Haftarah-Vayechi-Reading the Text-David and Yoav I-Abner Part Two
In “Balance,” and “David, Yoav & Abner I,” we began to explain David’s opening charge to Solomon from his deathbed, urging him to balance his dual roles as person and king (Be a Man). We’ve seen how David dealt with Abner, but we still must explain his reaction to, and his instructions regarding, Joab.
We continue with the story of Abner, David, and Joab:
“Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, ‘For some time you have wanted to make David your king. Now do it! For God promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’
Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person.”
Abner had already sent a message to David promising to bring all of Israel over to his side, and yet, it is only now that, “Abner conferred with the elders of Israel!”
“For some time you have wanted to make David your King. Now do it! For God promised David.” Clearly, Abner knew that the elders of Israel wanted to make David the king. There was only one thing stopping them all along; Abner!
When Abner approaches them, he is admitting that he had put his drive for power over the desires of the elders of Israel, and over God’s promise! What happened to allow this man so driven for power to make such a humiliating admission?
David’s balanced response to Abner. If the new King himself struggles with remaining a “normal” man even while assuming the reins of power, and is willing to convey that message to the man who can bring all of Israel to his side, then he is a man who understands Abner’s own internal struggle. Abner is now willing to confront the people he has been stopping from making David their king and admit his mistake.
Whereas Abner “conferred with the elders of Israel,” he, “spoke to the Benjamites in person.” Benjamin was the tribe of Saul and the current King, Ish-Bosheth. They would be forfeiting the power of being the tribe of the King. It is only Abner, who understands the quest for power, the nature of power, and, who is willing to his drive for power sublimate in order to fulfill God’s oath, and, to publicly make his humiliating admission, who can speak to the tribe of Benjamin. It is Abner’s “person,” that convinces Benjamin.
Perhaps Abner did not directly speak of David’s sense of balance, but the message transmitted in his conferring with the elders and ‘personally’ speaking to Benjamin, conveyed David’s message:
David’s reign would be one of great balance, something that had been painfully lacking when Saul was king. Abner is not only supporting David, the king, he is supporting David’s message.
This is the message of Abner that would be so damaged when he is assassinated by David’s general, Joab. Joab was the disturber of balance, again, an essential part of David’s opening message to Solomon.
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