Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 3:1

Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Israel;   War;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ishbosheth;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Abner;   David;   Judah, tribe and kingdom;   Easton Bible Dictionary - David;   Helkath-Hazzurim;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abner;   Covenant;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - David;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Dwelling;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - House;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ish-Bosheth;   Samuel, Books of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Burial;   Chileab;   Ish-Bosheth;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

There was long war - Frequent battles and skirmishes took place between the followers of David and the followers of Ish-bosheth, after the two years mentioned above, to the end of the fifth year, in which Ish-bosheth was slain by Rechab and Baanah.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-3.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

ABNER DECIDED TO AID DAVID;

ABNER WAS MURDERED BY JOAB;

A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE CIVIL WAR

"There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker."

This progressive shift of power from the house of Saul to that of David fulfilled Samuel's prophecy in 1 Samuel 15:28.

During this extended conflict, there was not a succession of many battles, but an atmosphere of constant hostility. At least part of Abner's attention had to be directed against the encroaching demands of the Philistines; and, having lost the most of his able soldiers in the battle that resulted in Saul's death, Abner doubtless became less and less successful in his forays against the Philistines. In all probability, that failure was the basic reason which lay behind Abner's decision to switch allegiance to David. Abner, of course wanted to be king, as indicated by his taking one of Saul's concubines, but when it became evident that he would be unable to deliver northern Israel from the dominant power of the Philistines, he perceived that his own personal interests would probably be best served by his changing sides in the conflict.

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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 3:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-samuel-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David,.... The recent battle, though so much in favour of David, did not, put an end to the war between him and Ishbosheth, which lasted five years longer; for it was when Ishbosheth had reigned two years that that battle was fought, and he reigned five years longer; for not till his death, and when David had reigned above seven years in Hebron, was he made king over all Israel; and during this time peace was not made, but the war carried on; though perhaps not in pitched battles, of which we no more read, but in skirmishes:

but David waxed stronger and stronger; he having the advantage in all such skirmishes, and persons continually coming over to his side from the several tribes:

and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker: being always worsted whenever they skirmished with David's men, and by continual revolts from them. This is reckoned an emblem of the kingdoms of Christ and antichrist, the one increasing more and more, as it has and will do, and the other decreasing, and before long will be consumed; and of the two parties in a regenerate man, grace and indwelling sin, the one as to its exercise growing stronger and stronger, and the other as to its influence on the outward conversation weaker and weaker.

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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 3:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.

(a) That is, without intermission enduring two years, which was the whole reign of Ishbosheth.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

2 Samuel 3:1-5. Six sons born to David.

there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David — The rival parties had varying success, but David‘s interest steadily increased; less, however, by the fortunes of war, than a growing adherence to him as the divinely designated king.

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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 3:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-samuel-3.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

“And the war became long (was protracted) between the house of Saul and the house of David; but David became stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul weaker and weaker.” הלך, when connected with another verb or with an adjective, expresses the idea of the gradual progress of an affair (vid., Ges. §131, 3, Anm. 3). The historian sums up in these words the historical course of the two royal houses, as they stood opposed to one another. “The war” does not mean continual fighting, but the state of hostility or war in which they continued to stand towards one another. They concluded no peace, so that David was not recognised by Ishbosheth as king, any more than Ishbosheth by David. Not only is there nothing said about any continuance of actual warfare by Abner or Ishbosheth after the loss of the battle at Gibeon, but such a thing was very improbable in itself, as Ishbosheth was too weak to be able to carry on the war, whilst David waited with firm reliance upon the promise of the Lord, until all Israel should come over to him.

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Bibliographical Information
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/2-samuel-3.html. 1854-1889.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

The account of the struggle on the part of Saul's family for the kingdom with David, is continued in this Chapter. A quarrel takes place between Ishbosheth and Abner. The latter makes overtures to David. David's treaty with him. Abner, while attempting to bring over Israel to David's interest, is slain by Joab. David's distress at this event. These are the principal points related in this Chapter.

2 Samuel 3:1

(1) ¶ Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.

The event as here related, of the decline of Saul's interest, and the increase of David's, is just as might have been expected. But I pass over the historical part of the relation, to call the Reader's attention to an infinitely more important object veiled under the history, and to direct him to the very precious instruction, spiritually considered, contained in it.

