [pronounced uhm-ee-NOHN].

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Ăchîynô׳am (ם -עֹני.ח ֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-NOH-ģam]

my brother is delight, and is transliterated Ahinoam

proper noun

Strong’s #293 BDB #27

Yizere׳êlîyth (תי.ל̤ערז̣י) [pronounced yize-re-ģay-LEETH]

God will sow; that which God planted; it is transliterated Jezreelitess

gentilic adjective; feminine form; with the definite article

Strong’s #3159 BDB #283


Translation: His firstborn is Amnon, [born to] Ahinoam the Jezreelitess. David married two women when on the run from Saul, and one of them was Ahinoam. Amnon means faithful. Amnon will rape Footnote his half-sister, Tamar, in 2Sam. 13. Because he rapes his half-sister, Absalom, his half-brother will kill him. This is a man who would have been heir to David’s throne.


And his second, Chileab to Abigail a woman of Nabal the Carmelite. And the third Absalom a son of Maacah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur.

2Samuel

3:3

His second [son was] Chileab by Abigail the widow [lit., wife] of Nabal the Carmelite. The third [was] Absalom, the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur.

His second son Chileab was born to Abigail, the former wife of Nabal the Carmelite. His third son was Absalom, born to Maacah, who was the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And his second, Chileab to Abigail a woman of Nabal the Carmelite. And the third Absalom a son of Maacah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur.

Septuagint                              And his second son was Daluia, the son of Abigaia the Carmelitess; and the third, Abessalom the son of Maacha the daughter of Tholmi the king of Gessir.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek adds the additional words the son of. The Greek will also differ from the Hebrew when it comes to proper names; however, note that the Greek read Daluia and keep that in mind when we compare this to 1Chron. 3:1.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David's second son was Chileab, whose mother was Abigail, who had been married to Nabal from Carmel. Absalom was the third. His mother was Maacah, the daughter of King Talmai of Geshu.

The Message                         ...Kileab, born of Abigail of Carmel, Nabal's widow--his second; Absalom, born of Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur--the third;...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The second was Chileab, born to Abigail (who had been Nabal's wife) from Carmel. The third was Absalom, whose mother was Maacah (the daughter of King Talmai) from Geshur.

HCSB                                     ...his second was Chileab, by Abigail, the widow of Nabal the Carmelite; the third was Absalom, son of Maacah the daughter of King Talmai of Geshur;...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And his second was Chileab, of Abigail the former wife of Nabal of Carmel. And the third was Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai the king of Geshur.

Young's Updated LT              and his second is Chileab, of Abigail wife of Nabal the Carmelite, and the third is Absalom son of Maacah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur.


What is the gist of this verse? David’s second and third sons are named: Chileab, David’s son by Abigail, former wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and Absalom, David’s third son, born to Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur.


2Samuel 3:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

misheneh (הנ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mishe-NEH]

double, copy, second

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4932 BDB #1041

Kâleâb (בָאל.) [pronounced kil-AWBV]

restraint of his father; like his father; transliterated Chileab

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3609 BDB #476

The Greek reads Daluia here instead; the parallel passage, 1Chron. 3:1, reads Daniel. Furthermore, it is interesting that the final three consonants in Chileab match the next 3 consonants which follow. It is almost as if, the text is unreadable at this point to a copyist, and he does not know what to do, so he repeats these 3 letters at the beginning to indicate that the text is unreadable (this is the contention of ISBE Footnote ).

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Ăbîygayil (ל̣י-גי.בֲא) [pronounced ab-vee-GAH-yil]

my father is joy (or, joyous); or my father’s joy; and is transliterated Abigail

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #26 BDB #4

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular construct

Strong's #802 BDB #61

Nâbâl (לָבָנ) [pronounced naw-BAWL]

foolish, stupid; impious, wicked; and is transliterated Nabal

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5037 BDB #615

karemelîy (תי.למר-) [pronounced kare-mel-EE]

garden, plantation and is transliterated Carmelite

gentilic adjective; masculine form; with the definite article

Strong’s #3761 BDB #502


Translation: His second [son was] Chileab by Abigail the widow [lit., wife] of Nabal the Carmelite. We have already studied how David met his wife Abigail. Abigail was an intelligent woman who acted to protect her husband and family from David by providing David with what was due to him for work that he had done for Nabal. Nabal, when he realized what he had done and how close he came to buying the farm, bought the farm, apparently by heart failure. We studied all of this in 1Sam. 25. Beyond that chapter, the mention of her as David’s wife in Ziklag and in Hebron, and the mention of her son here, there is nothing else which we learn about Abigail in Scripture.


The name Daniel is given in 1Chron. 3:1 rather than Chileab. There could be a variety of reasons for this, but the simplest and most reasonable is, Chileab was this boy’s name and Daniel was the adult name (I have at least two friends like this). Time sometimes has an effect on a person’s name—prior to the year 2003, any art historian who referred to Leonardo Da Vinci with one name invariably used the name Leonardo; however, since the book The Da Vinci Code came out (which is a work of fiction based upon so-called facts which are chiefly fictional), we have a generation of people who refer to Leonardo as Da Vinci. The book of Samuel was composed very close the time time of the events which are herein recorded, and the book of Chronicles was written several hundred years later based upon other documents (including this one). There are clear clues which imply that the writer of Chronicles was looking at this book of Samuel when writing his book.


In 2Sam. 3:3, this son of David is called Chileab; and in 1Chron. 3:1, he is called Daniel. Theories about this difference of names abound.

Explanations as to Why Chileab is also called Daniel

Commentator

Explanation

Comment

Barnes

Barnes has a different explanation, which confuses me somewhat: In the duplicate passage (1Chron. 3:2) David’s second son is called Daniel (God is my judge), a name given to him in commemoration of the death of Nabal (1Sam. 25:39—When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Blessed be the LORD who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The LORD has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head." Then David sent and spoke to Abigail, to take her as his wife). Chileab seems to be made up of the three first letters of the following Hebrew word, through an error of the transcriber, and intended to be erased. Footnote

I don’t see the connection of the passage, nor do I fully get the error that Barnes suggests. Again, I think the simplest explanation is, the youth’s name is Chileab and his adult name was Daniel.

Gill

Gill, by the way, tells us that Daniel was his given name at birth, but is unable to explain why we have Chileab here. He writes: why he should be called Chileab is not easy to say; the name is commonly thought to signify "like unto his father", or "all father": had all the features of his father, and was exceedingly like him; the Jews have a fabulous story concerning this, not worth relating. Footnote

 

Kukis

Chilean was his name at birth; as he got older, he took the name Daniel (although we do not know why exactly).

 

Bishop Patrick

His first name was Daniel—God has judged me (namely, against Nabal), but David's enemies reproached him, and said, “It is Nabal's son, and not David's,” to confute which calumny Providence so ordered it that, as he grew up, he became, in his countenance and features, extremely like David, and resembled him more than any of his children, upon which he gave him the name of Chileab, which signifies, like his father, or the father's picture. Footnote

I must admit that this is an intriguing explanation. However, I would have expected that these names would have been in opposite places, if this is the true explanation.

ISBE

The fact that the last three letters of Chileab match the next 3 letters found in this verse in the same order, possibly indicates a textual corruption at this point. Footnote

Having the exact same consonants in the same order is reasonably more than coincidence here.

There is no bet riding on this; the idea is, there is probably a very rational explanation for the names being different in the two passages. However, I must admit being surprised as to the large number of theories concerning this point.


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Now, maybe you are more concerned with Abigail being continually called the wife of Nabal. This figure of speech is known as an ampliatio [pronounced AM-plee-A-tee-oh], which means to call a new thing by an old name. Footnote We have the same situation even in Matt. 1:6 where Bathsheba is called the wife of Uriah (your Bible may insert a bunch of words to explain this away, but in the Greek, it reads simply, by the [one] of Uriah). In fact, in the Greek, we do not even have the name Bathsheba.


2Samuel 3:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shelishîym (םי.ש̣לש) [pronounced sheli-SHEEM]

third, a third part, a third time; chambers [of the third story]

masculine/feminine adjective/ordinal numeral with the definite article

Strong’s #7992 BDB #1026

Ăbîyshâlôwm (םלָשי.ב ֲא) [pronounced ub-ee-shaw-LOHM]

my father is peace and is transliterated Absalom

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #53 BDB #5

The abbreviated form is Ăbeshâlôwm (םלָשב ֲא) [pronounced ube-shaw-LOHM].

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Ma׳ăkâh (הָכֲע-מ) [pronounced maw-ģuh-KAW]

depression; oppression; pressed [lit., she has pressed]; and is transliterated Maacah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #4601 BDB #590

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine singular construct

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

Talemay (י -מל -) [pronounced tahle-MAH-ee]

furrowed, ridge; transliterated Talmai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #8526 BDB #1068

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

Geshûwr (רש) [pronounced gesh-OOR]

to join; a bridge, a land of bridges and is transliterated Geshur

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #1650 BDB #178


Translation: The third [was] Absalom, the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. Absalom will play a big part in David’s life when David gets out of fellowship with Bathsheba. Absalom will be a part of David’s discipline. In fact, we will see a lot of Absalom in 2Sam. 13–18. Often, we find the sins of other believers used to discipline us for things we have done wrong.


Absalom will later avenge the rape of his half-sister Tamar by killing the perpetrator, Amnon. He will later conspire against his father David in order to make himself king. Footnote


Although there are several Maacah’s mentioned in Scripture, this wife of David is only found here and in 1Chron. 3:2.


Talmai is mentioned in both of these places, but he is also named as the man that Absalom flees to in 2Sam. 13:37 (which will be covered when we get there). Although there is another Talmai mentioned in Num. 13:22, they are separated in time by about 400 years, and in distance, about 200 miles. Now, there might be a familial relationship here, as the Jews referred to the sons of Anak as giants (“We are grasshoppers in their sight!”) and Bashan, who once ruled in the general area of Geshur, was one of the last of the giants (Deut. 3:11). There does appear to be another connection between the peoples of these two areas, as David is said to have made raids against the Geshurites when he was living in Ziklag (which is next door to southern Judah; 1Sam. 27:8). That we have such a relationship should not strike us as odd, as the tribe of Dan left their territory in central Israel and moved up into the far north (Judges 18). The only point that you should walk away with here, is that we are not dealing with territories or peoples which remain static over hundreds of years. So, if in one passage, we run into a people living in city A; we should not have a fit if, 100 years later, there are traces of them in city B.


The mention of Geshur is interesting, as it is small principality of Syria, northeast of Bashan. Recall that David has spent all of his time in Judah. Going northward from there is central Israel, partially controlled by the Philistines. Going northward from there is northern Israel, which will follow after Ishbosheth. Going eastward from there is eastern Israel, Transjordan, also controlled by Ishbosheth. And directly above Transjordan is Syria and Bashan. So, in the ancient world, this woman Maacah lived a pretty far distance from David. How their paths crossed, how they met, would be a fascinating story, but one, unfortunately, not found in Scripture. It would be reasonable that, as Ishbosheth began to take in more area, that Talmai decided to ally himself with David, and such an alliance would be established by marriage. This alliance would benefit Talmai in the north, if Ishbosheth moved against him; and it would benefit David in the south, as he now had Ishbosheth flanked from the north and the south. Absalom, because he is Talmai’s grandson, will later seek refuge with him.


Given that there are probably ties between Talmai in the north and the Geshurites whom David wiped out in the south, David’s meeting and marriage to Maacah would be a fascinating read, I would guess. Perhaps Talmai sought to insure peace with David once David took control of Judah. The best we can do here is speculate.

 

Gill reasonably speculates that David wanted such an alliance, as Ishbosheth was the territory between them. Footnote Jamieson, Fausset and Brown suggest the same thing: This marriage seems to have been a political match, made by David, with a view to strengthen himself against Ish-bosheth's party, by the aid of a powerful friend and ally in the north. Piety was made to yield to policy, and the bitter fruits of this alliance with a heathen prince he reaped in the life of the turbulent Absalom. Footnote

 

Matthew Henry suggests: Absalom's mother is said to be the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur, a heathen prince. Perhaps David thereby hoped to strengthen his interest, but the issue of the marriage was one that proved his grief and shame. Footnote


There are those who suppose that contradictions abound in Scripture, and one set of those often refers to one man called by different names in different places; and another set of those is, a group of people is found in one territory, and then, suddenly, in another passage, they are found elsewhere. The Bible may or may not give us a full explanation as to exact reasons; however, that does not mean that there is some kind of a contradiction in these areas. As you have seen in this verse, we are able to come up with reasonable theories as to why Chileab is called Daniel, and also reasonable explanations as to why David might have married Maacah, even though her father is fairly far northeast of David. It would not be difficult for us to come up with possible circumstances under which Maacah and David met. Even though the Scripture does not give us any direct information on these things, this is not enough to warrant the allegation that there are contradictions in the Word of God.


And the fourth Adonijah son of Haggith. And the fifth Shephatiah son of Abital.

2Samuel

3:4

The fourth [son was] Adonijah, the son of Haggith. The fifth [son was] Sephatiah, the son of Abital.

David’s fourth son was Adonijah, by Haggith. His fifth son was Shephatiah, by Abital.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And the fourth Adonijah son of Haggith. And the fifth Shephatiah son of Abital.

Septuagint                              And the fourth was Ornia, the son of Aggith, and the fifth was Saphatia, the son of Abital.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The fourth was Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith. The fifth was Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital.

The Message                         ...Adonijah, born of Haggith—the fourth; Shephatiah, born of Abital—the fifth;...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     ...the fourth was Adonijah, son of Haggith; the fifth was Shephatiah, son of Abital;...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And the fourth was Adonijah, the son of Haggith. And the fifth was Shephatiah, the son of Abital.

Young's Updated LT              And the fourth is Adonijah son of Haggith. And the fifth is Shephatiah son of Abital.


What is the gist of this verse? .


2Samuel 3:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

rebîy׳îy (י.עי.ב ר) [pronounced re-bee-ĢEE]

a fourth

masculine singular adjective; numeral; with the definite article

Strong’s #7243 BDB #917

Ădônîyyâh (הָ.נֹד ֲא) [pronounced uh-doh-nee-YAW or uhd-ohn-ee-YAW]

my Lord is Yahweh; transliterated Adonijah

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #138 BDB #11

The alternate spelling is Ădônîyyâhûw (הָ.נֹד ֲא) [pronounced uh-doh-nee-YAW-hoo or uhd-ohn-ee-YAW-hoo].

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Chaggîyth (תי.-ח) [pronounced khahg-TEETH]

festive and is transliterated Haggith

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2294 BDB #291


Translation: The fourth [son was] Adonijah, the son of Haggith. Adonijah was David’s fourth son, also mentioned in the list in 1Chron. 3, but known more for his attempt to succeed David instead of Solomon in 1Kings 1–2. Solomon will put him to death.


