In our last study of the will of David we managed studied the instruction of David. 

1. The 1st will is to be strong and keep Gods commandment

Now lets continue by looking at the second instruction from King David

The Second Will : To Judge And Execute Joab

“Moreover you know also what 
  Joab the son of Zeruiah did to
  me, and what he did to the two
  commanders of the armies of
  Israel, to Abner the son of Ner
  and Amasa the son of Jether,
  whom he killed. And he shed
  the blood of war in peacetime,
  and put the blood of war on his
  belt that was around his waist,
  and on his sandals that were on
  his feet. Therefore do according
  to your wisdom, and do not let his
  gray hair go down to the grave in
  peace.” –David (1 King 2:5-6)

The second will of King David is for Solomon to judge Joab. We read a bit about Joab when we studied the incident where King David numbered Israel. It seem to us that Joab is a good man who dare to speak against the King when he is about to sin.

That makes us wonder “Why did David gave instruction to kill him?”

To understand the matter clearly, we need to look closer at the character of Joab.

Who is Joab?

Joab was the commander of David’s Army. At the very beginning when David ascended the throne at Hebron, Joab was the commander of the army. He led the armies of David against the armies of Saul in 2 Sam 2. When David took the throne of Israel, he was put in charge of the Army as well.  (2 Sam 8:16)

During his career as the commander of the armies of Israel, he led Israel to fight against the Ammonites and the Syrians in 2 Sam 10. He was a skilled tactician and a good soldier. This could be seen in 2 Sam 12 where Joab was sent to take Rabbah, the royal city of the Ammonites. He took the water supply of the enemies and he allowed King David to enter the city so that the city will not be named after himself.

Joab supported King David during the rebellion of Absalom and when he was told that Absalom had his hair caught onto the tree. He ignores the order from king David and killed Absalom.

He was the one who stood bravely against the King and advised him against numbering of Israel.

It appears that Joab is a fine general who contributed much to the Kingdom of Israel. Why then did David instruct Solomon to kill him?

The Sins Of Joab

Even though Joab had did well on many occasions. But he had committed many evil as well. God had given him blessings and grace for the good he had done. But he needs to be punished for the evil he did. 

David listed 2 of his sins, for Joab had murdered 2 commanders of Israel. The names of the commanders are Abner and Amasa. Let us look into the killings one by one

Joab Killing Abner

Let us first consider Joab killing of Abner. Abner was the commander of the army of the house of Saul. In 2 Sam chapter 2, he was defeated by Joab and fled the battlefield. Asahel the brother of Joab chased him.

As Asahel gave pursued Abner, Abner tried to convince him to turn back. 

“Turn  aside from following me.
  Why should I   strike you to the
  ground? How then could I face
  your brother Joab?” – Abner (2 Sam 2:22)

The next verse tells us what happened in the end

“However, he refused to turn aside.
  Therefore Abner struck him in the
  stomach with the blunt end of the
  spear, so that the spear came out of his
  back; and he fell down there and died
  on the spot. So it was that as many as
  came to the place where Asahel fell
  down and died, stood still.” – (2 Sam 2:23 )

The fact is that Abner had killed Asahel the brother of Joab. But we know that Abner did not meant to kill him,  he did it out of self defence. Abner did not use the sharp end of the spear to attack Asahel. He used the blunt end which indicated that he did not want to kill Asahel. This is a fact that many knew in Israel 

On the surface, it looks like Joab killed Abner for the sake of avenging his brother. But that is not the true reason. At the time of the murder, Abner was planning to leave the house of Saul and gather Israel to the house of David. David accepted the service of Abner. When Joab heard of this he was furious.  

“What have you done? Look, Abner
  came to you; why is it that you sent
  him away, and he has already gone? 
  Surely you realize that Abner the son
  of Ner came to deceive you, to know
  your going out and your coming in,
  and to know all that you are doing.”- Joab (2 Sam 3:24-25)

He went before David and questioned his acceptance of Abner.  Joab suspect the loyalty of Abner. But his real worry was that he was fearful that David may choose Abner as commander alongside with him. That will mean that Joab need to share his power with Abner  

Therefore he sent messengers to Abner, behind the kings back. When Abner was tricked into returning to Hebron Joab took him aside to speak privately to him. He stabbed Abner in his stomach.

The main motivation behind his murder was jealousy. Though some may disagree and feel that this was an act of revenge. This jealousy could be seen clearly in his second murder. 

It was jealousy that motivated Joab to kill Amasa. Let us consider the character Amasa

Who Is Amasa?

The bible tells us Amasa was the cousin of Joab

“And Absalom made Amasa captain
  of the army instead of Joab. This Amasa
  was the son of a man whose name was
  Jithra, an Israelite, who had gone in to
  Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister of
  Zeruiah, Joab’s mother.” – (2 Sam 17:25)

This clearly tells us that Amasa is the cousin of Joab. why did Joab killed Amasa his cousin?

The bible recorded the words of King David after the rebellion of Absalom

“And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone
  and my flesh? God do so to me, and more
  also, if you are not commander of the army
  before me continually in place of Joab.’”- David (2 Sam 19:13)

David wanted to make Amasa commander in place of Joab. This invoked his jealousy. This jealousy drove him kill Amasa his cousin. What is interesting is the method he used to murder Amasa. His ruthlessness could be seen clearly.

Joab Killed Amasa His Cousin

“When they were at the large stone
  which is in Gibeon, Amasa came
  before them. Now Joab was dressed
  in battle armor; on it was a belt
  with a sword fastened in its sheath
  at his hips; and as he was going
  forward, it fell out.

  Then Joab said to Amasa, “Are you
  in health, my brother?” And Joab
  took Amasa by the beard with his
  right hand to kiss him.  But Amasa
  did not notice the sword that was in
  Joab’s hand. And he struck him with
  it in the stomach, and his entrails
  poured out on the ground; and he did
  not strike him again. Thus he died.”- (2 Sam 20:8-10)

Joab deliberately allowed his sword to fall out of its sheath, he took up the sword and greeted his cousin. He pulled him by his beard and kiss him, Amasa did not notice the sword that is in his hand. He would not have expected his cousin would make an attempt on his life.

He pulled Amasa his cousin close to him, and struck him in the stomach and his entrails poured out on the ground. Joab did not kill Amasa out of revenge, he did it because David is appointing Amasa as Commander in place of him.

It was suppose to be a good news to have a cousin to fight alongside to Joab. But when Joab heard the news, he took the chance to get rid of Amasa. For now he is a threat to his position and power.

Why Is there A Need To Judge Joab For The Sin?

David kept Abner and Amasa for the sake of the Kingdom of Israel. It is easy to draft thousands of soldiers, but it is hard to find a good commander. Amasa and Abner were more than soldiers, they were generals with commanding qualities. Having talents like that in the kingdom will allow the armies to become stronger.

But Joab cared only for his wealth and power, he is concerned only for his own benefits and not the wellbeing of the nation of Israel. Even though he may be a talented general, he will bring more harm than benefits.

Joab is a hero who fought for his country, he had also kept the commandments of God on occasion.  But his heart of jealousy is too strong, and it led him to go against the commandments of God.


As Christian we must be willing to serve God and work alongside with other brethren. That is why we need to ask God to preserve us so that we would not be like Joab. We must be willing to accommodate with other co-workers and work peacefully with them

Let us not be like Joab who kill others out of a jealous heart. Let us learn to seek benefits for the kingdom of God and not for ourselves.