Joab was the commander in chief of King David's army. He was the eldest son of David's sister Zeruiah, and the brother of Abishai and Asahel (1 Chronicles 2:16). Joab played an important role in the establishment, unification, and consolidation of David's kingdom. His military acumen gained him the position of commander in chief, and he proved himself a shrewd tactician and resourceful general. He helped David crush the Philistines and subdue several of the neighboring nations, including the Arameans, Moabites, Edomites and Ammonites.
Joab's loyalty to David was exemplary. On the other hand, Joab was relentless and unscrupulous towards his enemies and rivals. He slew Abner perhaps out of rivalry or to avenge his brother. When Absalom revolted against his father, Joab killed him in stark violation of David's command to spare his life. Joab later slew Amasa, who had been appointed by David to head the campaign against Sheba.
Joab was unaware that David preferred Solomon to succeed him, and sided with Adonijah. When Solomon was established on the throne, he ordered the death of Joab, this was in accordance with David's command that Joab, who had shed innocent blood, must not be allowed to go down to the grave in peaceful old age (1 Kings 2:5-6). The story of Joab is found in the Books of 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles.
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