When Things Go From Bad To Worse: Samuel 2:12-3:1

1. The tension that arises from defiant rebellion
12Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13And Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. And they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. 2 Samuel 2:12-13 (ESV); Proverbs 17:14

The armies of Abner and the armies of Joab met at the pool of Gibeon where they literally faced off against each other. 

At this time, Israel should be fighting their common enemy, the Philistines, when instead their focus is on an internal struggle. 

2. The imprudent suggestion that arises from defiant rebellion                                            14And Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men arise and compete before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.” 2 Samuel 2:14-17 (ESV)

The word translated “compete” suggests entertainment (Judges 16:25), play (Psalm 104:26), rejoicing (1 Samuel 18:7; 2 Samuel 6:5; 1 Chronicles 15:29; Proverbs 8:30, 31), or even joking (Proverbs 26:19) rather than anything violent.

One might perhaps better understand the passage as referring to a sudden change from a game to something more serious, or to a battle trick that both sides try to implement simultaneously but that then goes wrong.

3. The impetuous acts arises from defiant rebellion
20Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Is it you,

Asahel?” And he answered, “It is I.” 21  Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, and seize one of the young men and take his spoil.” But Asahel would not turn aside from following him. 22  And Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother Joab?”        2 Samuel 2:18-22 (ESV)

Point: Lack of self control escalates tension.

There is a fine line between persistence and stubbornness.

4. The irreversible results that arise from defiant rebellion

And he fell there and died where he was. And all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still. 2 Samuel 2:18-23 (ESV)

Those involved in the skuttle knew that the conflict had just moved to another level. Shocked at the potential consequences of the heightened intensity, all who came to the place of Asahel’s demise stood motionless.

5. The failure to accept fault that often accompanies defiant rebellion. 2 Samuel 2:24-28

Abner’s noble-sounding speech had a major problem. It seemed to lay the blame for the fighting on Joab, though Abner first proposed the competition.

6. The cemented malice that often results from defiant rebellion

1There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.                                2 Samuel 3:1 (ESV)