Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 3:17

Now Abner had consultation with the elders of Israel, saying, "In times past you were seeking for David to be king over you.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abner;   Conspiracy;   Government;   Treason;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Michal;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Abner;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Elder;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Israel;   Rizpah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ishbosheth;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Elder;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abner;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Dwelling;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Government of the Hebrews;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Alliance;   Benjamin;   Joab;   Number;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Abner;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Covenant;   Elder;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Ye sought for David … - Compare 1 Samuel 18:5. It was only by Abner‘s great influence that the elders of Israel had been restrained hitherto from declaring for David, and this accounts for Ish-bosheth‘s helpless submission to his uncle‘s dictation.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-3.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

ABNER SOLICITS THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL FOR DAVID

"And Abner conferred with the elders of Israel, saying, "For some time past, you have been seeking David as king over you. Now then bring it about; for the Lord has promised David, saying, `By the hand of my servant David, I will save my people from the hand of the Philistines, and from the hand of all their enemies.'" Abner also spoke to Benjamin, and then Abner went to tell David at Hebron all that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin thought good to do."

"For some time you have been seeking to make David king over you" (2 Samuel 3:18). Evidently, following the death of Saul, there had been an attempt to make David king of all Israel, but David's involvement with the Philistines and Abner's personal ambition had frustrated that effort.

"The Lord has promised ... by the hand of David to deliver (Israel) ... from all their enemies" (2 Samuel 3:18). "Here Abner went far beyond the text of anything found in the Holy Scriptures."[19] Abner's mention here of what he called the Lord's promise that David would deliver the Israelites from the hand of the Philistines gives the clue behind the real reason for Abner's changing over to David. Abner had not been successful in breaking the Philistines' strangle-hold on the greater part of northern Israel. At that time, all Israel was sorely in need of a deliverer.

Keil and many other dependable scholars suggest that this paragraph has the nature of a parenthesis, recounting what Abner had already done before his first trip to David and the episode involving Michal.[20]

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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 3:17". "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

And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel,.... Had a conference with the chiefs of the several tribes about the affairs of the kingdom:

saying, ye sought for David in time past to be king over you; that is, at the death of Saul, and not before; for it was pretty generally known throughout the kingdom that David was anointed by Samuel and Saul himself had declared that he knew the kingdom would come to him; so that upon his death it was the general expectation and desire of the people that the government would devolve upon him, as it doubtless would, if Abner had not set up one of Saul's house, and persuaded the Israelites to own him their king.

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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 3:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Abner had f communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past [to be] king over you:

(f) Rather for malice that he bore toward Ishbosheth, than for love he bore to David.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-3.html. 1599-1645.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

‘MAKE JESUS KING’

‘And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought of David in times past to he king over you: Now then do it.’

2 Samuel 3:17

Whether these words were spoken by Abner with actual sincerity of heart and purpose, it is not for me to say. But he had played the hypocrite, first with David, and then with Ish-bosheth, and at last he has come and thrown himself down at the feet of David, whom he knew had been anointed by God to be king over Israel. He had come with the declaration that he wanted David to be king; and you remember how David met the attempt of this man to win his favour towards himself: “One thing I require of thee” (v. 13). Brethren, the great David always has that to say, when men come to Him and announce Him as King: ‘One thing I require of thee.’ And what is that? ‘That thou give Me back My own; and that My bride be Mine instead of another’s.’

I. It is when men and women crown Jesus Christ Lord of all that they begin to be truly and lastingly blessed.—Now I desire to set before you this fact. You remember that immediately before Saul’s death, David was brought to the very lowest point at Ziklag. The people wanted to stone him; but David encouraged himself in his God. And the Lord Jesus Christ, before He was brought to the throne, was brought to the very lowest, forsaken of all, and despised and rejected of men: not only did they speak of stoning Him, but they crucified Him as a malefactor. And while there were just a few who came to meet David at Ziklag, no sooner did God send him to Hebron (which means fellowship) than company after company came to acknowledge him as king. So was it with Jesus Christ. From the very day that God took Him to the place of fellowship in heaven, and put His own Beloved on the throne of glory, company after company has come to the Master, exactly as these companies came to Hebron to David to declare that they would make him king. But David waits. Seven-and-a-half years did he tarry in Hebron, as Jesus waits on the throne.

II. And now, if you look for a moment at the case of this man Abner, you see one who had every opportunity of knowing David, but he had set his face towards the world, and had sought to gain precedence and glory for himself, without recognising the purpose of God towards David. And there are large multitudes of people who have named the name of Christ, but who have not departed from iniquity. They have gone after Ish-bosheth, the man of shame. There are men and women here who, if they were questioned, would have to acknowledge the fact that David has had a formidable rival in the flesh. Even while they know God’s purpose concerning David, they have had an Ish-bosheth in their life, to whom they have given fealty. There are men and women, leaders in the hosts of Israel, whose consciences tell them that whereas they could have been captains in the Lord’s host to bring their fellows to David’s feet, they have gone after the man of shame, and sojourned with him in disgrace.