Haggith is David’s 5th wife and mentioned only in connection with her son Adonijah.


2Samuel 3:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

chămîyshîy (י.שי.מֲח) [pronounced khuh-mee-SHEE]

fifth

masculine singular numeral ordinal; with the definite article

Strong’s #2549 BDB #332

Shephaţeyâh (הָיט-פש) [pronounced shef-ahţe-YAW]

Yah is judge; Yah has judged, Yah has vindicated; transliterated Shephatiah

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #8203 BDB #1049

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Ăbîyţâl (לָטי.בֲא) [pronounced uhb-ee-TAWL]

my father is [the] dew; father of dew and is transliterated Abital

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #37 BDB #4


Translation: The fifth [son was] Sephatiah, the son of Abital. The name Shephatiah is almost identical to the name Jehoshaphat, with the Yah at the end instead of the beginning. They both mean Yah is judge; Yah has judged. David’s fifth son, Shephatiah, is only mentioned here and in the family line in 1Chron. 3:3. His mother, Abital, is only found in these two places. These two lists, by the way, are almost identical. Chronicles is in a slightly abbreviated format.


And the sixth Ithream to Eglah a woman of David. These were born to David in Hebron.

2Samuel

3:5

And the sixth [son], Ithream, [was born] to Eglah, David’s wife. These [sons] were born to David in Hebron.

And the sixth son born to David was Ithream, by his wife Eglah. These sons were all born to David while he resided in Hebron.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And the sixth Ithream to Eglah a woman of David. These were born to David in Hebron.

Septuagint                              And the sixth [was] Jetheraam, the son of Ægal the wife of David. These were born to David in Chebron.

 

Significant differences: None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The sixth was Ithream, whose mother was Eglah, another one of David's wives.

The Message                         ...Ithream, born of Eglah—the sixth. These six sons of David were born in Hebron.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The sixth was Ithream, born to David's wife Eglah. These sons were born to David while he was in Hebron.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And the sixth was Ithream, by Eglah, David's wife. These were born to David in Hebro.

Young's Updated LT              And the sixth is Ithream, of Eglah wife of David. These have been born to David in Hebron.


What is the gist of this verse? The sixth son of David, Ithream, is named here; and we are told these were the sons born to David while he lived in Hebron.


2Samuel 3:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shishshîy (י..ש) [pronounced shish-SHEE]

sixth

masculine singular numeral ordinal; with the definite article

Strong’s #8345 BDB #995

Yithere׳âm (חָערת.י) [pronounced yithe-reh-ĢAWM]

excellence of people; profit of the people; transliterated Ithream

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3507 BDB #453

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳Egelâh (הָלג∵ע) [pronounced ģehge-LAW]

heifer; chariot; round transliterated Eglah

proper singular feminine noun

Strong’s #5698 BDB #722

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular construct

Strong's #802 BDB #61

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: And the sixth [son], Ithream, [was born] to Eglah, David’s wife. Ithream (which means excellence or profit of the people) is found only here and in David’s line in 1Chron. 3:3. His mother, Eglah (which means heifer; chariot; round) is also named only in these two passages.


It is interesting that we have the final phrase wife of David tacked on here (as well as in 1Chron. 3:3, where it reads his wife). This suggests to me that this portion of these two books either had the same source, or the writer of Chronicles used the book of Samuel, as well as other sources, to complete his own book. I do not really understand the significance of Eglah being called David’s wife here, although the other women were David’s wives as well. One explanation which is offered is, this is the final wife of this list, and therefore, the list is completed with the phrase wife of David. Although I do not find that explanation to be completely satisfying; I do not have an alternate one. Gill suggests Footnote that there was nothing else which distinguished her, so this phrase was thrown in. That explanation strikes me as being particularly lame, which Gill agrees with, citing the previous two wives as equally undistinguished in Scripture.


You may find it interesting that Jewish tradition Footnote believes Eglah to be equivalent to Michal, which means, I suppose, she took on an alternate name when she returned to David (which does not square with 2Sam. 5). In this chapter, David will see to it that Michal is taken from her husband, who apparently loves her very much (we do not know how reciprocal her feelings are). However, it will be clear that Michal takes little pleasure in David when we come to 2Sam. 6. Whether she is bitter over his behavior concerning the Ark of God, or whether she is jealous of his other wives, or whether she did not like being uprooted and taken to him—we really don’t know how much these factors play into hers and David’s relationship; however, I would think it very likely that she and David did not have children for several years after this chapter.


You may wonder, did the Rabbis of old simply pull this notion that Eglah = Michal out of their...hat? Not really. Here, Eglah is called David’s wife, and the Rabbis take this to mean his principle wife, which they see as Micah, his first wife. Footnote In case you have no concept of logic, this by no means constitutes a proof of their position; simply an explanation as to where they came up with this notion (which, still seems very unlikely).


There is another Jewish tradition Footnote that this is Saul’s widow. Neither of these traditions is very likely.


2Samuel 3:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

êlleh (ה  ֵא) [pronounced ALE-leh]

these, these things

demonstrative plural adjective

Strong's #428 BDB #41

yâlad (דַלָי) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

to be born, to be born to; to be created

3rd person plural, Pual perfect

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Cheberôwn (ןר׃ב∵ח) [pronounced khebv-ROHN]

association, league, joined; transliterated Hebron

proper noun; location

Strong’s #2275 BDB #289


Translation: These [sons] were born to David in Hebron. While David lived in Hebron, he had 6 sons born to him, all listed here and at the beginning of 1Chron. 3. Although David possibly had daughters born to him as well (e.g., Tamar, who may or may not have been born to David while he was in Hebron—1Chron. 3:9).


That David has the sons, almost as if there is no war going on, is a testament to the fact that David’s house grew stronger and stronger. The house of Saul grew weaker and weaker (Ishbosheth is not said to have multiple wives or children during this time period); only Abner seems to making himself a man a great power (as we will see in the next verse).


In other words, these few verses dealing with David and his wives and sons is not just thrown in here, without purpose, without a thought to literary cohesion. This is an illustration as to how David’s house continues to grow stronger (1Sam. 3:1 reads: Now there was a long war between the house of David; and [the house of] David grew steadily strong, but the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker). Similarly, what follows, an argument between Abner and Ishbosheth over a former mistress of Saul’s, clearly indicates that the house of Saul is growing weaker and weaker. Vv. 2–11 illustrate the truth of v. 1.


Return to Chapter Outline

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Abner and Ishbosheth Throw Down


And so he is in is the war between a house of Saul and between a house of David, and Abner has strengthened in a house of Saul.

2Samuel

3:6

And it is [that] while [there] was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner was strengthened [and became more powerful] in the house of Saul.

And as the war continued between the house of David and the house of Saul, Abner began to increase his power and authority within the house of Saul.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          Now while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner the son of Ner ruled the house of Saul.

Masoretic Text                       And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul.

Peshitta                                  And so he is in is the war between a house of Saul and between a house of David, and Abner has strengthened in a house of Saul.

Septuagint                              And it came to pass while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abenner was governing the house of Saul.

 

Significant differences:           The final verb is questionable in its meaning; the Greek gives one interpretation of it. The problem with the Greek is they leave out the preposition. The Latin is in agreement with the Greek; the Syriac is closer to the Hebrew. In any case, we do not have a serious difference.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       As the war went on between the families of David and Saul, Abner was gaining more power than ever in Saul's family.

The Message                         Abner took advantage of the continuing war between the house of Saul and the house of David to gain power for himself.

REB                                       As the war between the houses of Saul and David went on, Abner gradually strengthened his position in the house of Saul.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Barnes                                   And it came to pass, while the war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted, that Abner assisted the house of Saul. [Barnes is usually more literal than this; however, this translation gives a good sense of the verse].

God’s Word                         During the war between the families of Saul and David, Abner strengthened his position in Saul's royal family.

HCSB                                     During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner kept acquiring more power in the house of Saul.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       While there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul.

LTHB                                     And it happened while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was making himself strong for the house of Saul.

Young’s Updated LT             And it comes to pass, in the war being between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner has been strengthening himself in the house of Saul.


What is the gist of this verse? As the war continues, Abner increases his authority and respect in the house of Saul (i.e., among those in central and northern Israel).


2Samuel 3:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb.

milechâmâh (הָמָח׃ל ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536

bêyn (ןיֵ) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition

Strong's #996 BDB #107

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bêyn (ןיֵ) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition

Strong's #996 BDB #107

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: And it is [that] while [there] was war between the house of Saul and the house of David,... We have the verb to be used twice in this first half of the verse. The first time it is used, we are speaking of something which has come to pass or has happened. The second is a reference to the civil war going on. This simply reintroduces us to the narrative which deals with the civil war between northern and southern Israel.


2Samuel 3:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Ăbenêr (ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

châzaq (ק ַז ָח) [pronounced khaw-ZAHK]

to be confirmed, to be established; to strengthen oneself, to take courage; to show oneself to be strong or energetic; to aid, to assist

Hithpael participle

Strong’s #2388 BDB #304

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: ...that Abner was strengthened [and became more powerful] in the house of Saul. Because we have primarily seen Abner pick up Ishbosheth and set him up as king in eastern Israel, we tend to think of him as the primary force here in the house of Saul. This indicates that his power and authority possibly even threatened that of Ishbosheth, as it continued to grow as the war continued.


Now, you may recall that the Bible has already told us that the house of David was increasing in strength and the house of Saul was decreasing—this is completely true. However, within northern and eastern Israel, Abner’s fame and power and authority continued to grow. The idea is, even without him doing anything about it, he could be seen as a possible threat to the crown of Ishbosheth. Abner apparently negotiated alliances between Ishbosheth and the elders of the northern and eastern territories; Abner is the one who is out front in this war against David. Ishbosheth appears to be little more than a figurehead, deserving of his position simply by his birth.


Clarke believes that Abner is taking steps to put himself up as king over northern Israel. Footnote I personally see this as unlikely because, when he and Ishbosheth have a serious argument, instead of taking steps to tout himself as king over Israel, Abner will go over to David’s side instead. And, in support of David, Abner makes contact with a great many of the elders whom he would have made contact with anyway, if he was looking to rule over northern and eastern Israel. In other words, I don’t think that Abner has any intention of setting himself up as king at any point in time. His loyalty to Ishbosheth is based upon his loyalty to Saul; when Ishbosheth breaks this bond, Abner will move his support to David, rather than attempt to establish himself on his own.


We’ve just examined David’s line which developed in Hebron, albeit somewhat volatile in the future. This will be compared to Saul’s line through Ishbosheth. So, while David has a multitude of wives and children within a few years of establishing himself in Hebron, all we will hear about Ishbosheth is, he will obsess over one of his father’s mistresses, as we will see in the next verse.


And to Saul a mistress and her name Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And so he says unto Abner, “Why have you gone in unto a mistress of my father?”

2Samuel

3:7

And Saul had a mistress [lit., to Saul a mistress] and her name [is] Rizpah, daughter of Aiah. So [Ishbosheth] said to Abner, “Why have you had sex with [lit., gone in unto] my father’s mistress?”

And Saul had a mistress whose name was Rizpah (she was the daughter of Aiah). So Ishbosheth asked Abner, “Why have you had sex with my father’s mistress?”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And to Saul a mistress and her name Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And so he says unto Abner, “Why have you gone in unto a mistress of my father?”

Septuagint                              And Saul had a concubine, Respha, the daughter of Jol; and Jebosthe the son of Saul said to Abenner, Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?

 

Significant differences:           The Septuagint, Vulgate and Peshitta all have Ishbosheth said to Abner; the LXX adds the son of Saul.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       He had even slept with a wife of Saul by the name of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah. But Saul's son Ishbosheth told Abner, "You shouldn't have slept with one of my father's wives!"

The Message                         Saul had had a concubine, Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. One day Ish-Bosheth confronted Abner: "What business do you have sleeping with my father's concubine?"

REB                                       Now Saul had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. Ishbosheth challenged Abner, ‘Why have you slept with my father’s concubine?’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul had a concubine named Rizpah (Aiah's daughter). Ishbosheth asked Abner, "Why did you have sex with my father's concubine?"

HCSB                                     Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah daughter of Aiah, and Ish-bosheth questioned Abner, "Why did you sleep with my father's concubine?"


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And Saul had a concubine, and her name was Rizpah the daughter of Aiah. And Ishbosheth said to Abner, Why have you gone in to my father's concubine?

Young’s Updated LT             And Saul has a concubine, and her name is Rizpah daughter of Aiah, and Ish-Bosheth says unto Abner, “Why have you gone in unto the concubine of my father?”


What is the gist of this verse? Ishbosheth accuses Abner of sleeping with Rizpah, Saul’s mistress. What he is really accusing Abner of is, an attempt to consolidate power to himself.


2Samuel 3:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

pîylegesh (ש∵ג∵לי.) [pronounced pee-LEH-gesh]

mistress, paramour, illicit lover, live-in lover, concubine

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #6370 BDB #811

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

Ritsephâh (הָצ .ר) [pronounced rits-PAW]

a hot stone [coal], a live coal; a glowing stone; transliterated Rizpah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #7532 BDB #954

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine singular construct

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

Ayyâh (הָ-א) [pronounced ah-YAW]

hawk, falcon; transliterated Aiah

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #345 BDB #17


Translation: And Saul had a mistress [lit., to Saul a mistress] and her name [is] Rizpah, daughter of Aiah. Rizpah is going to be mentioned twice in Scripture: here, where Abner is accused of having an affair with her (with the end result of gaining power over Ishbosheth); and the second time is when David turns her sons over to the Gibeonites in 2Sam. 21. Given that her sons are named in Scripture as being men of signficance, we may reasonably conclude that she was a favorite of Saul’s (we do not have a full list of his mistresses).


Fausset says Footnote that she is a Hivite, descended from Gibeon through Aiah, and quotes Gen. 36:14. In Scripture, most often when someone is called the son [or, daughter] of Charlie Brown, this indicates that Charlie Brown is generally well-known to the reader and is probably the father or, at most, the grandfather. Therefore, he is probably wrong in this regard. He goes on to make a few comments about foreign wives, saying that they were often chosen as inferior wives by Solomon, Rehoboam, etc.


There are several things which could be at play when dealing with foreign wives in general: (1) Union with a foreign wife could represent a political treaty, and children produced as a result of this union could be seen as an enforcement of that treaty; (2) the Old Testament indicates that the Jews should not be united with non-Jews primarily because they might be swayed by the gods of these women (which would result in a foreign woman being a mistress rather than a wife); and (3) the man involved can be simply attracted to foreign women, and that the foreign wives/mistresses have no political significance.


