Confusion is continued in the house of Israel. Abner seeks to establish Saul’s reign, but his efforts are thwarted when Ishbosheth accuses him of stepping over a line that no man is allowed to cross (3:1-16). Angered, Abner seeks to give David Saul’s throne, and David is pleased, but with one condition. His first wife, Saul’s daughter, is to be returned to him. This way, not only is he reunited with his lawful wife, but the nation will see this as a unifying force. Abner complies; ultimately, however, he is slayed by a man David thought was his inferior – Joab (3:17-27). As the nation is getting closer to reunification David does what he can to humiliate Joab (3:28-39).
Application: Even strong a strong king (David) felt inhibited by wicked men such a Joab. Can you imagine the tense relationship they had through his reign of forty years (for it was not until Solomon became king that Joab lost his life)? Relationships are to be nurtured, but when one is wicked, not much nurturing can take place.