Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 2:12

Now Abner the son of Ner, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon with the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abner;   Israel;   Mahanaim;   War;   Scofield Reference Index - Kingdom;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Abner;   Joab;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Mahanaim;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Helkath-Hazzurim;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abner;   Joab;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ishbosheth ;   Mahanaim ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Joab;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Gibeon;   Hebron;   Mahanaim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ish-Bo'sheth;   Mahana'im,;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Mahanaim;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ish-Bosheth;   Ner;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abner;   Gibeon and Gibeonites;   Ish-Bosheth;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

This expedition to Gibeon may have been for the purpose of shifting his metropolis to his own tribe of Benjamin, and to his family place, “Gibeah of Saul,” close to Gibeon, with the further purpose of attacking the kingdom of David. “To go out” 2 Samuel 2:12-13 is a technical phrase for going out to war 1 Samuel 18:30.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-2.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

ABNER BEGAN A CIVIL WAR AGAINST JUDAH AND DAVID

"Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. And Abner said to Joab, "Let the young men arise and play before us." And Joab said, "Let them arise." Then they arose and passed over by number, twelve for Benjamin and Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve for the servants of David. And each caught his opponent by the head, and thrust his sword in his opponent's side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkathhazzurim, which is at Gibeon. And the battle was very fierce that day; and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David."

"And Abner ... went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon" (2 Samuel 2:12). "The expression `went out' as used here is a technical phrase for `going out to war.'"[13] This war was of Abner's own choice, giving ample proof of his unscrupulous and ambitious nature; and yet, when he actually confronted the opposing army of David, he did not have the nerve to begin hostilities, correctly guessing that some bloodshed in that so-called `playing' of the young men would precipitate a full-scale encounter.

"Joab and the servants of David met them at the pool of Gibeon" (2 Samuel 2:13). "Gibeon is now known as El Jib; and in the excavations there since 1956 by Pritchard have uncovered and measured this ancient pool which existed as early as 1200 B.C. It measured 11.3 meters in diameter and was 10.8 meters deep."[14] Judged by the size of this pool and the fact of Abner and Joab's conversation with each other, and also by the number of casualties on each side, it would seem that very large military forces were not involved in this battle.

"Let the young men rise and play before us" (2 Samuel 2:14). This brutal and unfeeling suggestion of bloody hand-to-hand combat unto death which Abner here proposed as "the young men playing" is an adequate measure of his wicked, bloody character. As Henry suggested, "Abner was apparently accustomed to using his men in such barbarous pastimes and had learned to make a jest of the wounds and death which went along with such scenes of blood. He is unworthy of the name of a man who can be thus prodigal of human blood."[15]

The great pity is that Joab did not have the good sense to prevent such a needless waste of life. This brutal game, as Abner called it, was nothing more than a mass suicide on the part of the contestants. They had not even shields with which to defend themselves. Otherwise they could not each one of them have taken his opponent by the head.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-samuel-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Abner the son of Ner,.... Who was before captain of Saul's host, and now of Ishbosheth's:

and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul; who seem to be not only his domestic servants, that waited upon him, or his courtiers, but his whole army by what follows:

went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon; came from the city on the other side Jordan, where perhaps they had been two years past, concerting schemes to bring all Israel under the government of Ishbosheth; in which they had succeeded, only Judah stood out with David; and in order to reduce that tribe, they passed over Jordan and came to Gibeon, a city in Benjamin. See Joshua 18:25.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-2.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Abner … and the servants of Ish-bosheth … went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon — This town was near the confines of Judah, and as the force with which Abner encamped there seemed to have some aggressive design, David sent an army of observation, under the command of Joab, to watch his movements.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-samuel-2.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.

Went out — To fight with David's army, and to bring back the rest of the kingdom to Saul's house.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-2.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 2:12 And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.

Ver. 12. Went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.] The same with Gibeah of Saul; hither he came with his host, to chastise Judah for their revolt from the house of Saul.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-2.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The servants of Ish-bosheth, i.e. his officers and commanders, and their army.

To Gibeon, in the country of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25, near Judah, to fight with David’s army, and to bring back the rest of the kingdom to Saul’s house.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-2.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

THE BATTLE OF GIBEON, 2 Samuel 2:12-32.

12.Went out from Mahanaim — That is, marched out from the capital of the kingdom of Ishbosheth. Having been successful in bringing all the northern and eastern tribes to acknowledge Ishbosheth as king, Abner seems to have thought to bring over the tribe of Judah also. He at least began the fight. Gibeon — The modern el-Jib, a few miles northwest of Jerusalem. See on Joshua 9:3.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-2.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Servants; guards, army. (Menochius) --- Camp; or from Machanayim to Gabaon, in the tribe of Benjamin, about six miles from Jerusalem. (Calmet) --- Septuagint leave the former word untranslated, "Manaeim." (Haydock)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-2.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.

Abner ... and the servants of Ish-bosheth ... went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. This town was near the confines of Judah; and as the force with which Abner encamped there seemed to have some aggressive design, David sent an army of observation, under the command of Joab, to watch his movements.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) To Gibeon.—Gibeon, in the territory of Benjamin, had become noted in the original conquest of the land as the only city which succeeded, though by craft, in making a league with the conquerors (Joshua 9). It was five and a half miles north-west from Jerusalem, and at a long distance both from Mahanaim and from Hebron. Here the generals of the rival monarchs met, possibly by design, but more likely each engaged in the effort to extend their respective masters’ sway over the tribe of Benjamin.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
A. M. 2951. B.C. 1053. An. Ex. Is. 438. Mahanaim
17:14; Genesis 32:2
Gibeon
Joshua 9:3; 10:2,4,12; 18:25
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 2:29 - Mahanaim;  2 Kings 10:3 - fight for

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-2.html.