Hey, y’all ready for some Samuel 2: Electric Boogaloo? It’s the book named after Samuel that has nothing to do with Samuel because he died in the first book and he doesn’t even get to come back as a Force Ghost like he did with Saul.
Okay, so David has returned to the city his Philistine king has given him and three days after his return, a messenger shows up with torn clothes and dust on his head.
David: What’s up?
Messenger: I’ve come from the camp of Israel.
David: How’s the war going?
Messenger: Israel lost. Saul and Jonathan are dead, as is a lot of the army.
David: How do you know Saul and Jon are dead?
Messenger: I saw him wounded on the battlefield and Saul asked me, an Amalekite, to kill him because he was suffering. So I killed him because he was dying anyway, and here is his crown and his bracelet as proof of my words.
Okay, so Saul didn’t commit suicide like he did in the last chapter, but died at the hands of an Amalekite because the author I guess really wanted to hammer home that ‘not genociding good enough’ sin of Saul came back to bite him in the ass, I guess.
So everyone is sad and mourns for the king and the army they were all geared up to go fight with the Philistines a few chapters back. David orders the messenger killed because he killed the Lord’s anointed, even though seriously, David, you were about to go and fight Saul yourself like three chapters ago.
David sings a song. The most notable part is:
“I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
You have been very pleasant to me.
Your love to me was more wonderful
Than the love of women.”
Yeah… just two totally hetero bros bound by a love of sportsball.
So David asks the Holy Magic 8-ball of Antioch if he should go be the king of Judah.
The Matter is Certain.
So he heads up to Hebron and is crowned the king of Judah.
His first act as king is to reach out to the other side and honor the men of Jabesh-gilead who snuck into Philistine territory and reclaimed the bodies of Saul and his sons and buried them.
But Abner, Saul’s general, finds a surviving son of Saul and makes him king over the rest of Israel. So, it looks like David’s going to be killing some Jews after all. But I guess it’s totally cool since they’re not the Lord’s anointed.
The next part plays out like a farce.
David’s army and Abner’s army are facing each other, and Abner calls out and says, “Hey, why don’t we each send some soldiers out to fight each other and see who wins?” Joab agrees. So each army sends out 12 guys to fight.
And these guys line up, square off… and promptly kill each other so that all 24 of them are dead.
Abner: Huh… well, that kinda seems like a bad idea now.
Abner: So what we do now?
Joab: I guess we fight.
Abner loses, his army is in retreat, and Joab and his brothers are chasing him. One of the brothers runs faster than any man and catches up to Abner. Abner says, “I don’t want to kill you, kid. Joab’s the kind of guy who holds grudges.”
But the kid doesn’t listen, so Abner runs him through with the butt end of his spear.
Eventually Abner calls out to Joab and says, “Dude, it’s enough. How long are you going to chase us for?”
Joab: Oh, alright. Everyone back to camp.
And the battle was over, I guess. War was a lot different then, I guess. I’m trying to imagine like, back in 2002, the US is bombing the hell out of Iraq and Saddam sticks his head out of his palace window and says, “Dudes? Seriously? How long are you going to do this?” And the US just goes, “Eh…. Okay, I guess he’s had enough…”
So the war continued and more and more people are flocking to David’s banner. David also has sex with his wives, “I mean… they’re no Jonathan, but I guess they’re okay,” he thinks. So David has lots of kids who will be important to the story later.
Speaking of sex, apparently Abner has been shagging one of Saul’s former sex slaves, which I guess was a big deal in that culture. I think it meant that you were laying claim to the dead king’s property and that included his title. So Saul’s son says, “Dude? What’s up with that?”
Abner freaks, “Hey, I’ve been loyal to you from day one. I could have killed you and given the kingdom over to David, and you’re upset over me having some good times with a woman? You know what? I’m totally going to make David king now. How do you like that?”
And Saul’s son, I’m guessing was kind of a wuss, because he doesn’t do anything.
So Abner calls David up…
Abner: I’m defecting to you and will help you get the kingdom.
David: Okay, but bring my wife Michal or no deal.
So Abner goes and gets Michal who has apparently remarried in David’s absence which would make her polygamous which would be a big no-no for a woman. And her new husband apparently loves her and follower her and Abner for a while before Abner tells him to get lost.
So Abner gets together with the tribal leaders and says, “Hey, David’s going to be the new king now, any objections?”
Then Abner goes and has dinner with David and leaves saying he’s going to go do some more stump speeches to convince everyone to join up with David. David is cool with that and lets him leave.
But then Joab shows up and finds out that Abner was there and left in peace, so he yells at David that Abner is a spy, and Joab sends messengers out to chase Abner down and bring him back. And then Joab kills him. David’s like, “Oh, I’m totally innocent of killing the man in charge of the army of my rival. It was totally Joab. Curse him and his anger and his family…but I’m definitely not going to punish him. We should all probably act really sad though, so tear your clothes and I’ll not eat anything until sundown. But again, this is EXACTLY how it went down… it is TOTALLY Joab’s fault, not mine…”
People: Oh, okay, sound good to us.