At the end of Shmuel 2 chapter 3, Joab kills Avner. Why was King David so upset and sad over his death? From reading the Tanach, it seems as if he barely knew Avner and Avner was not fond of the house of David or the tribe of Judah. It seems as if he hated Judah.

Could it be that David put on a show for the people so as to say "Hey, it wasn't me who killed him"? The reason I ask this is because right when David hears of Avners death he claims the innocence of his kingdom. Did he foresee a war with Israel if the people thought him responsible?

The reason I ask this is because David did something similar to save his life. He pretended to be insane when Saul was after him, and he had to hide in a Philistine city so that nobody would discover him.

I apologize in advance if what I'm saying is offensive to anyone. I'd just like a little more clarity as to why David was so sad and lamented Avner's death to such a high degree.

  • 2
    I have no sources but obviously 1. It is not good for national security to have civil war. 2. Maybe he was worried that now Joav is a murderer he would "lose" his "zchus" to be successful in battle. In addition, David knew he was supposed to administer justice but could not do so. (However he doesn't forget the incident and calls on Shlomo to execute justice for him)
    – CashCow
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


David earlier called Avner "a man, and who is there like you in Israel" (2 Shmuel 26:15), so he knew him pretty well at least by reputation.

Also, the point of the story there is that Avner was now ready to be friendly with David and his tribe, after he fell out with Ish Boshes. And when he was killed he was on his way to unite all the tribes together under David's rule, so David would have had good reason to mourn his death, especially if (like CashCow says) it could lead to civil war.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .