Betrayal is not only a tragedy, it is devastating
Zeruiah, King David’s sister had three sons who were some of his absolutely top-ranking generals… a dream-team for every leader.
However something was extremely wrong.
”Also the mighty warriors were Asahel the brother of Joab…” 1Chr. 11,26.
One day Abner, the Commander of Saul’s army and twelve of the servants of Saul’s son Ishbosheth met Joab and twelve of the servants of David and they fought. The men of Abner were beaten by the men of David. However Asahel was present and decided to pursue Abner and kill him. Asahel was offered to stop the pursuit but he refused… and Abner killed him. Joab and Abishai decided to revenge their brother but changed their mind. Read the blood-dripping narrative in 2Sam. 2.
”Now David said, “Whoever attacks the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain.” And Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and became chief. Then David dwelt in the stronghold; therefore they called it the City of David.” 1Chr. 11,6-7
Some time after the above-mentioned events Abner and twenty of his men decided to leave King Saul and join David who actually welcomed him with a great. This decision was a provocation for Joab who was in rage:
“What have you done? Look, Abner came to you; why is it that you sent him away, and he has already gone.” 2Sam 3,24
Things escalated and came out of control:
”And when Joab had gone from David’s presence, he sent messengers after Abner, who brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know it. Now when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him privately, and there stabbed him in the stomach, so that he died for the blood of Asahel his brother.” 2Sam 3,26-27
Long story short… Abner died and David mourned deeply, but not only that:
”Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes, gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn for Abner.” And King David followed the coffin. So they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept.And the king sang a lament over Abner and said:
“Should Abner die as a fool dies? Your hands were not bound nor your feet put into fetters; As a man falls before wicked men, so you fell.”
Then all the people wept over him again.
And when all the people came to persuade David to eat food while it was still day, David took an oath, saying, “God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else till the sun goes down!” Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, since whatever the king did pleased all the people. For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king’s intent to kill Abner the son of Ner. Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? And I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too harsh for me. The Lord shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.”
“Abishai the brother of Joab was chief of another three. He had lifted up his spear against three hundred men, killed them, and won a name among these three.” 1Chr. 11,20
Abishai ranked as a general in command second only to his brother Joab. By saving David's life and by the slaughter of three hundred warriors, he secured a prominent place among the king's bodyguard. He was as relentless and cruel toward his foes as he was loyal to his family and king. David's moderation alone restrained him from slaying Saul as he lay asleep in his camp. With Joab, Abishai treacherously murdered Abner in revenge for the death of their brother Asahel
King David, the sons of Zeruiah and Solomon
So we have these three mighty men, nephews to King David and among his highest ranked generals. Years later the aged king passed his kingdom to his son Solomon, and the situation was like this:
”Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the Lord may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ “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.”
How come the man after God’s heart speak like this about his own nephews who were the mightiest in the nation: Do not let his gray hair go down to the grave in peace!
Mighty, talented, loyal soldiers and leaders but definitely out of order!
The blood of Abel
“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.” Hebr. 11,4
Abel was called righteous by Jesus and placed in the lineage of murdered prophets (Matt. 23,35). His sacrifice was more excellent than his brother’s.
Cain’s famous question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” which is not answered by God because it is the wrong question. Maybe also because the answer was self-evident. However it might not be what we have heard preached about in church: Of course you are. My answer is simple: ‘No, you are not your brother’s keeper, you are much more than that. God is your brother’s Father, keeper and protector. You are your brother’s brother which means that you are both born in the same House and carry a common destiny and mandate. Together with your fathers Adam and Eve. But you have betrayed all of it.’
So the core of the matter is not the lack of brotherly care but betrayal of destiny. And the death of Abel is still speaking. We must listen, consider, and align.
The evil and mandate-murderous seed of betrayal
It was the first betrayal leading to murder, but the seed continued to affect destiny-relationships. Abram betrayed Sarai as he let her enter the harem of the Egyptian Pharaoh putting their common mandate and destiny at stake.
The seed of betrayal was present in the following generations: Jacob had to flee from Esau his brother who was determined to kill him. The brothers of Joseph sold him to foreigners.
The seed of betrayal was present in King David’s family.
Even among the first generation of New Covenant believers, the forerunners and apostolic fathers, the seed was present, and Judas was contaminated.
The seed of betrayal has been present inside God’s House through all the centuries.
It’s time to address this presence in a conscious, determined and eradicating way.
Chaos in the inner man is not OK. Compassion is not enough. Judgment has to be pronounced and executed so righteousness, peace and joy can be restored... and legacy secured.
Toxic relationships are not OK. Talent is not enough. In some situations it's in order to walk out of the relationship…
Philip DuPont (May 2021)
NB: For more on this matter, read the last chapter of my book CROSS OVER.