2 Samuel 3

Talks for Growing Christians

Abner Shifts Loyalty to David and is Killed by Joab

2 Samuel 3

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Lesson Number 3

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. He who sows to the flesh will reap destruction.
  2. The wrath of man shall praise God.

Practical Application

  1. Hope that the sermon text at your funeral is in context.


  1. Who was Abner? Who was Joab? Why did these men vehemently hate each other?
  2. Why did Abner switch his loyalty from Ishbosheth to David?
  3. How do we see the biblical truth of Galatians 6:8 illustrated in this chapter?
  4. How did the conflict between Abner and Joab end?
  5. What was David’s response to the death of Abner?
  6. “The wrath of man shall praise God.” How does this chapter illustrate our doctrinal point?


  1. Abner was the commander of Saul’s army. Joab was the commander of David’s army. Joab’s brother Asahel was pursuing Abner in the woods, when Abner turned and killed him with the blunt end of a spear.
  2. Ishbosheth accused Abner of going in to one of Saul’s former concubines. Whether it was true or not, Abner denied this charge of treason. He then began to do all in his power to unite the kingdom under David.
  3. God’s Word had clearly stated that kings were not to practice polygamy (Deuteronomy 17:17). David disobeyed God’s Law and sowed to the flesh by taking numerous wives and concubines. As a result there was heartache after heartache in David’s life and reign.
  4. When Joab heard that David was making a deal with Abner he felt angry and threatened. He lured Abner back to Hebron and killed him in the gate.
  5. He pronounced a curse on Joab and his descendants and forced Joab to publicly mourn Abner’s death.
  6. In the midst of all the sin, war, and intrigue of this chapter we see that God was working through it all to accomplish His purpose to bring David to the throne over all of Israel.


  1. 1. In the remainder of 2 Samuel we will see Galatians 6:8 played out in David’s life. Think ahead to the stories you know that demonstrate the destruction reaped from sowing to the flesh.
  2. 2. “The wrath of man shall praise God.” Psalm 76:10 Discuss this on a global level and on a personal level. See also Romans 8:28.


  1. He who sows to the flesh will reap destruction. David’s life was a living illustration of this truth. Will yours be?

Key Verses

  • “Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. But David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.” 2 Samuel 3:1
  • “Then Abner said to David, ‘I will arise and go, and gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires.’” 2 Samuel 3:21
  • “Now when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him privately, and there stabbed him in the stomach, so that he died for the blood of Asahel his brother.” 2 Samuel 3:27

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