2Samuel 3:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Ăbenêr (ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

maddu׳a ( ַעֻ ַמ) [pronounced mah-DOO-ahģ]

why, wherefore, on what account, and it is probably a contraction of a word which means what being known

adverb

Strong’s #4069 BDB #396

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

Owen mistakenly lists this as a 3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect; however, it appears to have a 2nd person masculine singular form with a 3rd person feminine singular suffix. However, these two end forms together seem to indicate a 3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect verb with a 3rd person feminine singular suffix.

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

pîylegesh (ש∵ג∵לי.) [pronounced pee-LEH-gesh]

mistress, paramour, illicit lover, live-in lover, concubine

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #6370 BDB #811

âb (ב ָא) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3


Translation: So [Ishbosheth] said to Abner, “Why have you had sex with [lit., gone in unto] my father’s mistress?” As far as the immediate text goes, it is unclear to me (and to most other exegetes) whether or not Abner had an affair with Saul’s mistress. However, such a move can be seen as an attempt to consolidate political power. Ishbosheth is naturally concerned, because he sees himself as king, and seems to have become concerned about Abner, just as Saul was concerned about David. Ishbosheth here is not taking some sort of a moral stand, saying that it is wrong, somehow, for there to be any sort of a union between Abner and Rizpah; he is concerned that this is a power-play, which concern Abner reads loud and clear.


Ishbosheth seems to be overly concerned about Abner’s sexual proclivities; therefore, it is reasonable to ask...

What is Ishbosheth so Concerned about with Regards to Abner?

1.      Ishbosheth is Saul’s son. Therefore, we should not be surprised if he begins feeling insecure and concerned about his position as king.

2.      Saul’s madness came upon him at a very early stage in his kingship, before he even met David (remember that David was originally brought into the palace to soothe Saul with his music).

3.      Ishbosheth is no doubt at least the age of his father when his father became paranoid and raving.

4.      Ishbosheth did not really do much to become king; Abner was the driving force behind making Ishbosheth king. Ishbosheth may not realize this, and feel that, as Saul’s son, he should of course be king over Israel; however, it was Abner’s moving him to eastern Israel and then garnering support for him which put Ishbosheth into power.

5.      There is a legitimate concern which some have when a man with some power has sex with a current or previous king’s wives and/or concubines, something which is made clear in 2Sam. 12:8 16:21–22 1Kings 2:17 21–22. This is sometimes a route used to consolidate power. So, in some circumstances, it would be reasonable for Ishbosheth to worry. However, also bear in mind, Saul also had a concern about David and his popularity, which led to David’s exile and Saul’s eventual death. I am by no means giving Ishbosheth a pass here.

6.      Even though, power is sometimes seized or consolidated by sexual union with a current or previous king’s wives and/or concubines, it is unlikely that Abner has a sexual involvement with Rizpah for this reason. Still, this fact does help to explain Ishbosheth’s concern.

7.      It is Abner who has garnered support for Ishbosheth among the elders of the various tribes; it is Abner who is at war with Judah; Abner probably is better known throughout northern and southern Israel than is Ishbosheth. So, in some circumstances, this would be cause for Ishbosheth to be concerned.

8.      However, Abner is not power-hungry; he appears to be content with his position (which is, after all, second in all Israel). What is happening here is, Ishbosheth is more reacting to Abner’s popularity and charisma than he is to any legitimate concern; just as his father Saul reacted to David’s popularity.

How do we know that Abner is loyal and not after Ishbosheth’s job? That is the next doctrine.

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As has been noted, sometimes a man takes the wife or mistress of a living or dead king (or prince) in order to gain power or as the first move in a power play. Whether this sorted affair is going on or not, we do not know; however, Abner is not making a bid for additional power over Israel.

Ishbosheth Worries for no Reason about the Loyalty of Abner

1.      We have reasonably deduced that Abner has set Ishbosheth up as king over Israel as a favor to Saul, the father of Ishbosheth.

2.      During their trip eastward to find a secure place to rule from, Abner possibly could have killed Ishbosheth; he obviously chose not to.

3.      Abner was head of the army of Israel, making him more powerful, in some ways, than Ishbosheth; Abner never appeared to use this against Ishbosheth.

4.      As we have read, Abner was involved in a lot of preparation to make Ishbosheth king. This did not occur overnight. He traveled to meet elders all over northern, central and eastern Israel. Abner could have used this opportunity to build up his own power base; however, he used this time to build up Ishbosheth as king.

5.      Just as Saul did not recognize the great loyalty of David, it is apparent that Ishbosheth does not recognize Abner’s great loyalty—an observation which is not lost on Abner.

6.      When Abner separates from Ishbosheth, it will be unequivocal and his loyalties will be transferred to David. At no time is there an indication that Abner thinks of taking northern Israel for himself.

7.      Abner will again have meetings with those in northern, central and eastern Israel, setting forth David as the true king of Israel. He will be so persuasive, that, even after his death, thousands of men will flock to David from these areas to pledge their support (1Chron. 12:23–40).

Whether Abner’s involvement with Rizpah was real or just a rumor, Ishbosheth did not have to worry about Abner’s fidelity to him.


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Of course, you are more interested in whether Abner really had sex with Rizpah or not. Abner does not, at least in the pages of Scripture, unequivocally deny this. Whether there is a relationship or not and whether or not that relationship had progressed to a sexual one is information not known to us. However, interestingly enough, Abner will go to David, and there will be no mention of taking Rizpah with him. Abner’s real concern is that this [real or imagined action on the part of Abner] is a political move; and Abner responds to that accusation with no little emotion. What is clear is, Ishbosheth is no leader; all the initiative throughout has been on Abner’s shoulders; and now, Ishbosheth questions the loyalty of perhaps his most loyal subject. Clearly, Ishbosheth is not making any connection between his actions and what the results of his actions might be. He probably has an expected outcome, but has not prepared himself for the way Abner will actually react.


And so he burns to Abner very [much] over words of Ishbosheth and so he says, “[Am] a head of a dog I that to Judah the day? I make grace with a house of Saul your father, unto his brothers and unto his friends and I have not caused you to find in a hand of David. And so you have visited upon me an iniquity of the woman the day.

2Samuel

3:8

And it evoked great emotion in Abner over the words of Ishbosheth, and he said, “Am I a dog’s head with regards to Judah this day? I manufacture grace to the house of your father Saul, [and] to his family and to his friends, and I have not caused you to be found by the hand of David. Yet [lit., and], you confront me [with some] iniquity of this woman today?

The words of Ishbosheth evoked great emotion in Abner, and he retorted, “Am I the lowest thing in your sight today? I have continued to show loyalty to the house of your father Saul, to his family and to his friends; I have not caused you to be found by David. Yes, you confront me today with these charges of immorality?


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And he was exceedingly angry for the words of Isboseth, and said: “Am I a dog”s head against Juda this day, who have shown mercy to the house of Saul your father, and to his brothers and friends, and have not delivered you into the hands of David, and have you sought this day against me to charge me with a matter concerning a woman?

Masoretic Text                       And so he burns to Abner very [much] over words of Ishbosheth and so he says, “[Am] a head of a dog I that to Judah the day? I make grace with a house of Saul your father, unto his brothers and unto his friends and I have not caused you to find in a hand of David. And so you have visited upon me an iniquity of the woman the day.

Peshitta                                  Then Abner was exceedingly displeased at the words of Ashbashul, and Abner said, “Am I the leader of vicious men in Judah? This day I show kindness to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hand of David, and yet you charge me today with this iniquity concerning a woman?

Septuagint                              And Abenner was very angry with Jebosthe for this saying; and Abenner said to him, “Am I a dog”s head? I have this day wrought kindness with the house of Saul your father, and with his brothers and friends, and have not gone over to the house of David, and do you this day seek a charge against me concerning injury to a woman?

 

Significant differences:           This is a long verse, and Abner is speaking in great anger, so we would expect some difficulties in the translation of this verse. Like the English translations, the Greek found it easier to make Abner the subject of the first verb, and therefore leaves out the preposition. The Latin leaves out to Abner altogether, although he is clearly the subject of the sentence.

 

Both the Greek and Latin include an and before his brothers, which is reasonble. I suspect that Abner did not use the and as he was speaking with great emotion. In the Hebrew, an and should be there; that is common Hebrew construction; but Abner, speaking with great anger, leaves it out.

 

The verb in the second to the last sentence has to be carefully translated. I think that the Greek is an approximation, but it is not a good translation (and I doubt that there was a different verb in their Hebrew manuscripts).

 

The final sentence shows a disagreement in what happened with the woman. I don’t think that there is a problem with the original Hebrew but how it was interpreted. The words found here are very different.

 

The Peshitta is almost exactly what we find in the Hebrew, with the exception of the one sentence where Abner asks (in the Peshitta), “Am I the leader of vicious men in Judah?” This shows only a slight resemblance to what we find in the other 3 texts.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Abner was very angry at what Ishbosheth had said, and he told Ishbosheth: Am I some kind of worthless dog from Judah? I've always been loyal to your father's family and to his relatives and friends. I haven't turned you over to David. And yet you talk to me as if I've committed a crime with this woman.

The Message                         Abner lost his temper with Ish-Bosheth, "Treat me like a dog, will you! Is this the thanks I get for sticking by the house of your father, Saul, and all his family and friends? I personally saved you from certain capture by David, and you make an issue out of my going to bed with a woman!

NLT                                        Abner became furious. “Am I a Judean dog to be kicked around like this?” he shouted. “After all I have done for you and your father by not betraying you to David, is this my reward—that you find fault with me about this woman?

REB                                       Abner, angered by this, exclaimed, ‘Do you take me for a Judahite dog? Up to now I have been loyal to the house of your father Saul, to his brothers and friends, and I have not betrayed you into David’s hands; yet you choose this moment to charge me with an offence over a woman.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Ishbosheth's question made Abner very angry. "Have I been behaving like some Judean dog?" he asked. "Until now I've been faithful to your father Saul's family, to his relatives and friends, and I haven't handed you over to David. But now you charge me with a crime because of this woma.

HCSB                                     Abner was very angry about Ish-bosheth's accusation. "Am I a dog's head who belongs to Judah?" he asked. "All this time I've been loyal to the house of your father Saul, to his brothers, and to his friends and haven't handed you over to David, but now you accuse me of wrongdoing with this woman!


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Then Abner was very angry at the words of Ishbosheth, and said, Am I a dog’s head [despicable and hostile] against Judah? This day I keep showing kindness and loyalty to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and his friends; and have not delivered you into the hand of David; and yet you charge me today with a fault concerning this woman?

Keil and Delitzsch (updated)  “Am I a dog”s head, holding with Judah? Today (i.e., at present) I show affection to the house of Saul your father, towards his brothers and his friends, and did not let you fall into the hand of David, and you reproach me today with the fault with the woman?” [This is all the verse which Keil and Delitzsch rendered].

LTHB                                     And Abner was exceedingly angry over the words of Ishbosheth. And he said, Am I a dog's head, that I deal with kindness with the house of your father Saul in regards to Judah today, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not caused you to be found in the hand of David, and you charge a stroke against me with this woman today?.

MKJV                                     And Abner was very angry over the words of Ishbosheth, and said, Am I a dog's head, who shows kindness against Judah this day to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hand of David? Am I a dog's head that you charge me today with a fault concerning this woman today?.

Young’s Updated LT             And it is displeasing to Abner exceedingly, because of the words of Ish-Bosheth, and he says, “The head of a dog am I—that in reference to Judah to-day I do kindness with the house of Saul your father, unto his brothers, and unto his friends, and have not delivered you into the hand of David—that you charge against me iniquity concerning the woman to-day?


What is the gist of this verse? Abner is extremely upset because of the accusations of Ishbosheth, and responds with great emotion. He asks if Ishbosheth sees him as the lowest form of creature and then makes it clear that Ishbosheth should know of his faithfulness to Saul’s house, so that such an accusation is meaningless (he does not actually deny the allegation, but its implication).


2Samuel 3:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

chârâh (חָר ָה) [pronounced khaw-RAWH]

to burn, to kindle, to become angry, to evoke great emotion

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #2734 BDB #354

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Ăbenêr (ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

One would expect the subject of the verb to be Abner (which is how most translations interpret this, except for Young).

meôd (דֹא ׃מ) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

words, sayings, doctrines, commands; things, matters, reports

masculine plural construct

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

Īysh-Bôsheth (ת∵שֹב־שי.א) [pronounced eesh-BOH-sheath]

man of Baal; transliterated Ishbosheth

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #378 BDB #36


Translation: And it evoked great emotion in Abner over the words of Ishbosheth,... This is a difficult portion to render (although the overall meaning is easy to comprehend). Abner is not really the subject of the verb, even though this is how most English Bibles render it. What is actually the subject of the verb is the accusation of Ishbosheth. This accusation causes great emotion to well up in Abner. What Ishbosheth says makes Abner extremely angry.


Now, the implication of Ishbosheth’s accusation is, Abner is attempting to consolidate some political power through sleeping with Saul’s mistress, Rizpah. However, Abner is upset primarily because his loyalty should be clear to Ishbosheth. Ishbosheth should not be the least confused by his loyalty.


I hope that you notice a parallel here; King Saul was also extremely paranoid about his power, and, as David’s popularity grew, Saul’s suspicions also increased, until he made it is mission to destroy David. Ishbosheth has the same suspicions (probably fostered by someone else in the palace, sucking up to Ishbosheth, to gain a little more power himself). Had Ishbosheth just stopped to think this through, he would not be concerned about Abner’s actions in the least. Abner was as faithful to him as David was to Saul.


What Abner will say is fascinating. Do you recall that, when in a difficult situation with Joab and his small army that Abner guided their confrontation and said just the right thing in order to extricate himself and his men? Abner was, of course, sincere; but he was still very cool under fire. Abner will lose this coolness; he will lose control here. It is not that he says things which are not true; but he does paint himself into a corner. However, bear in mind, Abner can read people; he was able to read and calm Joab, even though he had just killed Joab’s brother minutes previous. Abner will sense Ishbosheth’s fear; he will sense his weakness; so, even though he paints himself into a corner, Abner still retains the upper hand.


2Samuel 3:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

rôsh (שאֹר) [pronounced rohsh]

head, top, chief, front, choicest

masculine singular construct

Strong's #7218 BDB #910

keleb (ב∵ל∵) [pronounced KEH-lebv]

dog

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3611 BDB #476

ânôkîy (י.כֹנָא) [pronounced awn-oh-KEE]

I, me; (sometimes a verb is implied)

1st person singular personal pronoun

Strong’s #595 BDB #59

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, so that, in that; for that, since; which; when, at what time; who, whom; where, wherever; the fact that = how; because that, because; as, like as; yea, even, yea even; until that; then, so [in an apodosis]

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article); possibly immediately

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398


Translation: ...and he said, “Am I a dog’s head with regards to Judah this day? I don’t know if we have had this expression before (I don’t recall it); however, a dog is one of the lowest creatures in the eyes of the Jews. They were not the loyal pets that we know of today, but they were mangy, angry, ugly animals who would roam into the cities and eat the scraps of food which had been thrown out (or left out); and when it came to meat, they would be downright protective, whether they stole this meat or not. In case you don’t know what I am talking about, throw a piece of steak down by your dog, and then try to take it away. If your dog is the least bit little hungry, this is not going to be seen by him as a game. The result is going to be a whole lot different than the tug of war that you both engage in with your socks. Bear in mind that your dog is also tame.


