Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ. 1 Peter 4:13 (NIV) Our expectations of life in this world should be shaped not just by the reality of this fallen world, but by the fact that we have chosen to follow a crucified savior. If you follow a big...
Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim, and he made him king over Gilead… and all Israel. 2 Samuel 2:8-9
Abner was Saul’s cousin (1 Sam. 14:50) and the commander of his army (2 Sam. 2:8). He led the hunt for David during Saul’s lifetime, so this man was deeply antagonistic to God’s anointed king.
Abner’s first move was to bring Ish-bosheth, one of Saul’s sons, to a place called Mahanaim, well to the north of Hebron where David had been crowned, and to crown him as king over “all Israel” (2:9). So now there are two kings—one who had been anointed by God, and one who had been anointed by Abner.
Abner knew God had anointed David king (2 Sam. 3:9-10), so what he did in anointing Ish-bosheth was an act of defiance. Abner opposed God’s king. He wanted his own king, a king he could control, so he crowned Ish-bosheth.
The will of God did not matter to Abner. He was only ever about one thing: “What’s in it for me? What’s best for Abner?” And at this point in the story, Abner reckons the best thing is to keep the line of Saul going.
The name Ish-bosheth means, “man of shame.” He was a hapless figurehead. He was Abner’s puppet, and he only lasted for as long as he had Abner’s support.
So here you have two kings: God’s anointed king in Hebron, and man’s alternative in Mahanaim. And the people are divided.
Where do you most identify with Abner today?