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Abner

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A son of Ner, a cousin of Saul, and commander-in-chief of Saul's army ( 1 Samuel 14:50 ; 17:55 ; 26:5, 7, 14 ). After Saul with three of his sons had fallen at Mount Gelboe, Abner made Isboseth, the fourth son of Saul, king over the whole land of Israel excepting Judea, which adhered to David. For seven years and a half Abner fought for the throne of Isboseth. After his defeat near Gabaon, he was hotly pursued by Asael, brother of Joab, who was David's commander-in-chief, and in self-defense he reluctantly slew his enemy ( 2 Samuel 2:12 sq. ). This embittered the hostility between the two factions, since Joab considered himself the avenger of his brother Asael. Abner now married Respha, a concubine of Saul, and thus incurred the suspicion of aspiring to the throne. Isboseth remonstrated with the warrior, and the latter became so angry that he made advances to David. David demanded that Abner should first restore to him his wife Michol, daughter of Saul, who had been given to Phaltiel. Abner complied with this condition, and came to a full understanding with David. After his departure Joab, David's commander-in-chief, sent for him, and killed him at the city gate. David bewailed Abner, made Joab walk in mourning-garb before Abner's bier, and on his death-bed enjoined on Solomon to avenge Abner's murder.


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