2 Samuel 2:8-3:5: “Must the sword devour forever?”

Ever feel like civil war could break out with your own kin?

After Saul’s death, Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, makes Ish-Bosheth, the son of Saul, king of Israel. Meanwhile, the tribe of Judah follows David. Thus begins a civil war in Israel. The first battle of the war occurs at the pool of Gibeon, beginning with a contest between twelve soldiers from each side. The contest is a draw, since all twenty-four die.

One episode in the fierce battle that follows involves Asahel, the brother of Joab and Abishai, who pursues Abner. Abner repeatedly warns Asahel to stop his pursuit, but when he will not, Abner thrusts the butt end of his spear through Asahel, killing him instantly. Joab and Abashai then pursue Abner, who rallies his men behind him on a hill. At that point Abner calls for a truce, asking Joab and David’s men to stop their pursuit. They do and the battle ends, the victory belonging to David’s forces who lost nineteen men but killed three hundred and sixty of Abner’s men. In this bloody civil war, David’s forces grow stronger and stronger.


God of peace, protect us from war with our own brothers and sisters.

Dr. Gary Holloway is guest writing for The Journey Bible Project Blog.Dr. Gary Holloway is guest writing for The Journey Bible Project Blog.


Gary Holloway is Executive Director of the World Convention. Holding degrees from Freed-Hardeman, Harding, The University of Texas, and Emory University, he has written or edited thirty books, including (with Douglas Foster) Renewing God’s World: A Concise Global History of the Stone-Campbell Movement from ACU Press. He is married to Deb Rogers Holloway. 


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