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READING: 2 Samuel 3-4 – David’s Days of Patient Leadership

“There was a long war between Saul’s house and David; David grew stronger, while Saul’s house weakened.” 

During David’s Hebron years, he had six sons, with six mothers, wives and concubines. During this time, David began foreign relations; one wife was the daughter of King Talmai of Geshur.  

Abner, commander of Saul’s army who made Ish-bosheth Israel’s King strengthened himself in Saul’s house. He took Saul’s concubine; Ish-bosheth did not approve, asking, “Why have you gone into my father’s concubine?” One way of showing power was to take a concubine of a king. Abner was angered by this, “I keep showing loyalty to your father; I have not given you to David – and you charge me with a crime concerning this woman? What God swore to David, I will do by transferring the kingdom to David.”  

Abner sent a message to David; “Make a covenant with me and I will bring all Israel to you.” David replied, “I will covenant with you if you bring my wife Michal when you come to me.” Then he sent messengers to Ish-bosheth to say, “Give me my wife Michal.” In those days, women were political pawns. 

Abner sent messengers to elders of Israel saying, “You want David to be your king. Now bring it about.” He spoke to Saul’s tribe directly and went to tell David what Israel, including Benjamin, were ready to do. When Abner came, David made a feast of peace with Abner, who left in peace.  

Joab was not present. He returned and asked David, “What have you done? Abner came and you let him go? He came to deceive you and learn all you do.” He sent messengers who brought Abner back. Joab took him aside privately and stabbed him in the stomach. Abner died for killing Joab’s brother, Asahel. David said, “I and my kingdom are guiltless for Abner’s death. May the guilt fall on Joab.” He commanded Joab to mourn for Abner. This pleased all the people. 

When Ish-bosheth heard Abner has died, “His courage failed.” Two brothers crept into Ish-bosheth’s bedroom while he took a mid-day nap, attacked him, and cut off his head. They brought it to David, who said, “When one who told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ thought he was bringing good news, I killed him at Ziklag. How much more when wicked men kill a righteous man on his bed! Shall I not require his blood at your hands?”  

David handled everything in a way that pleased Israel. He was not guilty for the death of Abner nor for the death of Ish-bosheth. They buried the head of Ish-bosheth in the tomb of Abner. 

David was patient in waiting for God to give him the kingdom He had promised. While some around David acted as fools, David handled things, so the people were pleased with him.  

Patience can also help us, if we wait on the LORD. 

Have you found having patience helps or hurts in the situations of your life? 



Lord, help me to be as patient as David was as his strength grew while the strength of Ish-bosheth weakened. Ish-bosheth’s courage failed when he knew Abner was dead. While my circumstances are not like those of David and Ish-bosheth, patience is still necessary. Please help me to be more patient, is my prayer, in His Name, AMEN. 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself) 

Father, my prayer for those who read this devotional is that they have David’s patience in setting up his kingdom over all Israel. He knew God was with him, so he could be patient, instead of rushing ahead. It was 7 ½ years as King in Judah before he was king over all of Israel. Teach us how to be patient, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus, AMEN. 

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