"When Joab came from seeing David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah: but David did not know it. And when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside to the center of the gate to speak to him privately, and there he smote Abner in the abdomen, so that he died to avenge the blood of Asahel, Joab's brother."
II Samuel 3: 26, 28, Amplified Bible
"I'll Get Even"
"Revenge is the most worthless weapon in the world."
Have I ever been injured in a situation only to determine that later I'd try to "get even"?
Why do I believe the Bible instructs us not to take revenge against others?
"Revenge, at first though sweet-- bitter ere long, back on itself recoils."
"If possible, live at peace with everyone. Beloved, never avenge yourselves...if your enemy is hungry, feed (her); if (she) is thirsty, give (her) drink; for by so doing you will heap coals upon (her) head."
Romans 12: 18-20, Amplified Bible
There are several words you can use to describe II Samuel, Chapters 2, 3 and 4. One word would certainly be "gory." The brutal behavior shown by the team of men surrounding David was over-the-top.
First, Abner, the head of Saul's army, who was acquainted with fierce fighting and the blood of battle, thought he had scored enough points with David to last a lifetime when he defected from Saul's family rulership to David's. Thrilled by this accomplishment, after bringing the news to David and receiving his affirmation, we find in II Samuel 3: 22, Abner left David in peace. We could assume that in the words of the Apostle Paul, Abner was trying to live peaceably with everyone.
But when Joab, who was the son of Zeruiah (the half sister of David), arrived at the camp as a leader in David's army, he wasn't pleased at all with what had transpired between Abner and his uncle David. He even accused Abner of playing David as naive. His exact words were, "What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you...you know that Abner son of Ner came to deceive you and to know your going out and coming in and all you are doing"(II Samuel 3: 23-25 Amplified Bible).
Actually, Joab and Abner had a bitter history. Abner had killed Joab's brother, Asahel, and Joab never forgot this act. In fact, he vowed revenge and now was the moment to strike.
As soon as Joab left David's presence, he sent messengers to bring Abner back to him and he lured Abner to a private place to speak with him. Instead, though, Joab let a weapon do his talking and "smote Abner in the abdomen." But here's the line that should send shivers down our spines. Joab took this violent action to, "avenge the blood of Asahel." (II Samuel 3: 27 Amplified Bible).
Strange thing is, this violence didn't bring his brother back. And further, it infuriated David who had no knowledge this brutal event was taking place. David was so upset he proclaimed, "I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord forever of the blood of Abner son of Ner. Let it fall on the head of Joab and all his father's house" (II Samuel 3: 28, 29 Amplified Bible).
These events remind me of the saying, "Live by the sword, die by the sword." You can add, "Live by the sword, gun, knife or any other weapon and you might very well die by it." As we will continue to find out in the Bible, brutality breeds brutality. Just remember, it was the rash act of David who first demanded of his soldiers that they strap on their swords when he was insulted by Nabal. If a woman hadn't intervened, even David admitted there may well have been a slaughter.
And this is what happened to Abner. He killed Joab's brother and in turn he was murdered, too. Sounds like gang warfare. You kill one of mine, I'll kill one of yours.
Don't think or say that this was the way things happened in the Old Testament. It didn't have to be like this. We find that by the time David's son, Solomon, came along, he'd seen enough bloodshed and in Proverbs gave this advice about dealing with your enemies. "If your enemy is hungry, give him (her) bread to eat; and if he (she) is thirsty, give him (her) water to drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord will reward you" (Proverbs 25: 21, 22). If these words sound familiar, they should. A similar piece of advice was spoken by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5: 38-45, when Jesus instructs us to turn the other cheek and to love our enemies.
And just to be clear, when the Apostle Paul and Solomon referred to "heaping coals of fire on our enemies' heads," this wasn't advising us to burn someone. As The Message Bible so beautifully states, when we are kind to an enemy, our "generosity will surprise them with goodness." I even love the background given by Jon Courson's commentary: "In Paul's day, when a fire went out in a home, it was difficult to reignite it. Therefore, if someone's fire went out, ‘the women' would carry live coals in clay jars upon their heads to share with the person who had no fire. Thus, the implication here was not of burning one's enemy, but of warming (them) in order to ultimately win (them) to the kingdom." (Jon Courson's Application Commentary).
Now girls, I have this mental picture of all God's daughters around the world following the example of Abigail the peace-maker and carrying and sharing warm coals that will heat up dark hearts, depressed hearts, and hurting hearts - bringing God's light and radiance into all of them. And if we as women became "coal bearers" or "light bearers," I believe the results would be that the swords would come off, the guns would be laid down and there would not be Abners and Joabs taking revenge and spilling blood.
I love the idea of God's girls being coal bearing heart warmers, don't you!?! In the words of Ralph Wright: "Anoint the wounds of (our) spirit with the balm of forgiveness, pour the oil of Your calm on the waters of (our) hearts."
"Everything you do in revenge against a brother (or sister) who has harmed you will come back to your mind at the time of prayer."
"Lord, this is what went wrong...I give it all to You, every detail, every barb, every frustration, the major things and the petty things.
May the pain I am feeling bring healing, and not a spring of bitterness. May my hurts be Christ-centered, and for those involved, rather than self-centered and against them."
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus is available where Christian books are sold. They can also be purchased through Paypal at www.transformationgarden.com or by calling our office toll-free at 1-888-397-4348.
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