Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us.” “All right, let them do it,” Joab said.

2 Samuel 2:14 (NIV)

What was the purpose of this activity?

Some say that it was a means of settling conflict without engaging all the men. The King James version uses the word “play” to indicate that it was for sport or amusement. The notion that no one wanted to fight against their fellow Israelites is another theory.

Whatever the purpose, it riled the men up to fight resulting in the deaths of far more than 24 men.

I get the sense that Abner was older and more experienced since he was the commander of Israel’s army while Joab later became the commander of the army. So Joab might have agreed to this contest out of pride and the desire to best Abner, a more experienced commander. Abner might also have been baiting Joab.

Pride can lead to all sorts of disastrous things. Joab lost his brother Asahel this day because Asahel pursued Abner for the glory of killing him. A much more experienced man. This resulted in Asahel’s death and Abner’s later on because Joab gets revenge by killing him.

We see this same sort of behavior with Herod and John (Matthew 14:1-12). It was due to Herod’s pride that he had John executed.

Don’t rise to the cry of pride. While there are many ways we are tempted, one of them, “the pride of life,” will challenge us to prove ourselves. However, we have nothing we need to prove to God. He knows our hearts.

This daily devotion was brought to you today unedited and without preamble. I thank you for stopping by and pray this day finds you well.