Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary

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II Samuel 2

Chapter 2

 

v. 23:  It may be that the butts of their spears were sometimes sharpened to stick in the ground[1], but the NKJV says Abner struck with the “blunt” end of the spear.  Whatever the case, Abner appears only to want to stop Asahel’s pursuit, not to kill him.  Why else would he have used the less efficient end of his spear?  We already know Abner did not want kill Asahel from v. 22, so Asahel’s death must have been an accident as well as an unusual testament to Abner’s strength.

I have always thought the conversation between Abner and Asahel in vs. 20-22 difficult to explain logistically.  If Asahel was remarkable for being able to run as swiftly as a gazelle (v. 18), and if he was close enough to converse with Abner at the beginning of the pursuit (v. 20), how could Abner have had the leisure to talk with him as he does in vs. 20-22? However, I suppose that Abner may have been riding something (perhaps a mule or chariot) as he fled from Asahel.  This would accommodate both the leisure Abner had to converse with a pursuing Asahel as well as Asahel’s capacity to run as swiftly as a gazelle.


[1] I Samuel 26:7 may describe an instance of this.  Of course, they may have simply thrust their spears point downward into the ground, but that seems bad for the blades.

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