This refers to the lowest possible creature in the eyes of the Jews (see Deut. 23:18 1Sam. 24:14–15 2Sam. 9:8 16:9 2Kings 8:13). Furthermore, when Abner says, with reference to Judah, he is asking, “Do you see me as a traitor, loyal to Judah?” Abner is being called a dog’s head with loyalties to Judah. That is, Abner is this debased thing, and part of the reason is, his loyalty is with the territory of Judah.


Another interpretation might be, there is nothing lower than a dog, unless it is just a dog’s head; and there is nothing lower than a dog’s head, unless it is a dog’s head from Judah (which territory is loyal to David rather than to Ishbosheth).

 

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge gives us a similar phrase; however, they do not identify the time frame of that phrase: This was a proverbial expression among the Hebrews to denote whatever was deemed worthless and contemptible. Something similar to this was the answer of the Turkish commander at Beer, on the Euphrates, to a request made to see the castle. “Do they,” said he, “take me for a child, or an ass’s head, that they would feed me with sweet meats, and dupe me with a bit of cloth? No, they shall not see the castle.”  Footnote


After playing around with this phrase a little, and seeing what all the other translators have done, I am thinking that the gist of this phrase is, Abner asks, “Am I some Judean dog’s head?” However, several see the reference to Judah as belonging with the next phrase, and have placed it there instead (I will give you a side by side comparison when we cover the next portion of this verse).


2Samuel 3:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare, to manufacture

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

cheçed (דסח) [pronounced KHEH-sed]

grace, benevolence, mercy, kindness

masculine singular noun

Strong's #2617 BDB #338

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near; like; from

preposition of nearness and vicinity

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

âb (ב ָא) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household, clan or tribe

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

âch (ח ָא) [pronounced awhk]

brother, kinsman or close relative

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #251 BDB #26

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

mêrêa׳ (-ע̤ר̤מ) [pronounced may-RAY-ahģ]

friend, companion, confidential friend

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4828 BDB #946


Translation: I manufacture grace to the house of your father Saul, [and] to his family and to his friends,... Abner is angry and he leaves out the and. I do not think that this is a scribal error, but simply indicates how exasperated Abner is at this time. “I cannot believe that, after all I have done, that you call me into the palace and make these kinds of accusations.” The house of Saul essentially refers to Ishbosheth and the royal line of Saul. His family refers to anyone related to Saul. There are going to be wives, in-laws, mistresses, uncles, cousins, etc., most of whom are not really in line for the throne, but come as a package deal with the throne. That is, Saul’s family is a royal family, as long as someone in Saul’s line is on the throne.


I mentioned how, it is unclear whether the phrase in regards to Judah belongs with this or the previous phrase; therefore, I am going to list some of the more literal renderings below, to give you an idea as to how they see this.

Most Translations Place that to Judah with the Previous Phrase

“Am I a dog's head of Judah? I am this day doing all in my power for the cause of your father Saul and for his brothers and his friends, and have not given you up into the hands of David,...” (BBE)

Am I some kind of worthless dog from Judah? I've always been loyal to your father's family and to his relatives and friends. (CEV)

“Am I a dog's head against Juda this day, who have shown mercy to the house of Saul thy father, and to his brethren and friends,...” (Latin)

“Am I a dog's head of Judah? To this day I keep showing steadfast love to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends,... (ESV)

“Have I been behaving like some Judean dog?” he asked. “Until now I've been faithful to your father Saul's family, to his relatives and friends,...” (God’s Word™)

“Am I a dog's head who belongs to Judah?” he asked. “All this time I've been loyal to the house of your father Saul, to his brothers, and to his friends...” (HCSB)

“Am I a dog’s head from Judah? Here I have been loyally serving the House of your father Saul and his kinsfolk and friends,...” (JPS, the Tanakh—and they footnote that the meaning of from Judah is uncertain)

“Am I a dog’s head—on Judah’s side? This very day I am loyal to the house of your father Saul and to his family and friends.” (NIV)

Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show loyalty to the house of Saul your father; to his brothers, and to his friends,...” (NKJV).

“Am I a Judean dog to be kicked around like this?” he shouted. “After all I have done for you and your father...” (The Open Bible)

Some Translations Place that to Judah with the Second Phrase

         Am I a dog's head, that I deal with kindness with the house of your father Saul in regards to Judah today, to his brothers, and to his friends,... (LTHB)

         Am I a dog's head, who shows kindness against Judah this day to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends,... (MKJV)

         “The head of a dog am I—that in reference to Judah today, I do kindness with the house of Saul your father, unto his brothers, and unto his friends,...” (Updated Young’s literal translation)

The Message leaves this phrase out completely: “Treat me like a dog, will you! Is this the thanks I get for sticking by the house of your father, Saul, and all his family and friends?”

It is interesting that 3 of the more literal renderings of the Hebrew place that to Judah with the second phrase.


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2Samuel 3:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain, to cause to find [to detect, to happen upon, to encounter, to come upon], to come upon, to present

1st person singular, Hiphil perfect; with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

masculine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: ...and I have not caused you to be found by the hand of David. There is some difficulty with this verb for some, and results in some similar, but inaccurate translations in the Greek and Latin. However, Abner is simply saying that he has never done anything to cause Ishbosheth to be found by David. He moved Ishbosheth to a secure location—secure from both David and the Philistines—and this exact location has never been betrayed to David.


Abner’s point is, “Had I wanted you to fall into David’s hand, so that I could become king of northern Israel, I could have easily done it; however, I did not.” This is something which is clearly known to Ishbosheth. What Abner is charged with is difficult to dispute—at best, he could say, “No I didn’t;” or “I did not have sexual relations with that woman!” But, at this point, it is then Abner’s word against whoever his original accuser is. However, Abner, despite his anger, responds with something that Ishbosheth knows for a fact: “I have never betrayed you over to David.”


Abner is angry, but he is not stupid. Abner is brilliant under pressure. There is none of this, “Hmm, let me see, how should I answer this accusation?” Ishbosheth’s concern is, “Are you trying to develop a political base from which to overthrow me?” After all, as this civil war continues, even though Abner’s army is getting weaker, Abner is becoming more and more exalted in the public eye. Ishbosheth knows this, and Abner cannot deny that. He could deny the charge that he slept with Rizpah, but how do you prove that you haven’t? However, it is absolutely clear that Abner has never betrayed Ishbosheth in a way which would have been easy. Ishbosheth knows that this is absolutely true. Abner brings the accusation to the arena which concerns Ishbosheth the most, and shows that even Ishbosheth knows that what he fears at this time is not something he should fear. Throughout the chapters where we find Abner, it is amazing as to how quick he can think on his feet when under pressure.


2Samuel 3:8e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

pâqad (ד ַק ָ) [pronounced paw-KAHD]

to go to a person, to visit, to have personal contact with, to sort out, to visit a person, to commit, to charge to the care of, to fall upon, to attack, to number, to take a census

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6485 BDB #823

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

׳âvôwn (ן ָע) [pronounced ģaw-VOHN]

iniquity, crime, offense, transgression, depraved action, guilt, punishment from wrongdoing

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #5771 BDB #730

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #802 BDB #61

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article); possibly immediately

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398


Translation: Yet [lit., and], you confront me [with some] iniquity of this woman today? Abner does not deny the charge, nor does he admit to this charge. The idea is, some men would do this for political gain. That is, Abner would consolidate some power by sleeping with Saul’s mistress. Whether there is a concern over the immorality here is unclear; however, the word that Abner uses means iniquity, crime, offense, transgression, depraved action, guilt. That seems to indicate that the morality of his actions are in view as well as this being a political move on his part. His answer, overall, deals with his faithfulness to the house of Saul, which negates the implied political charge. Nowhere in Abner’s answer to we have any reference to the immorality involved in doing this; and, insofar as I can tell, nowhere do we find any indication of whether Abner is guilty of this charge or not (that is, the actual relations with Rizpah).


I want you to recognize what is going on here. Abner served Saul faithfully for probably most of 40 years. He recognized Saul’s paranoiac delusions, and suffered them for much of that time. Perhaps the fact that Saul never accused Abner of disloyalty that Abner remained loyal. However, suddenly, Ishbosheth begins to display the same paranoiac delusions that his father had. Now Ishbosheth was suddenly concerned with actions that he sees as threatening his position as king. Ishbosheth now sees Abner as a political threat to him. Abner, no doubt, is sitting there with his dropped jaw unable to believe what he is hearing (I am speaking metaphorically). He has an epiphany; Abner recognized Saul’s behavior and just how irrational that it was; and he sees exactly the same thing in Ishbosheth. Suddenly, Abner wonders, should I be backing Ishbosheth? Is he going to reward me with suspicion and eventual execution? Abner now sees himself in David’s shoes, perhaps an identification which he never really made before. Now, it is clear to him, and clear as to the disturbing traits which are apparent in Ishbosheth; and Abner knows that his suspicions are not going to be quelled nor will they subside with time; he knows that what Ishbosheth is saying now, and how Ishbosheth feels is only going to escalate. Abner must immediately reevaluate his loyalties, and he must take a stand at this point, which he will.


Application: I hope that it is obvious to you that Abner has made two mistakes up to this point in time: he backed the wrong horse to begin with (Ishbosheth); then he involved himself in an armed conflict with David’s army. Abner is finally allying himself with the right man—David. However, this will not completely wipe out what has happened in the past. Abner will have to live with his bad decisions which he has made up until this time. Be aware that sin is not without consequences. Bad decisions are not without consequences. You cannot wait for the last possible moment, and then repudiate your mistakes, and figure there will be no fallout, boy. There are always repercussions.


So does Elohim to Abner and so adds to him that as which swore Yehowah for David that so I do to him:...

2Samuel

3:9

[And] so will Elohim do to Abner and so will he add to him for in the manner that Yehowah swore to David, I will do for him:..

I ask that God does to me and will add suffering to me, if I do not do for David as Jehovah has sworn to him, to wit:...


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          So God will do to Abner, and more also, unless as the Lord hath sworn to David, so I do to him...

Masoretic Text                       So does Elohim to Abner and so adds to him that as which swore Yehowah for David that so I do to him:...

Septuagint                              God do thus and more also to Abenner, if as the Lord swore to David, so do I not to him this day;...

 

Significant differences:           Quite frankly, we struggle with rendering this oath into English, so it is reasonable that the Greeks (and others) had a difficult time finding the right words which both translated and conveyed the meaning herein. The biggest actual difference is the addition of the words this day in the Greek.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       I ask God to punish me if I don't help David get what the LORD promised him!

The Message                         What GOD promised David, I'll help accomplish--transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and make David ruler over the whole country, both Israel and Judah, from Dan to Beersheba. If not, may God do his worst to me." [This is vv. 9–10].

NJB                                        May God bring unnameable ills on Abner, and worse ones, too, if I do not bring about what Yahweh has sworn to David:...

REB                                       But now, so help me God, I shall do all I can to bring about what the Lord swore to do for David:...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         May God strike me dead unless I do for David what the LORD had promised him with an oath:...

HCSB                                     May God punish Abner and do so severely if I don't do for David what the LORD swore to him...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                God do so to Abner, and more also, if I do not do for David what the Lord has sworn to him;...

MKJV                                     So may God do to Abner, and more also, if I do not do to David as Jehovah has sworn,...

WEB                                      God do so to Abner, and more also, if, as Yahweh has sworn to David, I don't do even so to him;...

Young’s Updated LT             Thus does God to Abner, and thus He does add to him, surely as Jehovah has sworn to David—surely so I do to him:...


What is the gist of this verse? Abner makes an oath to Ishbosheth, calling upon God to do evil to him if he does not fulfill his oath; the oath concerns David and what God promised David.


2Samuel 3:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kôh (הֹ) [pronounced koh]

so, thus, here, hence

adverb

Strong’s #3541 BDB #462

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; apocopated form

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

Ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Ăbenêr (ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôh (הֹ) [pronounced koh]

so, thus, here, hence

adverb

Strong’s #3541 BDB #462

yâçaph (ף ַס ָי) [pronounced yaw-SAHPH]

to add, to augment, to increase, to multiply; to add to do = to do again

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #3254 BDB #414

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: [And] so will Elohim do to Abner and so will He add to him... This phrase is most difficult to translate, but the idea is simple: this is an oath, and it is an oath where Abner calls upon God to do evil to Abner, if he does not fulfill the oath. In fact, not only is God call upon to do evil to Abner, but to continue to add to this, if Abner does not fulfill this oath. Now, even though this oath is difficult to translate and to fully understand, the Old Testament is filled with its use, so that we can get the gist of this statement. See Ruth 1:17 1Sam. 3:17 14:44 25:22 2Sam. 3:35 19:13 1Kings 19:2.


2Samuel 3:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kaăsher (ר ש ֲא ַ) [pronounced kah-uh-SHER] means as which, as one who, as, like as, just as; because; according to what manner. Back in 1Sam. 12:8, I rendered this for example.

shâbva׳ (עַבָש) [pronounced shawb-VAHĢ]

to swear, to imprecate, to curse, to swear an oath, to take a solemn oath, to swear allegiance

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal perfect

Strong's #7650 BDB #989

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: ...for in the manner that Yehowah swore to David,... It is well-known, apparently—at least to Abner and Ishbosheth—what God had promised David. God had promised David that he would be next in line for the throne.

 

Clarke asks Footnote the very good question, And why did he not do this before, when he knew that God had given the kingdom to David? Was he not now, according to his own concession, fighting against God?


Application: One of the areas in which we are hard-hearted (or hard-headed) is to know the will of God, and then just go ahead and do just the opposite. This is what Abner had been doing, and he unquestionably admits to it here. As I have said before, sin does have its consequences, and in the course of human events, Abner will pay for the choices which he has made. In fact, there were be mistakes on the part of several believers which will result in Abner’s death. I don’t want you to become confused at this point—Abner was caught up in a difficult situation. Many commentators accuse him of base ambition; Footnote however, I think that he simply fell into these circumstances, and that the choices he made were wrong due to the desires of his old sin nature; I just don’t believe that inordinate ambition was necessarily the old sin nature trigger in this case.


