Bible Commentary: 2 Samuel 3:2-21 and Related

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Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 3:2-21 and Related

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David's Harem

Clearly one of David's weaknesses is his passion for women. And in the ancient Middle East, kings were often judged by the size of their harems. The larger the harem, the more powerful the king was considered to be. But Israel was supposed to be different. One of God's instructions for Israel's king was written in Deuteronomy 17:17: "Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away." Sadly, David succumbed to this temptation, which would cause hardship in his family and his own life and set a terrible example for his son Solomon. Listed here are David's wives and the sons he fathered by them while he lived and reigned in Hebron:

Ahinoam (Jezreelitess)   bore: Amnon (Amnon later killed by his half-brother Absalom)
Abigail Chileab (Daniel)  
Maaca (Geshurite) Absalom (who later betrayed David and was killed by Joab)
Haggith Adonijah (later executed by Solomon for betrayal)
Abatal Shephatiah  
Eglah Ithream  


That's at least six children by six different women in seven years—not a very good way to start a family. And his former wife Michal is about to be thrown into this mix. What a terrible mess!

Abner's Defection

After a power struggle between Ishbosheth and Abner over one of Saul's concubines, Abner, probably seeing the handwriting on the wall, is now ready to pledge his loyalty to David. David tests that loyalty by demanding that his first wife, Michal, be returned to him. Ishbosheth (who fears Abner, 2 Samuel 3:11) carries out the demand. Though David seems satisfied with Abner's pledge of support, it is not so with Joab, who will not forget that his brother died by Abner's hand.