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Abner's death left Ish-bosheth helpless, and all Israel in a state of troubled perplexity (v.1). Two men, however, who were captains of bands in Ish-bosheth's army, saw an attractive opportunity at this time. They could plainly see that David would gain the ascendancy, and they thought they could gain David's favor by killing Ish-bosheth. But they acted on the false assumption that David was as wicked as they were. They were brothers, and of the tribe of Benjamin.
In verse 4 a note is inserted to tell of Saul having another son, Mephibosheth, who had become lame on both feet when his nurse had dropped him in her haste to escape when she heard of the death of Saul and Jonathan. The boy was five years old at this time. We shall hear of David's kindness to him a little later (ch.9).
The two brothers, Rechab and Baanah, came at noon to the house of Ish-bosheth, who was lying on a bed. Pretending to be coming for wheat, they had easy access to the house. They pierced Ish-bosheth through "under the fifth rib" (the third person to whom this was done within a short time), then beheaded him and escaped, carrying his head with them (vs.5-7). It was a long trip when from Mahanaim to Hebron, taking the rest of the day and all night. Perhaps they thought it was worth it, but things did not work out as they had planned.
Bringing Ish-bosheth's head to David, they told him this was the head of the son of Saul, David's enemy, who sought to kill David. Thy cunningly bring the Lord's name into the matter also, saying that the Lord had taken vengeance on the house of Saul. Yet they had remained servants to Ish-bosheth for two years after the death of Saul!
David immediately discerned their callous deceit and greed. He had no room for this kind of friends He knew that they could just as easily turn against him as they had turned against Ish-bosheth, if the occasion arose. He told them that it was the living Lord who had redeemed his soul out of all adversity (not man's deceitful wickedness). Then he told them of the man who had brought news of Saul's death to David, considering that David would think of this as good news and expecting that David would reward him for it, but that instead David had put him to death (ch.1:2-15).
"How much more," he adds, "when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed" Their guilt was worse than that of the other. He would therefore righteously require the blood of Ish-bosheth from them by taking their life from the earth. In this case, not only did the young men kill them, but cut off their hands and feet and hung them up over the pool in Hebron. Their hands had been swift to shed blood and their feet had been swift to culminate this evil in boldly bringing their master's head to David. They were hung up likely as a declaration of David's abhorrence of their evil act and as a warning to any who might be inclined to resort to tactics such as theirs. Ish-bosheth's head was buried in Abner's grave.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 4". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19