The son of Ner, Saul's uncle, and the general of his armies, 1Sa 14:50. For seven years after Saul's death, he supported Ish-bosheth; but being reproved by him for his conduct towards Rizpah, he undertook to unite the whole kingdom under David. He was, however, treacherously slain by Joab, either to revenge the death of Asahel, Joab's brother, who Abner had formerly killed, or more probably from jealousy. David abhorred this perfidious act, and composed an elegy on his death, 2Sa 2:8; 3:33. He also charged Solomon to punish the crime of Joab with death,
father of light; i.e., "enlightening", the son of Ner and uncle of Saul. He was commander-in-chief of Saul's army (1Sa 14:50; 17:55; 20:25). He first introduced David to the court of Saul after the victory over Goliath (1Sa 17:57). After the death of Saul, David was made king over Judah, and reigned in Hebron. Among the other tribes there was a feeling of hostility to Judah; and Abner, at the head of Ephraim, fostered this hostility in the interest of the house of Saul, whose son Ish-bosheth he caused to be proclaimed king (2Sa 2:8). A state of war existed between these two kings. A battle fatal to Abner, who was the leader of Ish-boseth's army, was fought with David's army under Joab at Gibeon (2Sa 2:12). Abner, escaping from the field, was overtaken by Asahel, who was "light of foot as a wild roe," the brother of Joab and Abishai, whom he thrust through with a back stroke of his spear (2Sa 2:18-32).
Being rebuked by Ish-bosheth for the impropriety of taking to wife Rizpah, who had been a concubine of King Saul, he found an excuse for going over to the side of David, whom he now professed to regard as anointed by the Lord to reign over all Israel. David received him favourably, and promised that he would have command of the armies. At this time Joab was absent from Hebron, but on his return he found what had happened. Abner had just left the city; but Joab by a stratagem recalled him, and meeting him at the gate of the city on his return, thrust him through with his sword (2Sa 3:27,31-39; 4:12. Comp. 1Ki 2:5,32). David lamented in pathetic words the death of Abner, "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?" (2Sa 3:33-38.)
("father of light".) Son of Ner, who was the brother of Kish, the father of Saul (1Ch 9:36). Made commander in chief by his cousin Saul. Introduced David to Saul, after Goliath's death (1Sa 14:51; 17:55,57). With Saul at Hachilah (1Sa 26:8-14). At Saul's death he upheld the dynasty in Ishbosheth's person, mainly owing to the paramount influence of the tribe Ephraim, which was jealous of Judah. While David reigned over Judah as God's anointed, at Hebron, Ishbosheth professedly, but Abner really, reigned in Mahanaim beyond Jordan. In 2Sa 2:10 Ishbosheth is said to have reigned for two years, but David for seven. Probably for the first five years after the fatal battle of Gilboa David alone reigned in the old capital of Judah, Hebron; but the rest of the country was in the Philistines' hands. During these five years Israel gradually regained their country, and at length Abner proclaimed Ishbosheth at Mahanaim beyond Jordan, for security against the Philistines: 2Sa 2:5-7 confirms this.
David's thanks to the men of Jabesh Gilead for the burial of Saul and his sons imply that no prince of Saul's line as yet had claimed the throne. His exhortation, "Be valiant," refers to the struggle with the Philistines, who alone stood in the way of his reign over all Israel. Ishbosbeth's known weakness, which accounts for his absence from the battle of Gilboa, suited well Abner's ambition. At Gibeon Abner's army was beaten by Joab's; and in fleeing Abner, having tried to deter Asahel, Joab's brother, from following him (since Abner shrank from a blood feud with Joab), but in vain, was at last constrained in self defense to slay him (2 Samuel 2). Abner, presuming on his position as the only remaining stay of Ishbosbeth, was tempted to take the late king Saul's concubine wife, Rizpah. This act, involving in oriental idea the suspicion of usurping the succession to the throne (so in the case of Absalom: 2Sa 16:21; 20:3; 1Ki 2:13-25; (See ABIATHAR, (See ADONIJAH, and (See ABISHAG), called forth a rebuke from even so feeble a person as the nominal king, Ishbosheth.
Henceforth, in consequence of the rebuke, Abner set about bringing the northern ten tribes to David's sway. Received favorably and feasted by David, after his wife Michal was taken from Phaltiel and restored to him, Abner went forth from Hebron in peace. But Joab, by a message, brought him back from the well of Sirah, and, taking him aside to speak peaceably, murdered him, Abishai also being an accomplice, for the blood of Asahel (Nu 35:19; 2Sa 3:30,39), and on Joab's part also, as appears likely from Amasa's case, from fear of Abner's becoming a rival in the chief command (2Sa 20:4-10). David felt the sons of Zeruiah too strong for him to punish their crime; but, leaving their punishment to the Lord, he showed every honor to Abner's memory by following the bier, and composing this dirge:
Ought Abner to die as a villain dies?
Thy hands not bound,
Thy feet not brought into fetters,
As one falls before the sons of wickedness, so fellest thou!"
The second and third lines are connected with the last, describing the state in which he was when slain. In form, the subject in such propositions comes first, the verb generally becoming a participle. Indignation preponderates over sorrow; the point of the dirge is the mode of Abner's death. If Abner had been really slain in revenge for blood, as Joab asserted, he ought to have been delivered up "bound hand and foot." But Joab, instead of waiting for his being delivered up with the legal formalities to the authorized penalty (if he were really guilty, which he was not), as an assassin, stabbed him as a worthless fellow (1Ki 2:5). David added that he felt himself, though a king, weakened by his loss, and that "a prince and great man had fallen."
