2 Samuel 3:34
Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put into fetters: as a man falls before wicked men, so fell you. And all the people wept again over him.
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(34) Thy hands were not bound.—The people were moved greatly by the sight of David’s sorrow, but still more by this brief elegy over Abner. The whole circumstances are summed up in a few pregnant words: Abner, so valiant in war, with his hands free for defence, with his feet unfettered, unsuspicious of evil, fell by the treacherous act of a wicked man.

3:22-39 Judgments are prepared for such scorners as Abner; but Joab, in what he did, acted wickedly. David laid Abner's murder deeply to heart, and in many ways expressed his detestation of it. The guilt of blood brings a curse upon families: if men do not avenge it, God will. It is a sad thing to die like a fool, as they do that any way shorten their own days, and those who make no provision for another world. Who would be fond of power, when a man may have the name of it, and must be accountable for it, yet is hampered in the use of it? David ought to have done his duty, and then trusted God with the issue. Carnal policy spared Joab. The Son of David may long delay, but never fails to punish impenitent sinners. He who now reigns upon the throne of David, has a kingdom of a nobler kind. Whatever He doeth, is noticed by all his willing people, and is pleasing to them.Thy hands were not bound ... - This thought prepares the way for the solution; Abner had been treacherously murdered by wicked men. 33, 34. the king lamented over Abner—This brief elegy is an effusion of indignation as much as of sorrow. As Abner had stabbed Asahel in open war [2Sa 2:23], Joab had not the right of the Goel. Besides, he had adopted a lawless and execrable method of obtaining satisfaction (see on [258]1Ki 2:5). The deed was an insult to the authority, as well as most damaging to the prospects of the king. But David's feelings and conduct on hearing of the death, together with the whole character and accompaniments of the funeral solemnity, tended not only to remove all suspicion of guilt from him, but even to turn the tide of popular opinion in his favor, and to pave the way for his reigning over all the tribes more honorably than by the treacherous negotiations of Abner. Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters; thou didst not tamely yield up thyself to Joab, as his prisoner, to be bound hand and foot, at his pleasure. Joab did not overcome thee generously and honourably in an equal combat, nor durst he attempt thee in that way, as a general or soldier of any worth would have done.

Before wicked men; or, before, i. e. in the presence or by the hands of froward, or perverse, or crooked men, by hypocrisy and perfidiousness, whereby the vilest coward may kill the most valiant person. Thus he reproached Joab to his very face, before all the people; which was a great evidence of his own innocency herein; because otherwise Joab, being so powerful, and proud, and petulant to his sovereign, would never have taken the shame and blame of it wholly to himself, as he did. Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters,.... As malefactors are when they are taken up for any crime, and especially when proved upon them, and condemned for it, and brought forth to be executed. This was not his case, and had he been aware of the design against him, as his hands and feet were at liberty, he might have defended himself; or if he found he had too many to deal with, might have made use of his feet and fled:

as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou; as a man being before bloodthirsty and deceitful men, falls before them, through treachery and deceit, privately and unawares, so fell Abner before Joab and Abishai; this David said in the presence of Joab, and before all the people, to declare the plain fact how it was, to express his detestation of it, and to show he had no hand in it; and Joab must be an hardened creature to stand at the grave of Abner, and hear all this, and not be affected with it:

and all the people wept again over him; over Abner, being laid in his grave; they had wept before, but hearing this funeral oration delivered by the king in such moving language, and in such a mournful tone, it drew tears afresh from them.

Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him.
34. Thy hands, &c.] Two explanations of these words seem possible; either (1) Thou hadst not committed any crime to deserve a malefactor’s punishment, but wast causelessly murdered by treacherous enemies: or (2) How was it that thou wast slain while thy hands were at liberty to defend thyself, thy feet free to escape by flight? It was because thou wast attacked unsuspectingly by treacherous enemies. In the first case “fool” in 2 Samuel 3:33 is equivalent to “miscreant.” It is a term which frequently in the O.T. implies moral worthlessness, wickedness. Cp. Psalm 14:1. The Targum here renders it “the wicked.” In the second case it means “an ignoble churl who cannot defend himself.”Verse 34. - Thy hands were not bound. Abner had been put to death by Joab for killing Asahel. But there had been no legal process. He had not been brought in fetters before a judge to be tried for the crime alleged, but murdered for private ends. And thus, "As a man falleth before the children of iniquity, so had he fallen," that is, by crime, and not by law. These words s re probably the refrain of the dirge, like those in 2 Samuel 1:19, 25, 27, and were followed by the celebration of Abner's bravery, but they alone are recorded, because they contain the main point. Abner's death was not, like the sentence upon Baanah and Rechab, an act of justice, but one of lawless revenge; and by this poem David proclaimed, not only his innocence, but also his abhorrence of the crime. When David heard this, he said, "I and my kingdom are innocent before Jehovah for ever of the blood of Abner. Let it turn (חוּל, to twist one's self, to turn or fall, irruit) upon the head of Joab and all his father's house (or so-called family)! Never shall there be wanting (יכּרת אל, let there not be cut off, so that there shall not be, as in Joshua 9:23) in the house of Joab one that hath an issue (vid., Leviticus 15:2), and a leper, and one who leans upon a stick (i.e., a lame person or cripple; פּלך, according to the lxx σκυτάλη, a thick round staff), and who falls by the sword, and who is in want of bread," The meaning is: May God avenge the murder of Abner upon Joab and his family, by punishing them continually with terrible diseases, violent death, and poverty. To make the reason for this fearful curse perfectly clear, the historian observes in 2 Samuel 3:30, that Joab and his brother Abishai had murdered Abner, "because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle" (2 Samuel 2:23). This act of Joab, in which Abishai must have been in some way concerned, was a treacherous act of assassination, which could not even be defended as blood-revenge, since Abner had slain Asahel in battle after repeated warnings, and only for the purpose of saving his own life. The principal motive for Joab's act was the most contemptible jealousy, or the fear lest Abner's reconciliation to David should diminish his own influence with the king, as was the case again at a later period with the murder of Amasa (2 Samuel 20:10).
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