III. Then comes the terrible awakening.—And I believe that long before we get much comfort or blessing or peace, many of us will have to come to that period of awful conviction which came upon Abner—a conviction of shame that he had wronged God. Your heart tells you, perhaps, that you have been making a compromise with the Spirit of God, and that your David is not receiving His right. And at last, as you awake—God grant it may be now!—you say, ‘I have served the wrong king and I now in humility acknowledge my crime.’ And that great King will say, in effect, ‘One thing I require of thee: I will not see thy face until thou yieldest Me My rights.’ And you will have to do it; and when you have done it you will become messengers to bring others. You know how David won the faith of Israel back to himself. He was willing even to receive Abner; and that makes me think that David believed in the sincerity of Abner. Oh! that Christ may believe in the sincerity of heart of those who are assembled here! Oh! that David, God’s Beloved, may be able to say to many of us here, ‘Now go and fetch all Israel to My feet.’

Prebendary Webb-Peploe.

Illustration

‘Abner set himself with great vigour to fulfil the promise made by him in his league with David. First, he held communication with the representatives of the whole nation, “the elders of Israel,” and showed to them his own self-condemnation, how God had designated David as the king through whom deliverance would be granted to Israel from the Philistines and all their other enemies. Next, remembering that Saul was a member of the tribe of Benjamin, he took special pains to attach that tribe to David, and as he was himself likewise a Benjamite, he must have been eminently useful in this service. Thirdly, he went in person to Hebron, David’s seat, “to speak in the ears of David all that seemed good to Israel and to the whole house of Benjamin.” Finally, after being entertained by David at a great feast, he set out to bring about a meeting of the whole congregation of Israel, that they might solemnly ratify the appointment of David as king, in the same way as, in the early days of Saul, Samuel had convened the representatives of the nation at Gilgal. That in all this Abner was rendering a great service both to David and the nation cannot be doubted. He was doing what no other man in Israel could have done at the time for establishing the throne of David and ending the civil war.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:17". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/2-samuel-3.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 3:17 And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past [to be] king over you:

Ver. 17. And Abner had communication,] i.e., He had had communication with them before that he went toward David with Michal.

Ye sought for David.] And David they had crowned ere this, but that Abner overruled them for Ishbosheth. All his care was to have a stake in store, howsoever the dice chanced to turn. Politicians are all for their own ends.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:17". 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

Even in Saul’s time you highly honoured him, and prized his conduct, and wished that the power were in his hands; and great numbers of you went to him when he was in the hold, 1Ch 12. And after Saul’s death you would gladly have advanced him to the crown, if your respect to Saul’s family, together with my authority and influence, had not diverted you.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:17". 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

17.Ye sought for David in times past — As was shown by the multitudes from all the tribes that revolted from Saul and went over to David while yet at Ziklag. See 1 Chronicles 12.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:17". "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 3:17. And Abner — Having seen David, and given him assurance of his fidelity, as David had him of his friendship; had communication with the elders of Israel — He went back to persuade all to do as he had done. And by bringing over the great men to David, he doubted not the multitude would follow. Saying, Ye sought for David in times past — For, after the slaughter of Goliath, he was much beloved by all the people. And when he was forced to flee, a great many of Israel came over to him while he dwelt at Ziklag. And it is highly probable that, as soon as Saul and Jonathan were dead, they all generally would have inclined to make David their king, if Abner, by his great authority, had not set up one of the family of Saul.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:17". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-3.html. 1857.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you:

Abner had communication with the elders of Israel. He spoke the truth in impressing their minds with the well-known fact of David's divine designation to the kingdom. But be acted a base and hypocritical part in pretending that his present movement was prompted by religious motives, when it sprang entirely from malice and revenge against Ish-bosheth. The particular appeal to the Benjamites was a necessary policy: their tribe enjoyed the honour of giving birth to the royal dynasty of Saul, and they would naturally be disinclined to lose that prestige. They were, besides, a determined people, whose contiguity to Judah might render them troublesome and dangerous. The enlistment of their interest, therefore, in the scheme would smooth the way for the adhesion of the other tribes; and Abner enjoyed the most convenient opportunity of using his great influence in gaining over that tribe while escorting Michal to David with a suitable equipage. The mission enabled him to cover his treacherous designs against his master-to draw the attention of the elders and people to David as uniting in himself the double recommendation of being the nominee of Yahweh, no less than a connection of the royal house of Saul, and, without suspicion of any dishonourable motive, to advocate the policy of terminating the civil discord, by bestowing the sovereignty on the husband of Michal. In the same character of public ambassador he was received and feted by David; and while, ostensibly, the restoration of Michal was the sole object of his visit, he busily employed himself in making private overtures to David for bringing over to his cause those tribes which be had artfully seduced. Abner pursued a course unworthy of an honourable man; and though his offer was accepted by David, the guilt and infamy of the transaction were exclusively his.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:17". "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

(17) Ye sought for David.—1 Samuel 18:6-7; 1 Samuel 18:16; 1 Samuel 18:30; 1 Chronicles 11:1-3 (comp. 2 Samuel 3:36), sufficiently testify to the great popularity of David throughout the nation, and its confidence in his prowess and wisdom. It was the influence and activity of Abner that had hitherto prevented his general recognition as king.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you:
in times past
Heb. both yesterday and the third day.
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 24:20 - I know well;  1 Chronicles 11:10 - to make;  Psalm 75:7 - he putteth

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-3.html.