Application: You are going to find yourself in very tricky situations and you will have to navigate your way through these circumstances. With doctrine, you have some real guidance; with human viewpoint and the lusts of the old sin nature, you can expect to make the wrong choices. Let me give you an example of choices made by the past couple generations: a huge percentage of families have made the choice for the husband and wife to both work outside the home. I have heard hundreds of times people convincing themselves that they are doing this for the children; or that they cannot financially make both ends meet without two incomes. However, what I have observed in almost as many cases is, a husband and wife, at some point, have really more money than they need. It is not unusual for their children to have material possessions which I could not have even imagined as a child. In fact, it is not unusual for some children to get more things in a year than I received in my entire childhood. I think what we find in two income families is a high divorce rate, broken homes, and/or children who get raised by day care centers rather than by one or both of the parents. Having been a teacher for nearly 30 years, I can testify that these kinds of choices made by a couple of generations of parents have destroyed the youth of today—these children were raised without clear-cut boundaries and moral guidelines, and today (and in the near future) society will pay for the lack of training and guidance which these children were subjected to. Even if your child gets a not much more than a candy bar or an inexpensive book for Christmas each year, due to financial constraints; and even if this child must go to an inferior college because of financial constraints; if this same child receives the proper guidance and training that only a parent can give, one-on-one, then that child will be a thousand times better off.


Application: I have also become aware of people who have taken assistance from the government who do not really need it. Their children receive way more things than I received as a child; but they do not always receive the training and guidance.


Application: I do not want to set myself up as an example of the perfectly raised child; I was willful, independent, headstrong and stubborn. Raising me was not a very easy job, and I benefitted greatly by having a mother there daily to guide, comfort, discipline and love me. By no means, do I want to assert that I turned out to be some great human being or anything like that; however, I turned out a lot better than I would have, had I been raised in day care. One of the great differences which has occurred in the mind of young people over the past 20 years is this: 20 years ago, a child/teenager would cite his parents as the great influence in his life; in the past 10 years, a child/teenager will cite his friends and contemporaries as being the greatest influence in his life (when you are raised in a group, what do you expect?). No contemporary can provide your child with a clear moral compass or with decisions based upon wisdom; only parents can do that. That influence begins when the child is out of the womb and continues for at least the next 20 years of the life of the child. Parents can choose to see that they have the strongest hand in guiding children; or they can choose to give this over to group institutions.


Application: Let me give you another area where society has failed today due to bad decisions: the extremely high divorce rate in the United States. Now, of course, no woman should subject herself to physical abuse; and no woman should allow her children to be sexually abused. So, of course, a woman ought to separate under those circumstances; however, women who work develop an independence where they divorce for very poor reasons and their children pay the price.


Application: One of the biggest problems in a marriage is choosing the wrong person to begin with. Women choose men who will abuse them or their children. Any man can hide his true nature for a few months; and, when an unmarried man and woman are having sex, they both disregard a great many incompatibilities; even for a period of years. However, when they get married, and when sex is no longer the primary expression of their love (or lust), then their souls collide and the result is, they find that they have very little in common. All these things are a result of making bad decisions; and compounding bad decisions with more bad decisions.


Application: It may seem that we have gone pretty far afield from our text, but we are dealing with the same set of circumstances: making bad decisions either based upon no doctrine or based upon a rejection of doctrine. At some point, these decisions will catch up to you, and the results are not pretty.


2Samuel 3:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

kên (ן ֵ) [pronounced kane]

so, thus; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted;

properly, an active participle; used primarily as an adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

I do not find a listing for these two together in BDB. However, in 1Sam. 5:7, they are rendered as follows: how things were, that [it was] so, what was happening, how it was.

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare, to manufacture

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: ...I will do for him:.. Abner tells Ishbosheth, what God swore to David, he, Abner, would do for David. And this is no idle threat, as Abner apparently set all the wheels in motion for Ishbosheth as king. Recall that there was a process which must have taken place, by which Ishbosheth became king over eastern and northern Israel, and that Abner was no doubt the force which made him king.

 

Matthew Henry comments: Proud men will not bear to be reproved, especially by those whom they think they have obliged. With the utmost degree of arrogance and insolence he lets him know that, as he had raised him up, so he could pull him down again and would do it. He knew that God had sworn to David to give him the kingdom, and yet opposed it with all his might from a principle of ambition; but now he complies with it from a principle of revenge, under colour of some regard to the will of God, which was but a pretense. Those that are slaves to their lusts have many masters, which drive, some one way and some another, and, according as they make head, men are violently hurried into self-contradictions. Abner's ambition made him zealous for Ish-bosheth, and now his revenge made him as zealous for David. If he had sincerely regarded God's promise to David, and acted with an eye to that, he would have been steady and uniform in his counsels, and acted in consistency with himself. But, while Abner serves his own lusts, God by him serves his own purposes, makes even his wrath and revenge to praise him, and ordains strength to David by it. Footnote I think that Henry, like most every other commentator, misreads Abner, and does not get his actual motivation. They accuse Abner of pride and power lust; but Abner is simply a man with great loyalty, and when his loyalty is questioned after all of these years, he simply blows a fuse.

 

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown comment: It is not clear whether the accusation against Abner was well or ill founded. But he resented the charge as an indignity, and, impelled by revenge, determined to transfer all the weight of his influence to the opposite party. He evidently set a full value on his services, and seems to have lorded it over his weak nephew in a haughty, overbearing manner. Footnote I essentially agree with the bulk of this comment, except for the end. I don’t think that Abner is lording his power over his nephew; Abner has shown tremendous loyalty to the house of Saul, and for him to suddenly be treated like some lying, sneaking, unprincipled underling caused Abner to lose his temper.


Application: We all have circumstances which get to us; Abner could be in the most dangerous of circumstances and retain a cool head, as we observed when he faced Joab and his small army. However, to have his loyalty questioned; to be treated like some underling, that got to him; that caused him to lose his temper. If you are married, do you ever wonder why it is that no one can push your buttons like your husband or wife? They know you and they know what gets to you. They know the right words to take you off your game; few other people know you that well. Ishbosheth is not needling Abner; he is not trying to take him off his game; he is questioning Abner’s loyalty and intentions, which accusation pushes Abner’s buttons like nothing else. How do you apply this to yourself? Someone out there will either knowingly or accidentally push your buttons. That is when you need to take a moment; count to 10, rebound, and do not react. You quietly and quickly name your sins to God, and then respond, realizing that you are walking through your own personal mine field. What you do not need to do, under these circumstances, is to lose your temper, and say things that you will later regret saying (especially with a spouse, you know the buttons to push right back).


...to cause to pass over the kingdom from a house of Saul and to cause to stand a throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan and as far as Beer-sheba.”

2Samuel

3:10

...to transfer over the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beer-sheba.”

...to facilitate the transfer of the kingdom from the house of Saul to David and to establish the throne of David over Israel and Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       ...to cause to pass over the kingdom from a house of Saul and to cause to stand a throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan and as far as Beersheba.”

Peshitta                                  ...to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beer-sheba.

Septuagint                              ...to take away the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to raise up the throne of David over Israel and over Juda from Dan to Bersabee.

 

Significant differences:           The first verb is more of a matter of interpretation; what we find in the Greek is a loose rendering of the Hebrew, but not entirely inaccurate. Apart from that, the ancient texts are almost identical.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       God said that he wouldn't let anyone in Saul's family ever be king again and that David would be king instead. He also said that David would rule both Israel and Judah, all the way from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.

The Message                         What GOD promised David, I'll help accomplish--transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and make David ruler over the whole country, both Israel and Judah, from Dan to Beersheba. If not, may God do his worst to me." [vv. 9–10].

NJB                                        ...to take the sovereignty from the House of Saul, and establish David’s throne over Israel as well as Judah, from Dan to Beersheba!

REB                                       ...I shall set to work to overthrow the house of Saul and ot establish David’s throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         ...'I, the LORD, will transfer the kingship from Saul's family and establish David's throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba.'"

HCSB                                     ...to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish the throne of David over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beer-sheba."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     ...to cause the kingdom to pass over from the house of Saul, and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah from Dan even to Beer-sheba.

MKJV                                     ...to transfer 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.

Young’s Updated LT             ...to cause the kingdom to pass over from the house of Saul, and to raise up the throne of David over Israel, and over Judah, from Dan even unto Beer-Sheba.”.


What is the gist of this verse? What Abner promises to do is to do everything in his power to transfer the rulership from Saul’s house to David’s, and to establish David over all of Israel, from the north to the south.


2Samuel 3:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳âbar (ר ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHR]

to cause to pass over, to cause to pass through, to bring [over, to]; to transmit, to send over; to pass by sin, to remit, to forgive

Hiphil infinitive construct

Strong’s #5674 BDB #716

mamelâkâh (ה ָכ ָל  ׃מ ַמ) [pronounced mahme-law-kaw]

kingdom, sovereignty, dominion, reign, dynasty; used to refer to both the royal dignity and to the country of a king

feminine singular noun with definite article

Strong’s #4467 BDB #575

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: ...to transfer over the kingdom from the house of Saul... This appears to be an elliptical statement. What we would expect is, ...to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul to the house of David;... When you transfer something, it goes from point A to point B, so to speak. To where the kingdom will be transferred to is not given in this passage, but it is implied by the next phrase. Although this could have been left out by the historian who writes these words (which is probably David, having heard them directly from Abner); I suspect that what we have here is ellipsis; and that Abner is too angry and upset to properly complete the thought.


2Samuel 3:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to cause to raise up, to cause to stand, to establish, to fulfill; to uphold, to perform [a testimony, a vow, a commandment, a promise]

Hiphil infinitive construct

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kiççê (א ֵ̣) [pronounced kis-SAY]

throne, seat of honor; seat of judgment

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #3678 BDB #490

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397


Translation: ...and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah,... Abner is not kidding around. His oath indicates that this is not an idle threat. Today, we hear the phrase swear to god all the time, and today it means, “I am probably lying to you, but I don’t want you to think that I am.” In ancient time, taking an oath to God meant, this is the truth; this is sacred. Abner says that he will do his part to establish David’s control of Israel and Judah. Ishbosheth had hoped to take Judah from David; and now Abner tells him that he will try to see that David controls all of it. He will be emphatic about this in the next phrase.


2Samuel 3:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Dân (ןָ) [pronounced dawn]

judge and is transliterated Dan

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1835 BDB #192

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition of extent

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

Beêr Shâba׳ (ע-בָש ר̤א) [pronounced beayr SHAWB-vahģ]

well of the oath and is transliterated Beersheba

proper noun; location

Strong’s #884 BDB #92


Translation: ...from Dan to Beer–sheba.” This is a saying found in many places in Scripture since the time of the Judges (early into that time period). Beer–sheba is one of the most southern cities in Judah, continually under the control of Judah. Dan left the territory given them by God and conquered a smaller territory far to the north early in the period of the Judges (however, the historical account is near the end of the book of Judges). This marked the northernmost territory controlled by Israel. When this saying is used, all of Israel is being noted, from to the furthest south to the furthest north (see Judges 20:1 2Sam. 17:11 24:2 1Kings 4:25). In the US, we might say, from Bangor, Maine to San Diego, California.


Abner was proposing to make sure that David controlled over all of this area, half of which was in the control of Ishbosheth at this time.


And he could not again to cause to return [to] Abner a word from his fear of him.

2Samuel

3:11

And [Ishbosheth] was yet unable to respond [even] a word to Abner from his fearing him.

And Ishbosheth was unable to answer Abner again because he was now in fear of him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And he could not again to cause to return [to] Abner a word from his fear of him.

Septuagint                              And Jebosthe could not any longer answer Abenner a word, because he feared him.

 

Significant differences:           In the Greek, we have the proper noun Ishbosheth, rather than the pronoun; the final phrase conveys the same meaning and is probably better expressed that way in the Greek.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Ishbosheth was so afraid of Abner that he could not even answer.

The Message                         Ish-Bosheth, cowed by Abner's outburst, couldn't say another word.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Ishbosheth couldn't respond to a single word, because he was afraid of Abner.

HCSB                                     Ish-bosheth could not answer Abner because he was afraid of him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.

Young's Literal Translation     And he is not able any more to turn back Abner a word, because of his fearing him.


What is the gist of this verse? Ishbosheth is suddenly afraid of Abner and is unable to answer him for that reason.


2Samuel 3:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

yâkôl (לֹכָי) [pronounced yaw-COAL]

to be able, can, to have the ability, to have the power to; to be able to bear; to be able to bring oneself [to do anything]; to be lawful, to be permitted; to be powerful, to prevail

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #3201 BDB #407

With the negative, this means to be unable to, to lack the ability to, to be powerless to, to lack permission to, to lack the power to.

׳ôwd (דע) [pronounced ģohd]

still, yet, again, besides, in addition to, even yet

adverb

Strong’s #5750 BDB #728

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shûwb (בש) [pronounced shoobv]

to cause to return, to bring, to be caused to turn back mentally, reminisce, to return something, to restore, to bring back, to send back, to regain, to recover, to make restitution, reconsider, think again, to be caused to return

Hiphil infinitive construct

Strong's #7725 BDB #996

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Ăbenêr (ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun

Strong's #1697 BDB #182


Translation: And [Ishbosheth] was yet unable to respond [even] a word to Abner... Ishbosheth, although he is king, did not fully recognize, until just at this point in time, just how powerful Abner is. He could have approached this matter in a different way. He could have ignored it or he could have come to Abner and said, “There is this rumor that...” However, Ishbosheth just took the most loyal man in his kingdom and essentially accused him of sedition.


Application: I have personally been in this position where I have (1) worked my tail off for a particular organization and (2) produced results; and then have been kicked in the teeth (actually, 4 times that I can think of immediately). Now, for my part, I fully realize that injustice is a part of life and that we will all face it from time to time. However, if you choose to come down on a subordinate, a colleague or your boss, you may want to reconsider. There is nothing wrong with tact and there is nothing wrong with holding your tongue. You do not have to say everything that comes into your head; you do not have to repeat every rumor that you hear, even if the source is really, really good (in fact, you should repeat none of them). In this case, Ishbosheth could have investigated the rumor; he could have thought things over; he could have simply ignored the reports that he heard. His confronting Abner in the way that he does, in a way which questions Abner’s loyalty, is reminiscent of Saul’s treatment of David, and will signal the beginning of his end.


