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Dealing with Scandals—Part 3: Act with Justice

September 19, 2018

“I was gentle today, though anointed king. These men, the sons of Zeruiah, are more severe than I. The Lord repay the evildoer according to his wickedness!” 2 Samuel 3:39

What should David have done about Joab? Was he wise and prudent in allowing Joab to continue commanding his army, or was this a failure of leadership?

Trusting the Lord to repay Joab would be appropriate if David were a private citizen. But David is the king! There has been a brutal murder in his city. Will there be justice in his kingdom?

Joab was never brought to justice. David’s failure to exercise justice was a decision that he came to regret, and it remained on his conscience for the rest of his life. Years later, when David was about to die, he gave instructions to Solomon, his son. He tells him that he needs to deal with Joab because of what he did to Abner (1 Kings 2:5-6).

Perhaps David thought, “I showed grace to Abner, so how can I bring justice to Joab?” But Abner killed Asahel in self-defense; Joab killed Abner in a brutal act of aggression. Perhaps it was that David did not feel strong enough to deal with his commander. Perhaps, having refused to rely on Abner, there was part of him that felt he could not survive without Joab.

Whatever the reason, Joab’s murder of Abner left a stain on David’s kingdom. Justice was not done and this remained on David’s conscience for the rest of his life.

How might you act with justice and integrity knowing that somebody close to you has committed wrong?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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