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!
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?