2 Samuel 3:38
And the king said to his servants, Know you not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?
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2 Samuel 3:38. The king said unto his servants — Who perhaps were not sensible enough of this loss, or thought he bewailed it too much; Know ye not that there is a prince, &c., fallen this day in Israel? — He bids them consider Abner’s birth and his power, his authority and his valour, with all his other excellent qualities, and they would not think it strange that he mourned so much for him.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.To eat meat ... - Fasting was a sign of the deepest mourning 2 Samuel 1:12. The fast lasted until the sun was set. 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. A great man, both for his illustrious quality, and for his high courage and wise conduct; and especially now for his great usefulness and serviceableness to me in giving me the entire and peaceable possession of all Israel. But still observe David’s prudence and piety, that he doth not commend him for his virtues and graces, as men of vendible consciences and tongues use to do upon funeral occasions; but only for the kind of worth which was really in him. Compare 2 Samuel 1:23. And the king said unto his servants,.... His courtiers, giving a reason why he mourned as he did; or "had said" (w), and so is a reason why the people concluded, and were fully satisfied, he had no hand in his death; but the first is best, because what follows was said not to the people at the grave, but to his servants at court:

know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? a "prince", being of the royal family, his father was Saul's uncle, and he his own cousin; a "great" man, being general of the army, a very valiant and skilful commander, a man of great wisdom and parts. David says nothing of his grace and virtue, only of his grandeur, his high birth and civil excellencies; he praises him in what he was commendable, and proceeds no further; and this was sufficient to show there was just cause of mourning on civil accounts; and this they might easily know and perceive, that the fall or death of such a man, which had that day happened in Israel, was a public loss, and matter of lamentation; and the rather as he was employing all his excellent talents in civil affairs, and all his interest in the people of Israel, to unite them to Judah, and bring them under the government of David.

(w) "nam dixerat", Junius & Tremellius.

And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?
38, 39. To his confidential servants David speaks his whole mind freely. He feels that some apology is needed for leaving the authors of this heinous crime unpunished. As an excuse for doing so he pleads his youth and weakness. Though he had been anointed king, his kingdom was as yet far from being securely established. He could not dispense with his warlike nephews’ help. He dared not order the execution of his best general. Probably the army would have interfered to prevent it. But he protests against their hardness and cruelty, and declares that Joab will not escape the divine judgment for his crime. “It was one of those moments in which a king, even with the best intentions, must feel to his own heavy cost the weakness of everything human and the limits of human supremacy.” Ewald, Hist of Israel, III. 117.

weak] The same epithet is applied to Solomon in 1 Chronicles 29:1, and to Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles 13:7 (E. V. tender).Verse 38. - A prince and a great man. David pronounces this high estimate of Abner's worth to his servants, that is, to his officers, and especially to the six hundred mighty men. His conduct is bold and open, and must have greatly humiliated Joab and Abishai. But though the six hundred approved of David's conduct, and respected him for it, yet probably, as Abner had killed Asahel, they would not have consented to any further punishment than the disgrace inflicted on Joab by his being deprived of the command of David's warriors. Thus they buried Abner at Hebron; and David wept aloud at his grave, and all the people with him.
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