Abner

The commander in chief of the army of Saul. Israel's first king. He was Saul's highest military official.

He was the person who inquired about David after his battle with the giant, Goliath, and who introduced David to King Saul (1 Samuel 17:55-58). Abner was with the guard protecting Saul when David entered the camp of the king while everyone was asleep (1 Samuel 26:5-7).

After the death of Saul and his three sons in a battle with the Philistines (1 Samuel 31:1-6), Abner established Saul's son Ishbosheth as King. Of the 12 tribes of Israel, only the tribe of Judah followed David as their King.

War broke out between the armies of David and Ishbosheth, during which Abner killed Asahel, a brother of Joab - one of David's military officers - in self- defense (2 Samuel 2:18-23).

Later on a crisis developed between Ishbosheth and Abner, and Ishbosheth accused Abner of plotting to take over the kingship. Abner eventually shifted his loyalties to David, and he also persuaded all the tribes to follow David's leadership (2 Sam. 3:6-21).

Later Abner was killed by David's commander Joab in an act of vengeance over the death of his brother (2 Sam. 3:22-30). To counter any backlash from this act, David reprimanded Joab publicly and had Abner buried with full honors (2 Sam. 3:27-39). The name Abner means "the father is a lamp."

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