2 Samuel 3:27: “Now when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him privately, and there stabbed him in the stomach, so that he died for the blood of Asahel his brother.”

December 8th, 2016 by Pastor Ed in devotional

David’s general, Joab, carefully engineered the revenge killing of Abner so that it took place just outside the city gate of Hebron. Why was it important to be outside the city gate? Because Joab was acting as the “avenger of blood” for his brother Asahel, who had been killed by Abner. Hebron was declared a City of Refuge back in Joshua 20:7, so Joab could not kill Abner inside the city walls without being guilty of murder. Technically he had avenged his younger brother’s death, as required by law; however, this made Joab’s act all the more treacherous because he understood that Abner had a rightful claim of self-defense, and that he probably would have been found not guilty by the elders of the city of Hebron.

We see that Joab carefully killed Abner in the same manner that Abner had killed his brother, a lethal stomach wound. But we cannot escape the glaring difference between these two killings. Abner struck Asahel in self-defense, whereas Joab murdered Abner for revenge. David was repulsed by the whole matter but was unable to legally do anything to correct the wrong, except call for mourning for the death of this fallen warrior.¬†Again the people saw that David was a different sort of king than Saul had been. Here was a man of honor and dignity, a man after God’s own heart. The LORD would have us be men and women of honor in our daily walk before this struggling world.

“LORD help us to choose the higher good, the better way, the more honorable action today as we walk with You. May others see Your life flowing through us as we serve, choosing to be others-centered this day.”