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Haftarah-Vayechi-Reading the Text-David and Yoav I-Abner Part Four Print E-mail

Prophets-Bible-Study-Haftarah-Vayechi-David-SolomonIn our journey of “Balance,” “David, Yoav & Abner I,” “Part Two,” and, “Part Three,” we’ve been studying David’s opening charge to Solomon urging him to balance his dual roles as person and king (Be a Man). We have watched as Joab battles the king’s sense of balance, and how he was willing to place his desires above the stability of the kingdom and God’s expressed will. We left off with David refusing to allow himself to stop Joab, because he is struggling to maintain balance between his drive for action and God’s Providence, especially when it is clear that it is God Who is guiding these major events.

 

Let’s return to the Abner-Joab story to discover what David learns about this issue:

Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into an inner chamber, as if to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died.

Later, when David heard about this, he said, ‘I and my kingdom are forever innocent before God concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food. (22-29)

“Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon (30).”

Why is David not angry with Abishai?

“Then the king said to his men, ‘Do you not realize that a commander and a great man has fallen in Israel this day? And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May God repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds’ (38-39).”

As Abner had done to Ish-Bosheth, Joab did to David: Ish-Bosheth, “did not dare to say another word to Abner, because he was afraid of him,” he was so weak that, not only did he not dare to say another word, he actually helps Abner’s plan to support David; “So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish!”

David makes a public declaration, even after saying, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before God concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food,” that, “today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May God repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds,” I am weak!

Joab made David appear weak, so much so, that even when David publicly curses Joab, “May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food,” and, “May God repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds,” David’s reliance on God to exact retribution is perceived as a sign of weakness. Was that balance?

If the issue was David’s political weakness; no. However, David is not speaking of his inability to directly deal with Joab; he is speaking, in deep and honest self-reflection, of his self-doubt: Did he hesitate to confront Joab because he believed that God would deal with things, or, did his political weakness cause him to use the Divine Providence argument as an excuse to avoid a confrontation?

There is no balance without such honest introspection, and, it is only the balanced David who can be so honest.

This is one of the most important lessons he can convey to his son, Solomon, one that Solomon will repeat in the fourth chapter of Proverbs. See: “Receiving the Transmission,” and “Judgment Calls.”

We can now turn to the next assassination mentioned by David to Solomon, that of Amasa:

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