About-Face not Retreat
2 Samuel 2:24-32
Verse 26 Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?”
We learned yesterday that Asahel could run fast and we were so busy talking about his pursuit of Abner that we may have forgotten that the man’s brothers, Joab and Abishai, were also chasing Abner and his men. These brothers weren’t as swift as Asahel but they were not far enough behind that they missed the scene of their brother being killed by Ish-Bosheth’s general.
What a horrible sight to have play out in front of them and it only made them want to pursue Abner more. This man had proven himself to be fighting against God and now had taken their beloved brother. He had to be stopped! So they continued the pursuit which was heading east towards the city of Mahanaim where Ish-Bosheth reigned.
After pursuing him most of the day, the sun was starting to go down behind them and Abner turns to address them. “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness?” This sounds kind of hypocritical from the man who started the hand to hand battle between the two portions of the nation only hours before. Abner now realizes that his life is in danger because of what he just did to their brother.
As strange as those words from Abner may have seemed, Joab takes them to heart and has the horn blown to end the pursuit. And just like that Joab and David’s men are ready to head back. Abner and the men of Israel marched home across the Jordan River. As the warriors started home it was time to count off and see how many were missing. David’s men had lost 20 including Asahel. But David’s men killed 360 Benjamites who had come out to help Abner. Add to that the 12 men each side had lost in the hand to hand combat earlier at the pool.
Joab and his brother, Abishai, had a stop to make on the way back to Hebron and David. After stopping at the place where their brother lay, they took him home for burial. They were coming home in a funeral march for a beloved brother.
Making It Personal
When you are upset how easily do you calm down? Are there ever good reasons to be upset? How do you deal with grief?
Making It Personal Kids
Do you get mad easily? How do you calm down when you are upset? What kind of things make you upset?
Father, thank You for this reminder that there are times where we need to step back from being upset and walk away so that we don’t mar Your name. Give us wisdom in dealing with our emotions. In Jesus’ name, amen.