Stop blaming God and do something (2 Samuel 3)

It’s exhausting being alive sometimes.

There’s always some new atrocity in the news, some injustice that should be addressed, some cause that needs support.

And sometimes we – I – just don’t want to do it anymore. I can’t take anymore.

So usually what I do in those situations is repeat to myself one comforting verse:

“‘Vengeance is mine’, saith the Lord. ‘I will repay'” (Deuteronomy 32:35).

In other words, God’s got it! I don’t have to worry about it! I don’t have to stress. I don’t have to help or feel empathy or try.

God will take care of everything.

Putting on a show

So King David reminds me a little bit of me in 2 Samuel 3. Recap: David is king of Judah, but not all of Israel. The rest of Israel is still ruled by Saul’s son, Ishbosheth.

But in this chapter, a very important development occurs: Abner, the late King Saul’s cousin, loyal to his family—that Abner, switches sides.

Suddenly, he wants to support David’s campaign. Well, not suddenly, Ishbosheth actually seriously pissed him off (verses 6-12).

Either way, David welcomes Abner kindly. On the other hand, Joab, David’s nephew and general over his army, is not on the same page (verses 24-25).

So Joab kills Abner. Yeah. Just like that.

Then David, who already has a lot on his plate trying to unify Israel, gets this news. He’s exhausted. He’s angry. He’s done. He can’t take anymore.

But he summons the energy to throw Abner a huge funeral. He weeps and moans and carries on in the streets. He acts very sad that Abner has died, and very upset that Joab has shed his blood. He calls Joab (and his similarly short-tempered, bloodthirsty brothers) evildoers. The Israelite citizens are touched to see how deeply David feels.

But then, that’s it. That’s all David does. He doesn’t punish Joab. He doesn’t put him on trial. He puts on a show suggesting he cares very much about Abner’s death.

But in the end, he doesn’t do anything about it at all. Instead, he moans:

“May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!”

I think David should have done something. If anyone should have done something, it was him! He was the king! He was in charge! Joab was his nephew!

Something? Anything?

Nothing, and it feels to me like a reminder of what not to do. Yes, it is a good thing to trust God, to ask God to repay the evildoer.

But that can’t be all. We can’t just shed some tears and move on. Because for all our thoughts, prayers, and tears, there are still millions of evildoers walking the earth, hurting people.

We should vote. We should call people out. We should cut ties. We should raise awareness. We should do something, no matter how small. Our little part to help repay the evildoers according to their evil deeds.

And also pray.

So who’s with me?

What do you think? Do you think David’s response to Abner’s murder was appropriate?

3 thoughts on “Stop blaming God and do something (2 Samuel 3)

  1. I’m with you. Yes! We should do something. God will bless our efforts, but we have to step up. But as for King David…. He actually says, as he’s bemoaning the death of Abner, that he cannot do anything about this murder because Joab and his brothers are “too hard for me.” This is what he meant: Legally Joab or one of his brothers had a right to kill Abner because Abner had killed one of their brothers, Asahel. David knew that Joab had committed a wanton murder because he was jealous, but legally, Joab was not guilty because he was avenging the death of Asahel. “ …he is a murder; the murder shall surely be put to death. The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him.” Num. 35:18-19. That’s why David lamented that they were too hard for him.

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    1. I think David maybe meant that Joab and his brother were too strong and his position was not strong enough yet.
      Joab did not have a right to kill Abner because Abner killed his brother in a battle, and it was not okay to take revenge for that later. It was mentioned in 1 Kings 2,5 that it was wrong that he took revenge in time of peace for the blood that was shed in war. So Joab was guilty and David made that clear when he instructed Solomon to make Joab pay for this murder.

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  2. I appreciate both well articulated thoughts/ responses. In the end Abner’s death was avenged.
    Yes, Stop Blaming God and Blame some members of the Body of Christ. We are loud on some issues and whisper on others.
    So much of what’s happening in our nation is an Indictment on the Church! We reach out to some and ignore others. We are supposed to be Peace makers, yet many are creating a divide among people. 2 Chronicles 7:14 declares “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, (a prerequisite) then, [and only then,my words] I will hear from Heaven, forgive their sins (repent Church) and heal their land. God explained in this verse how to get results. Lets remember Nike’s slogan and “Just Do It”!

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