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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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was the uncle of king Saul, and the general of his army. After Saul's death, he made Ishbosheth king; and for seven years supported the family of Saul, in opposition to David; but in most of his skirmishes came off with loss. While Ishbosheth's and David's troops lay near each other, hard by Gibeon, Abner challenged Joab to select twelve of David's warriors to fight with an equal number of his. Joab consented: the twenty- four engaged; and fell together on the spot. A fierce battle ensued, in which Abner and his troops were routed. Abner himself was hotly pursued by Asahel, whom he killed by a back stroke of his spear. Still he was followed by Joab and Abishai, till he, who in the morning sported with murder, was obliged at even to entreat that Joab would stay his troops from the effusion of blood, 2 Samuel 2.

Not long after, Abner, taking it highly amiss for Ishbosheth to charge him with lewd behaviour toward Rizpah, Saul's concubine, vowed that he would quickly transfer the whole kingdom into the hands of David. He therefore commenced a correspondence with David, and had an interview with him at Hebron. Abner had just left the feast at which David had entertained him, when Joab, informed of the matter, warmly remonstrated, asserting, that Abner had come as a spy. On his own authority he sent a messenger to invite him back, to have some farther communication with the king; and when Abner was come into Joab's presence, the latter, partly from jealousy lest Abner might become his superior, and partly to revenge his brother Asahel's death, mortally stabbed him in the act of salutation. David, to show how heartily he detested the act, honoured Abner with a splendid funeral, and composed an elegy on his death, 2 Samuel 3.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Abner'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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