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Morrish Bible Dictionary


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The Son of Ner, Saul's uncle; Abner was consequently Saul's cousin. 1 Samuel 14:51 . He was Saul's 'captain of the host' when David slew Goliath, and he presented David to Saul. 1 Samuel 17:55,57 . He was with Saul when David took away the spear and cruse of water while they slept: for which David reproached him, saying he was worthy of death because he had not more faithfully guarded his master. 1 Samuel 26:5-16 . After the death of Saul (apparently about 5 years after) Abner made Ish-bosheth king over Israel; but this did not include Judah over which David was king. 2 Samuel 2:8-10 . In one of the conflicts between the two houses Abner was overcome, and Asahel, Joab's brother, 'light of foot as a wild roe,' pursued Abner. Abner cautioned him twice, and then slew him. 2 Samuel 2:17-23 . This act of self-defence was afterwards made the plea for Abner's death. Saul had had a concubine named Rizpah, and this woman Abner took; for which he was reproached by Ish-bosheth (who probably thought it was a prelude to his seizing the kingdom). This so incensed Abner that he revolted from his master and made overtures to David. David demanded that Abner should bring with him Michal, Saul's daughter, David's former wife. This he accomplished, and he and the men with him were well received by David, who made a feast for them. But Joab, who was absent, was angry when he heard of it, probably jealous lest the command of the army should be divided between himself and Abner. He sent messengers for Abner's return, and then, under the pretence of privately communing with him, smote him, professedly to avenge the death of his brother Asahel. David was much grieved at this murder, and followed the bier and fasted till the sun went down. He rehearsed on the occasion the following dirge:

"Died Abner as a fool dieth?

Thy hands were not bound,

Nor thy feet put into fetters:

As a man falleth before wicked men so fellest thou."

David further said that in Abner's death a prince and a great man hadfallen, and that Jehovah would avenge his death. This last was accomplished, according to David's dying injunction, by the direction of King Solomon, and Joab was slain by Benaiah. Yet doubtless the holy government of God was fulfilled in the death of Abner. Personal pique turned him round to David, and yet he knew well, while upholding the house of Saul, that David was God's anointed king.

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Abner'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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