And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)To Gibeon.—Gibeon, in the territory of Benjamin, had become noted in the original conquest of the land as the only city which succeeded, though by craft, in making a league with the conquerors (Joshua 9). It was five and a half miles north-west from Jerusalem, and at a long distance both from Mahanaim and from Hebron. Here the generals of the rival monarchs met, possibly by design, but more likely each engaged in the effort to extend their respective masters’ sway over the tribe of Benjamin.2 Samuel 2:12-13. Abner and the servants of Ish-bosheth went out to Gibeon — They passed over Jordan into the country of Benjamin, where Gibeon was, (Joshua 18:25,) to fight with Judah, and to bring them into subjection to Saul’s son. It ought to be remarked, that David did not begin any hostility, but waited to see how God would dispose of things in his favour. And Joab and the servants of David went out — To oppose the designs of the Israelites, Joab being the chief commander of David’s forces. And met together by the pool of Gibeon — Where the two opposite armies put themselves in a posture for battle.2 Samuel 2:12-13 is a technical phrase for going out to war 1 Samuel 18:30. The servants of Ish-bosheth, i.e. his officers and commanders, and their army.
To Gibeon, in the country of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25, near Judah, to fight with David’s army, and to bring back the rest of the kingdom to Saul’s house.
and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul; who seem to be not only his domestic servants, that waited upon him, or his courtiers, but his whole army by what follows:
went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon; came from the city on the other side Jordan, where perhaps they had been two years past, concerting schemes to bring all Israel under the government of Ishbosheth; in which they had succeeded, only Judah stood out with David; and in order to reduce that tribe, they passed over Jordan and came to Gibeon, a city in Benjamin. See Joshua 18:25.And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. went out] The technical expression for going to war. Cp. 1 Samuel 18:30. After establishing Ish-bosheth’s power over all Israel, Abner turned his arms against Judah, and marched with his army from Ish-bosheth’s capital, Mahanaim, to Gibeon, where David’s army under the command of Joab met him.
to Gibeon] The site of Gibeon (=belonging to, or built on, a hill) is fixed with certainty on a rounded hill five miles N.W. of Jerusalem, which still bears the name El-Jib. Gibeon was the largest of the four cities of the Hivites (Joshua 10:2), famous for the stratagem by which its inhabitants procured a treaty from Joshua (Joshua 9:3 ff.). It was in the territory of Benjamin (Joshua 18:25), and specially assigned to the priests (Joshua 21:17). Here Amasa met his death by the treacherous hand of Joab (2 Samuel 20:5-10). It gained its chief importance in the reigns of David and Solomon, as the great centre of worship at which the Tabernacle and the Altar of Burnt-offering were set up before the building of the Temple (2 Chronicles 1:3; 2 Chronicles 1:5), at which Solomon celebrated his accession with solemn sacrifices, and God appeared to him in vision (1 Kings 3:4-15).Verse 12. - Abner... went out. This is a further proof of considerable success on Abner's side. Encouraged by the result of numerous skirmishes with the Philistines, and the gradual restoration of the king's authority in Ephraim and Benjamin, Abner determined to make the attempt to win back Judah also. There David had been content with protecting Judah, and establishing good order; and, following his constant custom, had taken no steps to obtain for himself the kingdom "over all Israel." The war was of Abner's choosing, and shows him to us in the character of an able but ambitious and restless man. Exodus 34:6, as the two sides by which the goodness of God is manifested to men, namely in His forgiving grace, and in His trustworthiness, or the fulfilment of His promises (vid., Psalm 25:10). "And I also show you this good," namely the prayer for the blessing of God (2 Samuel 2:5), because ye have done this (to Saul). In 2 Samuel 2:7 there is attached to this the demand, that now that Saul their lord was dead, and the Judaeans had anointed him (David) king, they would show themselves valiant, namely valiant in their reverence and fidelity towards David, who had become their king since the death of Saul. ידיכם תּחזקנה, i.e., be comforted, spirited (cf. Judges 7:11). It needed some resolution and courage to recognise David as king, because Saul's army had fled to Gilead, and there was good ground for apprehending opposition to David on the part of Abner. Ishbosheth, however, does not appear to have been proclaimed king yet; or at any rate the fact was not yet known to David. וגם does not belong to אתי, but to the whole clause, as אתי is placed first merely for the sake of emphasis.
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