Application: I recall seeing some show where this guy says that what he likes about this girl is, she says what is on her mind. Do you know what? We do not need complete access to your thoughts 24-7. God gave you a brain, which no one can see, and a mouth, which cannot possibly keep up with your thinking; and God has made you intelligent enough to consciously filter your speech. No one needs to know your every thought; in fact, if you let fly with your every thought, at best, you’ll hurt those who are in your periphery. At worse, the results could be much...well, worse. It is not a good thing that you speak without thinking Footnote ; it is not a good thing that you share everything that you are thinking (e.g., boy, did you ever get fat; or, that is a really stupid thing to say; or, I just now realized just how ugly that mole is). Most often, as Miss Manners will confirm, much of your unfiltered speech often insults the recipient and, more often than not, deals with things that they cannot easily cure). Part of raising a child is to teach them not to say everything that is on their little minds; certainly, the things a 3-year-old might say without prompting can be pretty hilarious, even at the expense of the relative that she is saying these things to; but this loses is cuteness by age 5. A good parent, even if the child just happens to say what that parent has been thinking for the past 20 years, will take that child aside and teach them not to speak every thought and to hold back on saying things which are insulting and/or hurtful.


Application: When you have a child, be aware that there is a great deal involved with training that child to be a circumspect adult. Those who plan to shuttle their children off to daycare at age 2 or so may want to rethink having children in the first place. Children are going to be faced with temptations that they do not understand at the earliest of ages; they are going to have to learn how to live a balanced life, where there is a balance struck in a number of areas (between playing and working); they are going to have to learn how to make correct decisions when you are not with them; and they are going to have to learn how to control their tongues. Besides all of this, they will need to learn the gospel and some doctrine once (or, if) they become believers. Training a child is almost a full-time job; they aren’t like a dog, where you can spend a few weeks, and that dog learns what you want him to learn, and manages to behave like a decent dog for the rest of his years. A child has an old sin nature and he will have to be reminded, and rewarded, and disciplined, and guided, and spoken to about new situations and circumstances; and this simply cannot be done in daycare. And speaking of daycare, do not ever think that the most important thing that your child learns is, how to be social or how to interact with his peers. The very worst mistakes that a child will make are those which he makes at the urging of his peers. When a child is asked to do drugs, it will be by one of his peers. If a child is urged to do wrong in the classroom, or, to break the law in some way (e.g., shoplifting), this is going to be urged by one of that child’s peers. If a child who has been through puberty is cajoled to have sex, this will come about at the urging of his peers. I am not saying that, you need to lock your child up in your home and never let him interact with other children; I am just saying, you need to keep a clear head about this, and not thinking that developing this child socially is the highest good (a lazy parent likes to think that, because it involves no effort on the parent’s part).


I”ve gone pretty far afield here; back to the narrative:


2Samuel 3:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, from off; on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

yârê (א ֵר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAY]

to fear, to fear-respect, to reverence, to have a reverential respect

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #3372 BDB #431

A Qal infinitive construct with a preposition can introduce a purpose clause, a result clause or a temporal clause.

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

sign of the direct object with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84


Translation: ...from his fearing him. Ishbosheth is pretty shaken up by what Abner has just said. Ishbosheth is king only because Abner did the preparation for him to become king. Now, Abner is saying that he will do the same for David, and Ishbosheth knows that he can.


Application: You want to be careful about who you turn against and why. Lashing out suddenly against someone is not necessarily the way to go. This will mark the beginning of the end for Ishbosheth.


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Now, with what is about to come to pass, it is reasonable to ask, why doesn’t Ishbosheth do something right now? Abner has clearly turned against him, and Abner could become his greatest enemy; how can Ishbosheth just let Abner say these things and then walk away?

Why Ishbosheth Allows Abner to Leave after Making These Threats

1.      Ishbosheth is not a real leader; Abner put him there. Abner has the power, for all intents and purposes. Ishbosheth is more than a figurehead, but less than a king, and not a leader by any means. Abner can therefore make an oath to him like this, and do so without consequences.

2.      Abner is Ishbosheth’s lead general, and his army may be more loyal to him than to Ishbosheth.

3.      Ishbosheth might attempt to kill Abner then and there, but my guess is, he is not physically able to himself.

4.      Ishbosheth is not able to make a decision fast enough at this point; as a king, he has just been threatened by his top general, and Ishbosheth is unable to think quickly enough to determine what he should do.

5.      As this verse states, Ishbosheth is afraid of Abner. Not only is he unable to come up with a plan to deal with Abner, but he is afraid as well.

6.      Ishbosheth had expected that Abner might lower his eyes to half-mast and say, “Yes, sir, you caught me; I did have this affair. What is my punishment?” Ishbosheth had no plan B; he had no idea what to do if Abner reacted any differently. Furthermore, Ishbosheth is unable to think on his feet, to be able to formulate a plan B suddenly when one is called for.

A king needs to be a leader; a king needs to plan for a variety of outcomes; when dealing with insubordination, a king needs to know what to do. A king also needs to be cognizant of those who are loyal to him and those who are honest with him.

Application: These things are true if you happen to be a person in authority. You need to be able to lead—that is, inspire others to do what needs to be done. You need to plan for a variety of outcomes; you need to know how to deal with insubordination. You need to know who is loyal to you and who you can trust to be honest with you. That brown-nosed suck-up is not the person you want giving you advice. The person who occasionally disagrees with you (and sometimes, with great animation); who lets you know what is going on, who tells you things which no one else tells you—that is often the person to trust, even when they tell you things that you don’t want to hear (and I don’t mean things like, boy, are you ever getting fat).


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Abner Pledges his Allegiance to David and Brings Michal back to David


And so sends Abner messengers unto David under [or, instead of] him to say, “To whom land?” To say, “Has cut your covenant with me and behold my hand [is] with you to bring round unto you all Israel.”

2Samuel

3:12

Then Abner sent messengers to David, instead of him [Abner], saying, “To whom [belongs this] land?” Also saying, “Make your covenant with me, and, listen, my hand [will be] with you to bring round [or, to turn over] all Israel to you.”

Then Abner sent his messengers to David instead of Abner, saying, “Whose land is this? Listen, make a covenant with me and my hand will be with you to bring all Israel around to you.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          Abner therefore sent messengers to David for himself, saying: Whose is the land? and that they should say: Make a league with me, and my hand shall be with you: and I will bring all Israel to you.

Masoretic Text                       And so sends Abner messengers unto David under [or, instead of] him to say, “To whom land?” To say, “Has cut your covenant with me and behold my hand [is] with you to bring round unto you all Israel.”

Septuagint                              And Abenner sent messengers to David to Thaelam where he was, immediately, saying, Make your covenant with me, and, behold, my hand is with you to bring back to you all the house of Israel.

 

Significant differences:           The proper noun found in the Greek is simply a transliteration of the preposition. However, the Greek adds the words where he was, immediately. The Latin also had problems with this Hebrew preposition, and rendered it, to himself. Like most of the English translations, the Greek renders the verb as an imperative rather than as a 3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect (see the Hebrew exegesis on this below).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Abner sent some of his men to David with this message: "You should be the ruler of the whole nation. If you make an agreement with me, I will persuade everyone in Israel to make you their king."

The Message                         Abner went ahead and sent personal messengers to David: "Make a deal with me and I'll help bring the whole country of Israel over to you."

NJB                                        Abner sent messengers o nhis own behalf to say to David, ‘...and furthermore, come to an agreement with me and wi will give you my support to win all Israel over to you.’ [By the way, those three dots are in the New Jerusalem Bible; I did not add them because I was too lazy to type something].

REB                                       Abner sent envoys on his own behalf to David with the message, ‘Who is to control the land? Let us come to terms, and you will have my support in bringing the whole of Israel over to you.’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then Abner sent messengers to David to speak on his behalf. "Who owns this country?" he asked. "Make an agreement with me," he said. "I'll support you and bring all Israel to you."

HCSB                                     Abner sent messengers as his representatives to say to David, "Whose land is it? Make your covenant with me, and you can be certain I am on your side to hand all Israel over to you."

JPS (Tanakh)                         Abner immediately sent messengers to David, saying, “To whom shall the land belong?” and to say [further], “Make a pact with me, and I will help you and bring all Israel over to your side.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, "To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring over all Israel to you."

WEB                                      Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose is the land? saying also, Make your league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with you, to bring about all Israel to you.

Young’s Updated LT             And Abner sends messengers unto David for himself, saying, “Whose is the land?” saying, “Make your covenant with me, and lo, my hand is with you, to bring round unto you all Israel.”


What is the gist of this verse? Abner contacts David, asking him, “Whose land is this?” and then saying, “Make a covenant with me, and I will bring all Israel to you.”


2Samuel 3:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for [forth, away], to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth, to stretch out

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

Ăbenêr (ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

maleâke (ָא׃לַמ) [pronounced mahle-AWKe]

messenger or angel; this word has been used for a prophet (Isa. 42:19) and priest (Mal. 2:7)

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #4397 BDB #521

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

tachath (תַח ַ) [pronounced TAH-khahth]

underneath, below, under, beneath; instead of, in lieu of; in the place [in which one stands]; in exchange for; on the basis of

preposition of location or foundation; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8478 BDB #1065


Translation: Then Abner sent messengers to David, instead of him [Abner],... This gives us a clue as to how Abner operated when setting of Ishbosheth as king. He send out messengers throughout the land with a proclamation or an offer of alliance to the Sauline line. In some cases, he may have gone personally, but, when dealing with 10 tribes, Abner probably used messengers most of the time. This also helps to explain why it took so long for Ishbosheth to be set up as king. David was proclaimed king over Judah almost instantly; because of the tireless work of Abner, Ishbosheth became king over northern and eastern Israel after several years of messages and meetings.


Sending messengers is also circumspect on Abner’s part (which we would expect). He has no idea how David will receive him. Even though Abner has burned some bridges behind him, with respect to Ishbosheth; Abner does not saddle up and ride out immediately to David. Abner can read people, and, even though he was upset during this meeting with Ishbosheth, Abner also knows that he has some time. The first thing that he needs to do is to see if he can forge an alliance with David. Recall, Abner personally killed one of David’s nephews (and, it is my guess that, even though he was losing the battle, he could have killed David’s other two nephews as well). Abner is hoping to reach out to David, without retribution from David.


Here, Abner sends his messengers to David. Abner’s approach is interesting. Abner does not speak of Asahel, whom he killed in battle. He offers no excuses and no explanations to David. Footnote Furthermore, Abner does not flatter David; he does not pander to David. Abner is an extremely shrewd political animal and he knows David. He will not send David some message like, “You are the greatest king Israel has known; I have no idea why I backed this lame Saul-wannabe. We should team up.” Notice his approach:


2Samuel 3:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who, whom; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative; the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, ground, soil

feminine singular noun; pausal form

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: ...saying, “To whom [belongs this] land?” This is an interesting question, and one which Abner does not answer. He may have intentionally left this open. Recall that Abner is a brilliant man. Maybe David sees this as, God owns the land; and maybe he sees it as, he, as the ruler of Israel, should rule over all the land. So, Abner leaves out the verb and leaves out his opinion as to whom the land belongs. It is as if he is saying, “We feel exactly the same way about this issue, David” but without having to state David’s exact feelings. And Abner states this in such a way so it does not appear as though he is simply pandering to David. He leaves this question open ended, as if the answer is obvious to both of them, whereas, it may not be obvious to Abner (that is, David’s believe here).

 

Interestingly enough, most commentators supply the answer at this point, which is what Abner wants to happen. Abner does not pose this question and provide an answer; he allows the answer to be self-evident to David. Gill writes: The land of Israel, is it not yours, David? verily it is; to whom does it belong but unto you, to whom the Lord has given it? [He did] not [give the land] to any of Saul”s posterity: this he ordered the messengers to say in the first place, in order to ingratiate himself to David, and gain his messengers an audience. Footnote Keil and Delitzsch say essentially the same thing—to whom does the land belong except to you? Footnote John Wesley says essentially the same thing; so, if these great commentators came to this conclusion, without it being written here, obviously David would read here what he wants to read as well. Don’t ever sell Abner short; he is a brilliant tactician.


2Samuel 3:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

kârath (תַרָ) [pronounced kaw-RAHTH]

to cut off, to cut down; to kill, to destroy; to make a covenant

3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #3772 BDB #503

Although this is clearly the 3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect of this verb, a masculine singular imperative can be formed with the hê ending, which does not affect the meaning. Footnote

berîyth (תי .ר) [pronounced bereeth]

pact, alliance, treaty, alliance, covenant

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1285 BDB #136

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85


Translation: Also saying, “Make your covenant with me,... As discussed above, this verb form can be a 3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect; and it can also be the masculine singular, Qal imperative form with a hê ending (which does not affect the meaning of the verb). As you no doubt see in your own Bible, this is rendered as an imperative by virtually everyone (even Owen, who points out that this is a perfect tense, still renders it as an imperative).


Abner has sent his messengers to David and requests that David make a covenant with him. This is an interesting request, as he and David have been at war for sometime, and this has included the death of David’s nephew, Asahel. Not only does Ishbosheth believe that this is worth the risk, but David will respond to him in the way that he expects. There are some military men who do not know what to say when they are with a bunch of suits; and there are some political animals who can deftly line up a number of opposing factions to support them or their opinions; however, Abner is one of those few men who is comfortable at war and with political types. He is equally brilliant in both situations.


2Samuel 3:12d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, note, take note; pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near; like; from

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767


Translation: ... and listen, my hand [will be] with you... Abner is clearly pledging his complete support to David in this time of civil unrest. He is reasonably the man who cause Israel to unite behind David. Although his offer here is legitimate and sincere, this is something which God would handle in His Own time.


The expression my hand is a metonym Footnote for what Abner would do on behalf of David.


2Samuel 3:12e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

çâbab (ב ַב ָס) [pronounced sawb-VAHBV]

to be brought round, to turn, to change, to march around, to walk around, to go partly around, to circle about, to go on a circuitous march, to make a circuit, to surround, to encompass; to turn over?

Hiphil infinitive construct

Strong’s #5437 BDB #685

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of, any

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ...to bring round [or, to turn over] all Israel to you.” Abner’s offer here is legitimate. It took him some time, but he managed to turn all northern and eastern Israel over to Ishbosheth. He is a man fully capable of delivering on this promise.


I imagine that we could debate whether or not David should ally himself with Abner at this point. However, we should not hold anything against Abner because he is a brilliant military man and a wily political animal. As I have mentioned before, he is also honest and loyal; and, at no time, do we find him trying to take the top position in Israel. Personally, even though Abner should have figured out what was going on and back David early on; still, I cannot fault him nor say that David should have ignored his message. There is no reason which I can come up with to suggests that David ought to rebuff Abner’s offer.


Application: The other day, I was dealing with a person who was extremely self-righteous; who needed some help, but refused to take it from me. She said, “God will take care of me!” God was taking care of her, through me. There are sometimes when God will offer you assistance through someone that you may not really like. You do not get to choose how God will provide for you. if you reject assistance that you need out of pride, don’t think that God is going to keep on offering you this assistance. God is a gentleman and you can refuse the gifts which He gives you.