The long war which subsisted between the house of Saul and the house of David, may serve to teach us both the length and strength of the battle which is carried on in the heart of the awakened believer, in the different dispositions of nature and grace. There is indeed long war, and dreadfully hot re-encounters, by reason of these contending powers. Speak, ye long tried, long exercised souls, who feel their force, and say what it is, for I have no ability to describe it. But what a relief to the soul is the consideration, (and I would charge it upon the mind of everyone groaning under it,) the issue of this war, is not doubtful. Your exercises are not for trial, as to the event; but for trial as to the proving the graces given you. Jesus, your spiritual David, hath already conquered for you, and in your name: and you must shortly be made more than conquerors through him and his victory. And in the mean time it is a precious thought, and ever to be cherished with the most grateful affection in the heart of the believer; though you see so little increase in the life of faith and grace, compared to what you wish; nay, as it seems to appear to you, matters sometimes grow worse and worse; yet in the strength that is in Christ Jesus, and your views of him, nature, like the house of Saul, is giving way; and grace, like the house of David, becoming every day more triumphant. That promise is absolute, The righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger. Job 17:9.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-samuel-3.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.

Long war — For five years longer: for it is probable, Isbosheth was made king presently upon Saul's death; and the other tribes did not submit to David before seven years were expired.

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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 3:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-3.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 3:1 Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.

Ver. 1. Now there was long war.] Continuo iteratis proeliis: there was constant opposition, and continual skirmishing: so there is still betwixt Christ and Antichrist, betwixt the spirit and the flesh: and these will be bickering, whilst the world shall be standing.

And the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.] So do and shall do daily the eastern and western Antichrist. That stone cut out of the mountains without hands, shall bring down those golden images with a powder.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-3.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

2 SAMUEL CHAPTER 3

The war between the house of David and the house of Saul. Six sons born to David in Hebron, 2 Samuel 3:1-5. Abner, displeased with Ish-bosheth, 2 Samuel 3:6-11, revolteth to David, who requireth of him that he bring with him Michal, which he does, and communes with the elders of Israel; is feasted by David and dismissed, 2 Samuel 3:12-21. Joab returning from battle is displeased with the king, and treacherously murdereth Abner, 2 Samuel 3:22-27. David curseth Joab, 2 Samuel 3:28-30. Mourneth over Abner, 2 Samuel 3:31-39.

Long war; for five years longer; for it is probable that Ish-bosheth was made king presently upon Saul’s death, to give them countenance for their rebellion against David; and the other tribes did not submit to David before seven years were expired.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-3.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

CONTINUED WAR BETWEEN THE HOUSE OF SAUL AND THAT OF DAVID, 2 Samuel 3:1-6.

1.Long war — A struggle and bitter hostility continued for two years or more. See note on 2 Samuel 2:10.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-3.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 3:1. There was long war — For five years longer: for it is probable Ish-bosheth was made king immediately upon Saul’s death; and the other tribes did not submit to David before seven years were expired. Between the house of Saul and the house of David — Their enmity continuing throughout the whole reign of Ish-bosheth. It is probable there were many skirmishes between Israel and Judah; but we do not read of any pitched battle.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-3.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

War, the particulars of which are not given. (Calmet) --- But David's power continually increased, and he was blessed with many children. (Haydock) --- "Legions and fleets are not such strong bulwarks of the throne, as a numerous family." (Tacitus, Hist. v.)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Saul. Note the Figure of speech Antimetabole (App-6) in this verse, and the Introversion of the subjects of this chapter.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.

There was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. The rival parties had varying success; but David's interest steadily increased-less, however, by the fortunes of war than a growing adherence of the people to him as the divinely-designated king.

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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 3:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-3.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) There was long war.—Not actual fighting of pitched battles, but a state of hostility, in which Ish-bosheth and David each claimed the allegiance of the whole nation, and this continued until the death of Ish-bosheth. During this time Ish-bosheth was too weak to carry on actual war, and David was content to abide the fulfilment of the promises of the Lord in His own good time.

Waxed stronger.—Time was working in David’s favour, partly, doubtless, on account of Ish-bosheth’s manifest incompetence, partly from a growing appreciation of the character and prowess of David, and a fuller realisation that he was the divinely appointed sovereign. In 1 Chronicles 12:19-22 there is an account of an important accession to David from the tribe of Manasseh on the eve of Saul’s last battle, and a further mention of continued accessions to him “day by day.” As the necessary result of this constant transference of strength to David, “the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.”

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.
long war
1 Kings 14:30; 15:16,32
between
Genesis 3:15; Psalms 45:3-5; Matthew 10:35,36; Galatians 5:17; Ephesians 6:12
David waxed
2:17; Esther 6:13; Job 8:7; 17:9; Psalms 84:7; Proverbs 4:18,19; Daniel 2:34,35,44,45; Revelation 6:2
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 33:7 - let his hands;  Joshua 17:13 - waxen strong;  2 Samuel 2:31 - three hundred;  2 Samuel 5:10 - General2 Samuel 22:44 - delivered;  1 Chronicles 11:9 - waxed greater and greater;  1 Chronicles 12:22 - day by day;  Esther 9:4 - waxed;  Psalm 18:43 - from;  Psalm 71:21 - increase;  Psalm 89:23 - I will

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-3.html.