Saul's cousin (1Sa 9:1; 14:51) and commander-in-chief (1Sa 17:55; 26:5). He set Ish-bosheth on his father's throne, and fought long and bravely against David's general, Joab (2Sa 2). After a severe defeat, he killed Asabel in self-defence (2Sa 2:23). He behaved arrogantly towards the puppet-king, especially in taking possession of one of Saul's concubines (2Sa 3:7). Resenting bitterly the remonstrances of Ish-bosheth, he entered into negotiations with David (2Sa 3:8-12), and then, on David's behalf, with the elders of Israel (2Sa 3:17). Dreading the loss of his own position, and thirsting for revenge, Joab murdered him at Hebron (2Sa 3:26 f.). David gave him a public funeral, dissociated himself from Joab's act (2Sa 3:31-37), and afterwards charged Solomon to avenge it (1Ki 2:5). Abner was destitute of all lofty ideas of morality or religion (2Sa 3:8,16), but was the only capable person on the side of Saul's family.
The Son of Ner, Saul's uncle; Abner was consequently Saul's cousin. 1Sa 14:51. He was Saul's 'captain of the host' when David slew Goliath, and he presented David to Saul. 1Sa 17:55,57. He was with Saul when David took away the spear and cruse of water while they slept: for which David reproached him, saying he was worthy of death because he had not more faithfully guarded his master. 1Sa 26:5-16. After the death of Saul (apparently about 5 years after) Abner made Ish-bosheth king over Israel; but this did not include Judah over which David was king. 2Sa 2:8-10. In one of the conflicts between the two houses Abner was overcome, and Asahel, Joab's brother, 'light of foot as a wild roe,' pursued Abner. Abner cautioned him twice, and then slew him. 2Sa 2:17-23. This act of self-defence was afterwards made the plea for Abner's death. Saul had had a concubine named Rizpah, and this woman Abner took; for which he was reproached by Ish-bosheth (who probably thought it was a prelude to his seizing the kingdom). This so incensed Abner that he revolted from his master and made overtures to David. David demanded that Abner should bring with him Michal, Saul's daughter, David's former wife. This he accomplished, and he and the men with him were well received by David, who made a feast for them. But Joab, who was absent, was angry when he heard of it, probably jealous lest the command of the army should be divided between himself and Abner. He sent messengers for Abner's return, and then, under the pretence of privately communing with him, smote him, professedly to avenge the death of his brother Asahel. David was much grieved at this murder, and followed the bier and fasted till the sun went down. He rehearsed on the occasion the following dirge:
Died Abner as a fool dieth?
Thy hands were not bound,
Nor thy feet put into fetters:
As a man falleth before wicked men so fellest thou."
David further said that in Abner's death a prince and a great man had fallen, and that Jehovah would avenge his death. This last was accomplished, according to David's dying injunction, by the direction of King Solomon, and Joab was slain by Benaiah. Yet doubtless the holy government of God was fulfilled in the death of Abner. Personal pique turned him round to David, and yet he knew well, while upholding the house of Saul, that David was God's anointed king.
(father of light).
1. Son of Ner, who was the brother of Kish,
the father of Saul. (B.C. 1063.) Abner, therefore, was Saul's first cousin, and was made by him commander-in-chief of his army.
After the death of Saul David was proclaimed king of Judah; and some time subsequently Abner proclaimed Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, king of Israel. War soon broke out between the two rival kings, and a "very sore battle" was fought at Gibeon between the men of Israel under Abner and the men of Judah under Joab.
Abner had married Rizpah, Saul's concubine, and this, according to the views of Oriental courts, might be so interpreted as to imply a design upon the throne. Rightly or wrongly, Ish-bosheth so understood it, and he even ventured to reproach Abner with it. Abner, incensed at his ingratitude, opened negotiations with David, by whom he was most favorably received at Hebron. He then undertook to procure his recognition throughout Israel; but after leaving his presence for the purpose was enticed back by Joab, and treacherously murdered by him and his brother Abishai, at the gate of the city, partly, no doubt, from fear lest so distinguished a convert to their cause should gain too high a place in David's favor, but ostensibly in retaliation for the death of Asahel. David in sorrow and indignation, poured forth a simple dirge over the slain hero.
2. The father of Jaasiel, chief of the Benjamites in David's reign,
probably the same as the preceding.
ABNER was the uncle of king Saul, and the general of his army. After Saul's death, he made Ishbosheth king; and for seven years supported the family of Saul, in opposition to David; but in most of his skirmishes came off with loss. While Ishbosheth's and David's troops lay near each other, hard by Gibeon, Abner challenged Joab to select twelve of David's warriors to fight with an equal number of his. Joab consented: the twenty- four engaged; and fell together on the spot. A fierce battle ensued, in which Abner and his troops were routed. Abner himself was hotly pursued by Asahel, whom he killed by a back stroke of his spear. Still he was followed by Joab and Abishai, till he, who in the morning sported with murder, was obliged at even to entreat that Joab would stay his troops from the effusion of blood, 2 Samuel 2.
Not long after, Abner, taking it highly amiss for Ishbosheth to charge him with lewd behaviour toward Rizpah, Saul's concubine, vowed that he would quickly transfer the whole kingdom into the hands of David. He therefore commenced a correspondence with David, and had an interview with him at Hebron. Abner had just left the feast at which David had entertained him, when Joab, informed of the matter, warmly remonstrated, asserting, that Abner had come as a spy. On his own authority he sent a messenger to invite him back, to have some farther communication with the king; and when Abner was come into Joab's presence, the latter, partly from jealousy lest Abner might become his superior, and partly to revenge his brother Asahel's death, mortally stabbed him in the act of salutation. David, to show how heartily he detested the act, honoured Abner with a splendid funeral, and composed an elegy on his death, 2 Samuel 3.