And so he says, “Good; I will cut with you a covenant, but a word one [or, the first (one) thing] I am asking from with you, to say: you will not see my faces for if to faces of your bringing of Michal, a daughter of Saul, in a your coming to see my faces.

2Samuel

3:13

And he [David] said, “Good! I will make a covenant with you, but one thing I require directly from you, namely [lit., to say]: you will not see my face only first, you bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.”

And David replied, “This is good! I will make a covenant with you under one condition: that you bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see me.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And he said: Very well: I will make a league with you: but one thing I require of you, saying: You will not see my face before you bring Michol the daughter of Saul: and so you will come, and see me.

Masoretic Text                       And so he says, “Good; I will cut with you a covenant, but a word one [or, the first (one) thing] I am asking from with you, to say: you will not see my faces for if to faces of your bringing of Michal, a daughter of Saul, in a your coming to see my faces.

Peshitta                                  Then David said, “Well, I will make a covenant with you; but one thing I require of you: you will not see my face , unless you first bring Malchel, Saul’s daughter, with you.”

Septuagint                              And David said, With a good will I will make with you a covenant: only I demand one condition of you, saying, You will not see my face, unless you bring Melchol the daughter of Saul, when you come to see my face.

 

Significant differences:           We find David’s name in the Greek and Syriac; but not in the Latin and Hebrew. Not a significant difference.

 

In the Hebrew, David says, “Good.” I think the LXX attempts to interpret this (with a good will); and that the Latin gives a better idea of its meaning (very well). The idea is, a positive response is given, one which indicates that David not only agrees to the covenant, but appreciates the overture by Abner.

 

The verb I rendered to ask could also be rendered to demand, to require; so these ancient texts are all in agreement here.

 

There are 3 particles and a word in the Hebrew which are very difficult to render literally; no modern English translator, apart from myself, does so (insofar as I know); therefore, we should expect a similar treatment in the ancient texts.

 

The Latin and Syriac both abbreviate the final phrase of this verse, which does not alter the meaning.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David sent this message back: "Good! I'll make an agreement with you. But before I will even talk with you about it, you must get Saul's daughter Michal back for me."

The Message                         "Great," said David. "It's a deal. But only on one condition: You're not welcome here unless you bring Michal, Saul's daughter, with you when you come to meet me."

NLT                                        “All right,” David replied, “but I will not negotiate with you unless you bring back my wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come.”



Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         "Good!" David answered. "I'll make an agreement with you. But there's one condition: You can't come to see me unless you bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come."

HCSB                                     David replied, "Good, I will make a covenant with you. However, there's one thing I require of you: Do not appear before me unless you bring Saul's daughter Michal here when you come to see me."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And he said, Good! I will cut a covenant with you, but one thing I ask of you, saying, You shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come to see my face.

WEB                                      He said, Well; I will make a league with you; but one thing I require of you: that is, you shall not see my face, except you first bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come to see my face.

Young’s Updated LT             And he says, “Good—I make with you a covenant; only, one thing I am asking of you, that is, You do not see my face, except you first bring in Michal, daughter of Saul in your coming into see my face.”


What is the gist of this verse? David agrees to the covenant suggested by Abner, but asks that Abner bring Michal, his wife, to him, when he comes to meet David face to face.


2Samuel 3:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ţôwb (בט) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better; approved

masculine feminine singular adjective which can act like a substantive

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373


Translation: And he [David] said, “Good! This word good is an interesting one in many languages. For those who speak Spanish, this is often the way they answer their phones, which seems to indicate, “I am glad that you called.” Here, David is agreeing to Abner’s request, and agreeing in such a way as to indicate that David appreciates Abner’s request. That is, Abner is not coming to David as a beaten general, and signing an unconditional surrender; Abner is coming to David, even though there is a civil war going on, one which Abner is leading from the other side; and Abner is saying, “I am leaving Ishbosheth and his side, and coming to you, David.” And David thinks about this and remarks, “Good.” This is agreeable to David, even though it will definitely rub his remaining nephews the wrong way.


2Samuel 3:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ânîy (י.נָא) [pronounced aw-NEE]

I, me; in answer to a question, it means I am, it is I

1st person singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #589 BDB #58

kârath (תַרָ) [pronounced kaw-RAHTH]

to cut off, to cut down; to kill, to destroy; to make a covenant

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3772 BDB #503

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

berîyth (תי .ר) [pronounced bereeth]

pact, alliance, treaty, alliance, covenant

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1285 BDB #136


Translation: I will make a covenant with you,... David agrees with Abner, and makes it clear that he will establish and agreement with him. David and Abner know one another; they likely served together under Saul for several years. As we have studied in 1Samuel, David had a very good reputation among the other soldiers for his integrity. David also knew Abner well enough to understand that he was a man of his word as well. Obviously, each man is taking a bit of a chance here; however, each man knows that the other is trustworthy and functions with integrity.


2Samuel 3:13c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ake ( ַא) [pronounced ahke]

surely, certainly, no doubt, only, but; only now, just now, only this once; nothing but

adverb of restriction, contrast, time, limitation, and exception. Also used as an affirmative particle

Strong’s #389 BDB #36

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

echâd (ד ָח א) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity; possibly particular

numeral adjective

Strong's #259 BDB #25

ânôkîy (י.כֹנָא) [pronounced awn-oh-KEE]

I, me; (sometimes a verb is implied)

1st person singular personal pronoun

Strong’s #595 BDB #59

shâal (לַאָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask [petition, request, inquire]; to demand [require]; to question, to interrogate; to ask [for a loan]; to consult; to salute

Qal active participle

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

Together, min êth mean from proximity with, from with, from close proximity to, to proceed from someone. A good up-to-date rendering might be directly from. I believe the idea is, the person here is expected to personally deal with this request.


Translation: ...but one thing I ask directly from you,... There is a combination of articles in this portion of v. 13 which is interesting. I think the idea here is, that David expect Abner to personally handle this request. He does not want Abner to foist this on his top man, and then show up, saying, “I guess that Charlie Brown did not come through. Hey, I am sorry about that.” David will clearly require Abner to handle this matter. He has a request and this request must be fulfilled by Abner. Now, despite that inference which I get, things will be done differently.


2Samuel 3:13d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural noun (plural acts like English singular); with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815


Translation: ...namely [lit., to say]: you will not see my face... David’s requirement will mean that Abner cannot come to David until one condition is first met. He cannot even come to David and shake hands on this agreement. They cannot meet and both sign documents pledging their mutual support; first, Abner must do something for David.


2Samuel 3:13e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when (or, if followed by a perfect tense which refers to a past event)

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

Together, kîy îm (ם ̣א י ̣) [pronounced kee-eem] act as a limitation on the preceding thought, and therefore should be rendered but, except, except that, unless and possibly only. However, these particles are not used in a limiting way if they follow an oath, a question or a negative. Then they can be rendered that if, for if, for though, that since, for if, but if, indeed if, even if; for even.

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of. This can also mean forwards; the front part [or, the edge of a sword]. Lepânîym (םי.נָפל) can take on a temporal sense as well: before, of old, formerly, in the past, in past times.

These 3 particles plus pânîym do not have a specific meaning. Few translators rendered them literally; most rendered these 4 words as follows: unless (ESV, the Message, MKJV, NIV, NKJV, the Tanakh); except (KJV, LTHB, Rotherham, WEB, Young); before (Douay Rheims).

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to take in, to bring, to come in with, to carry

Hiphil infinitive construct with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Mîykal (ל-כי.מ) [pronounced mee-KAHL]

possibly means brook or stream and is transliterated Michal

feminine proper noun

Strong’s #4324 BDB #568

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine singular construct

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

Qal infinitive construct with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb.

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural noun (plural acts like English singular); with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815


Translation: ...only first, you bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” There is a great struggle here to give meaning to these words. However, the gist of this portion of v. 13 is fairly simple: David’s request is, in order to see him, Abner must bring Michal first. David has not seen Michal for several years. You may recall that Saul first promised David marriage to his eldest daughter, and then gave her to someone else. Then, Michal, Saul’s younger daughter, fell in love with David, and Saul allowed David to marry her (thinking that he could have parlayed this mutual desire into David’s death). However, when Saul sent men to David’s home, Michal knew that this was serious to the point where David needed to escape. So he did, and Michal was left behind. Since then, Michal has remarried; and David has married several women. However, David wants Michal, although we do not have a reason given. David may not know that she is remarried; David may have had a good friendship with her at one time and recalls that fondly; and it is even possible that this was a political move (although I doubt that). So, even though the translation is difficult, the idea is simple: David has imposed upon Abner one condition for their bond: Abner must produce Michal, David’s former wife. Whether or not David has a claim on Michal is not really an issue here, as she has remarried. Even if David’s feelings at this point were very sincere, and even if he deserved her for the price that he paid, still, Michal has remarried.

 

Barnes remarks: David’s motive in requiring the restitution of Michal was partly his affection for her, and his memory of her love for him; partly the wish to wipe out the affront put upon him in taking away his wife, by obtaining her return; and partly, also, a politic consideration of the effect on Saul’s partisans of a daughter of Saul being David’s queen. Footnote It is very difficult to look into the soul of David with regards to this thing and figure out why he asked for Michal. In my own opinion, the first two reasons given by Barnes are applicable; and I do not know about the latter ones. Although David does some politically savvy things, I do not believe that David’s primary focus is political.


There are certain reasons given in the Word of God which allow a person to divorce his spouse with the right of remarriage. One of the corollaries to these reasons is, if you divorce a woman, and she remarries, then you are not to get back together with her. This is what David is doing, and the end result we would expect to be unsuccessful, which it is.

 

Clarke, on the other hand, sees this reunion as a political necessity: Prudence and policy required that he [David] should strengthen his own interest in the kingdom as much as possible; and that he should not leave a princess in the possession of a man who might, in her right, have made pretensions to the throne. Footnote Jamieson, Fausset and Brown concur: The demand for the restoration of his wife Michal was perfectly fair; but David's insisting on it at that particular moment, as an indispensable condition of his entering into any treaty with Abner, seems to have proceeded not so much from a lingering attachment as from an expectation that his possession of her would incline some adherents of the house of Saul to be favorable to his cause. Footnote If this was a similar choice made by Abner or Ishbosheth, I could agree that the intentions are political; and that, in this case, this is even a political necessity. After all, David earned his marriage to Michal. However, I do not believe that David simply took her to shore up his political strength. I think that the wide support which David receives (which we will find in the book of Chronicles), did not simply come about because there will be a well-established link between himself and the house of Saul. I doubt that there was any significant political advantage which David enjoyed because of this reunion. Bear in mind, as you study this chapter, that Abner will do a lot of the preliminary work on David’s behalf before Michal is returned to David.


It is interesting how these women are referred to. Abigail is continually referred to as the wife of Nabal, even though Nabal is dead; and Michal, instead of being called the wife of David, is called the daughter of Saul. I don’t think that we should attached a lot of spiritual meaning to this; I think that these are ways to clearly identify these two women, apart from their relationship to David.


And so sends David messengers unto Ishbosheth, a son of Saul, to say, “Give my wife Michal whom I betrothed to me in a hundred foreskins of Philistines.”

2Samuel

3:14

Then David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give [to me] my wife, Michal, whom I married [lit., betrothed to me] with a hundred Philistine foreskins.”

Then David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give my wife, Michal, to me; whom I married for the cost of 100 Philistine foreskins.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And David sent messengers to Isboseth the son of Saul, saying: Restore my wife Michol, whom I espoused to me for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.

Masoretic Text                       And so sends David messengers unto Ishbosheth, a son of Saul, to say, “Give my wife Michal whom I betrothed to me in a hundred foreskins of Philistines.”

Peshitta                                  Then David sent messengers to Ashbashul, Saul’s son, saying, “Deliver to me my wife, Malchel, whom I espoused for 200 foreskins of the Philistines.”

Septuagint                              And David sent messengers to Jebosthe the son of Saul, saying, Restore me my wife Melchol, whom I took for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek adds the pronoun me, which is perfectly proper and does not alter the meaning.

 

The Greek also uses the verb to take rather than to betroth (and, therefore, leaves off the prepositional phrase to me. It is possible that this prepositional phrase was misplaced in the Hebrew, as it does appear to fit better with the verb to give. The Peshitta agrees with the Greek; the Vulgate with the Hebrew.

 

The Syriac indicates that it was 200 foreskins.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David sent a few of his officials to Ishbosheth to give him this message: "Give me back my wife Michal! I killed a hundred Philistines so I could marry her."

The Message                         David then sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul: "Give me back Michal, whom I won as my wife at the cost of a hundred Philistine foreskins."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then David sent messengers to Saul's son Ishbosheth to say, "Give me my wife Michal. I made a payment of 100 Philistine foreskins for her."

HCSB                                     Then David sent messengers to say to Ish-bosheth son of Saul, "Give me back my wife, Michal. I was engaged to her for the price of 100 Philistine foreskins."

JPS (Tanakh)                         David also sent messengers to Ish-bosheth son of Saul, to say, “Give me my wife Michal, for whom I paid the bride-price of one hundred Philistine foreskins.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Then David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, saying, "Give me my wife Michal, for whom I paid the bridal price of a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.".

WEB                                      David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, whom I pledged to be married to me for one hundred foreskins of the Philistines.

Young’s Updated LT             And David sends messengers unto Ish-Boshes son of Saul, saying, “Give up my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself with a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.”


What is the gist of this verse? David sends messengers to Ishbosheth telling him to send David his wife, Michal, whom he had married at a cost of 100 Philistine foreskins.


2Samuel 3:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for [forth, away], to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth, to stretch out

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

maleâke (ָא׃לַמ) [pronounced mahle-AWKe]

messenger or angel; this word has been used for a prophet (Isa. 42:19) and priest (Mal. 2:7)

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #4397 BDB #521

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Īysh-Bôsheth (ת∵שֹב־שי.א) [pronounced eesh-BOH-sheath]

man of Baal; transliterated Ishbosheth

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #378 BDB #36

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: Then David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son,... This surprises me, and I do not have an immediate explanation for this: David sends a message to Ishbosheth, requesting his wife. I would have expected Abner to return and to bring this woman with him. I suspect what happened is, Abner knew the thinking of Ishbosheth, and knew that he would be willing to send Michal to David, despite the civil war. We can only speculate as to why, but let me suggest that, if Michal has a boy child, then he would be a potential political rival for Ishbosheth. Apart from this, I am surprised that David is sending messengers to Ishbosheth for this reason (I would have expected Abner to whisk her away in the night to bring to David); and I am surprised that Ishbosheth goes along with David’s request (again, the only reason I can fathom is Ishbosheth sees any son of Michal’s as a potential political rival). On the other hand, would not a union of David and Michal, Saul’s daughter, be a potential political union that Ishbosheth should be concerned about?


2Samuel 3:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set; to make

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative; with the Voluntative hê

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #802 BDB #61

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Mîykal (ל-כי.מ) [pronounced mee-KAHL]

possibly means brook or stream and is transliterated Michal

feminine proper noun

Strong’s #4324 BDB #568


Translation: ...saying, “Give [to me] my wife, Michal,... The actual Hebrew construction is interesting. We would expect the prepositional phrase to me to be found here, rather than with the verb which follows. The Greek and Syriac translators agree with me; however, the Latin and Hebrew have this phrase below. The meaning is barely altered, but we do not know which reading is correct.


In textual criticism, we choose the poorest-sounding reading, not the best. It makes sense that one would fix a reading (and it may not be done intentionally); but it makes less sense for a person to screw up a reading. There is no similarity with these verbs, so misplacing the prepositional phrase because the verbs look alike is not what happened.

 

Barnes suggests the following explanation: [David sends messengers to Ishbosheth and] Not to Abner, for the league between David and Abner was a profound secret, but to Ish-bosheth who, David knew, must act, feeble as he was, at Abner’s dictation. Abner’s first act of overt allegiance to David was thus done at Ish-bosheth’s bidding; and the effect of the humiliation laid upon Ish-bosheth in exposing his weakness to his own subjects, and so shaking their allegiance to him, was such that Abner needed to use no more disguise. Footnote The situation which is occurring here is quite interesting. Portions have been left out. I suspect that Abner messaged back to David, “Send your messengers directly to Ishbosheth, and I will see that your request is honored.” This move both reveals the weakness of Ishbosheth, as well as Abner’s loyalty to David. My opinion would imply that Ishbosheth was probably encouraged by Abner to fulfill David’s request.


Gill Footnote has a different opinion; that when Abner responded to David’s request, it was with a qualified no, saying that, under the circumstances, he would be unable to deliver on this promise, but that David could contact Ishbosheth directly in order to receive Michal back.


2Samuel 3:14c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

âras (-רָא) [pronounced aw-RAHS]

to betroth, to marry, to get married to, to espouse, to make one a wife; to become engaged to

1st person singular, Piel perfect

Strong’s #781 BDB #76

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

mêâh (ה ָא ֵמ) [pronounced may-AW]

one hundred, a hundred, hundred

feminine singular numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

The Syriac and Arabic, at this point, have 200 foreskins, which is the actual amount which David delivered to Saul. However, that the Hebrew, Latin and Greek all agree that the number is 100 makes this the most reasonable reading. Josephus, by the way, says that David had given over 600 foreskins. Footnote

׳orelâw (הָלרָע) [pronounced ģohre-LAW]

foreskin

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #6190 BDB #790

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun)

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814


Translation: ...whom I married [lit., betrothed to me] with a hundred Philistine foreskins.” The cost which Saul had expected from David was 100 foreskins. This would entitle David to marry Saul’s daughter, Michal. What David brought to Saul was 200 foreskins. Once an opponent was killed, his phallus was cut off, and this clearly indicated that he was a Philistine, as he would be uncircumcised. David brought to Saul 200 uncircumcised phalluses (see 1Sam. 18:25–27). The number which we find here (which is probably 100) is of no great consequence.


It is interesting that this is taking place. We are in the midst of a civil war; however, Abner has stormed out of Ishbosheth’s office swearing that he will support David. This would probably bring the civil war to a halt (Abner and Ishbosheth were the aggressive ones—David was not; so, if Abner’s army stopped advancing, and even retreated, then it is unlikely that David would have continued to make war against them. So, we probably have a break in the war between David and Abner, during which Ishbosheth is afraid of Abner, probably totally unsure as to how to react; and David’s request seems reasonable to him. It is also possible that, Ishbosheth is easy to manipulate at this point. A poor leader can be manipulated into a course of action by a deft politician. Here, this is simply a sincere request by David for that which belongs to him.


There appears to be legal precedent for David’s request here; that in Mesopotamia, it was recognized that a former husband could make a claim on his wife, if they had separated through no fault of his own (e.g., being removed from one’s homeland as a prisoner). I did not pursue this, but first heard it from Robert Gordon, I & II Samuel A Commentary; Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI; ©1986; p. 219, who references Z. Ben-Barak, SVT 30 (1979), pp. 15–29.


So there is no misunderstanding—David should not have made this request. Of course, it is wrong what happened and it was very wrong that Saul simply gave his daughter Michal to someone else. This was an injustice. However, David should have been more circumspect concerning this demand, as he already had 6 wives. Now, my opinion is, David found himself more satisfied with one wife than he did with 6; so he assumes the problem is, he does not have the right person, and that Michal is the right person to be with him. However, Michal is not going to change David’s life when she comes to him—not for the better.


Application: You are going to face injustice all of your life. Most people could spend every waking moment either going to court to solve this or that injustice; or running around to a number of other people to give their side of the story. God did not intend for us to do that. God did not intend for us to go out and vindicate ourselves before man. There are not enough hours in the day. Being treated unjustly is a part of life; David, losing Michal under these circumstances, was an injustice. David is going to attempt to solve this injustice, which is a mistake. Did you know that it is not your job to make sure that everyone acts according to your standards of behavior? In fact, it is not even your job to make certain that anyone (apart from your own children) acts in accordance ot God’s standards. People are going to do wrong; and people are going to do wrong to you. Don’t spend your entire life trying to fix all these injustices; you just do not have time to do that. God did not put us on this earth to fix up the devil’s world. God has not placed us here to solve the problems that Satan cannot.


And so sends Ishbosheth and so he takes her from with a man, from with Paltiel son of Laish.

2Samuel

3:15

Ishbosheth then sent [a messenger to her] and he takes her from [her] husband, Paltiel son of Laish.

Ishbosheth then sent a messenger to her and took her from her husband, Paltiel, son of Laish.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so sends Ishbosheth and so he takes her from with a man, from with Paltiel son of Laish.

Septuagint                              And Jebosthe sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Selle.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek adds the personal pronoun to husband; as does the Aramaic, Syriac and Latin.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Ishbosheth sent some of his men to take Michal away from her new husband, Paltiel the son of Laish.

The Message                         Ish-Bosheth ordered that she be taken from her husband Paltiel son of Laish.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So Ishbosheth sent men to take her from her husband Paltiel, son of Laish.

HCSB                                     So Ish-bosheth sent someone to take her away from her husband, Paltiel son of Lais.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from her [second] husband, from Paltiel son of Laish [to whom Saul had given her].

LTHB                                     And Ishbosheth sent and took her from the man, from Phaltiel the son of Laish.

WEB                                      Ish-bosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Paltiel the son of Laish.

Young’s Updated LT             And Ish-Boshes sends, and takes her from a man, from Phaltiel son of Laish.


What is the gist of this verse? Ishbosheth takes Michal from her husband, Paltiel.


2Samuel 3:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for [forth, away], to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth, to stretch out

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

Īysh-Bôsheth (ת∵שֹב־שי.א) [pronounced eesh-BOH-sheath]

man of Baal; transliterated Ishbosheth

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #378 BDB #36


Translation: Ishbosheth then sent [a messenger to her]... I find this interesting. David and Ishbosheth are jockeying for power. The end result could mean death for either man. Their armies are at war (although it is not clear whether they are actually with their armies or not). However, Abner is about to desert (although I don’t think Ishbosheth realizes this fully); and, in the midst of this civil war, David sends a message to Ishbosheth saying, “Send me my wife, Michal.” I must admit to not exactly understanding the customs here. Recall that Ishbosheth just threw a fit because Abner might be sleeping with Saul’s mistress (which could be seen as a political move). However, here, David requests Michal, and Ishbosheth seems to just go along with it. The only explanation I can come up with is, Abner has ordered Ishbosheth to go along with David’s request, something he actually has the power to do, as he is over Ishbosheth’s army. Footnote As we will see, this will involve Ishbosheth and Abner both. David sends Ishbosheth the message; Ishbosheth either goes himself or sends someone else to get this woman; however, Abner is there, with Michal and her weeping husband, as we will see in the next verse.


2Samuel 3:15b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

take, seize, take away, take in marriage; send for, fetch, bring, receive

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

Together, these prepositions mean: from with, beside, from being with, away from, far from, from among, from the possession of, from the custody of, from the house of, from the vicinity of, out of the power of, from the mind of.

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35


Translation: ...and he takes her from [her] husband,... Michal, as we had noted earlier, had remarried, as David was exiled for a long time. Furthermore, Saul had called the shots (1Sam. 25:44), having his daughter remarry (whether it was at her request or a political favor, we do not know; however, the marriage seems to have been a good one). There was obviously no way that David and Saul were going to be congenial—Michal realized this—and was apparently willing to move on in her life.


What I believe happened here, and the text allows for this, is that Ishbosheth, for reasons which may not seem to be completely clear, sent Abner to get Michal and to deliver her to David. Ishbosheth would not be aware of an existing treaty between Abner and David, and that this delivery of Michal to David is the key to this treaty. This allowed Abner to cross over into Judah and to go directly to David without Ishbosheth realizing what was going on. This bit of political deception indicates just why David contacted Ishbosheth directly; this way, Ishbosheth puts Abner into the loop himself.


2Samuel 3:15c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

Together, these prepositions mean: from with, beside, from being with, away from, far from, from among, from the possession of, from the custody of, from the house of, from the vicinity of, out of the power of, from the mind of.

Paleţîyêl (ל̤אי.טל-) [pronounced pahle-tee-ALE]

God delivers; transliterated Paltiel

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #6401 BDB #812

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Layish (ש̣יַל) [pronounced LAH-yish]

old lion, but the inference is to bravery and strength, rather than to old age; transliterated Laish

proper singular noun

Strong’s #3919 BDB #539


Translation: ...Paltiel son of Laish. I don’t believe that Paltiel’s name was given before, but he seems like a decent sort, even though all we know is his name. His name means God delivers, so his parents were probably believers. As we will see, this turn of events was not a good moment for him.


And so he goes with her, her man, going and weeping after her as far as Bahurim. And so says to him Abner “Go; return.” And so he returns.

2Samuel

3:16

Her husband went with her, following after her and weeping, as far as Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Leave; return!” So he returned [home].

Her husband followed after her, crying, and went as far as Bahurim. Abner finally told him, “Leave; go back home!” So he returned home.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he goes with her, her man, going and weeping after her to Bahurim. And so says to him Abner “Go; return.” And so he returns.

Septuagint                              And her husband went with her weeping behind her as far as Barakim. And Abenner said to him, Go, return; and he returned.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Paltiel followed Michal and the men all the way to Bahurim, crying as he walked. But he went back home after Abner ordered him to leave.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Her husband went with her and cried over her all the way to Bahurim. "Go home," Abner told him. So he went home.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                                      Her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her to Bahurim. Then said Abner to him, Go, return: and he returned.

Young’s Updated LT             And her husband goes with her, going on and weeping behind her, unto Bahurim, and Abner says unto him, “Go, turn back;” and he turns back.


What is the gist of this verse? Michal’s husband followed her, crying as he went, until Abner ordered him to return home.


2Samuel 3:16a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun; with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #376 BDB #35


Translation: Her husband went with her,... This was sudden and a shock to Paltiel. Out of nowhere, Abner shows up and tells Michal to pack her bags, and that she is being sent to David.


2Samuel 3:16b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bâkâh (הָכָ) [pronounced baw-KAW]

to weep, to cry, to bewail

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong’s #1058 BDB #113

achêr (ר̤ח-א) [pronounced ah-KHEHR]

another, following, other as well as foreign, alien, strange

adjective/substantive with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #312 BDB #29

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition of extent

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

Bachûrîym (םי .רֻח-) [pronounced bahk-oo-REEM]

young men; young men’s village; and is transliterated Bahurim

proper singular noun; location

Strong’s #980 BDB #104


Translation: ...following after her and weeping, as far as Bahurim. Michal’s husband is obviously very much in love with her, and this turn of events causes him great distress. As she goes, as per the orders of Abner, he follows after her, crying. His following Michal and crying indicates that he was very much in love with her; her bitterness toward David, which we will see in 2Sam. 6:16, 20 (even though she had a reason to be mad in this passage, I believe it to be based upon being taken out of her present marriage as well, as her dislike of David lasted apparently for the entirety of their marriage—2Sam. 6:23).

 

Barnes on Bahurim: Best known as the residence of Shimei, and as the place where Jonathan and Ahimaaz were concealed in a well on the occasion of David’s flight from Absalom (2Sam. 16:5 17:18). It seems to have been situated in the southern border of the tribe of Benjamin (2Sam. 19:16), and on the route from Jerusalem to the Jordan fords Footnote . Keil and Delitzsch give a similar description of its location: Bahurim [is] Shimei's home (2Sam. 19:17 1Kings 2:8), was situated, according to 2Sam. 16:1, 5 17:18, upon the road from Jerusalem to Gilgal, in the valley of the Jordan, not far from the Mount of Olives, and is supposed by v. Schubert (R. iii. p. 70) to have stood upon the site of the present Abu Dis, though in all probability it is to be sought for farther north (see Rob. Pal. ii. p. 103). Footnote Paltiel had therefore followed his wife to the border of the tribe of Judah, or of the kingdom of David. Given that Abner is traveling from the Transjordan area, across the Jordan River, and through Benjamin (which Abner probably meets with the elders of Benjamin), this is a reasonable supposition on the part of Barnes and Keil and Delitzsch. Footnote


To simplify matters, Bahurim is the last Benjamite city one goes through before entering into Judah on the way to Hebron. Footnote


2Samuel 3:16c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Ăbenêr (ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

go, come, depart, walk; advance

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

shûwb (בש) [pronounced shoobv]

to return, to turn, to turn back, to reminisce, to restore something, to bring back something, to revive, to recover something, to make restitution

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #7725 BDB #996


Translation: Then Abner said to him, “Leave; return!” This is also interesting; it appears as though Abner did not send out a lackey to take care of this, but that he went himself. At the very least, he speaks directly to this man at some point (apparently, in Bahurim). Abner orders him to return home.


2Samuel 3:16d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shûwb (בש) [pronounced shoobv]

to return, to turn, to turn back, to reminisce, to restore something, to bring back something, to revive, to recover something, to make restitution

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7725 BDB #996


Translation: So he returned [home]. This was an order from his king; Paltiel did not really have any choice here.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Abner Garners Support for David from the Elders of Israel and Benjamin


And a word of Abner was with elders of Israel to say, “Both yesterday and three days ago, you have been seeking David to king over you.

2Samuel

3:17

And the word of Abner was with the elders of Israel, saying, “For some time now, you have been seeking David to rule over you.

Abner sent word to the elders of Israel, and the message read, “For awhile now, you have wanted David to be your king.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And a word of Abner was with elders of Israel to say, “Both yesterday and three days ago, you have been seeking David to king over you.

Septuagint