David or Joab?

“And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.”

II Samuel 3:39


“And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?”

II Samuel 16:10


“And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?”

II Samuel 19:22


  1. Imagine a family tree with Jesse at the top, as the father of a militaristic clan in Bethlehem of Judah.
    1. For the sake of this family tree, Jesse had 8 sons and 2 daughters, Zeruiah and Abigail.
    2. Zeruiah had 3 sons, who were therefore David’s nephews: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel.
    3. These three nephews served valiantly in David’s protection and service for many years.
    4. Abigail had one son by a man named Ithra and Jether, Amasa, who was general for Absalom.
    5. This man would have been Joab’s first cousin and Absalom’s first cousin and David’s nephew.
  2. However, as our text declares above, these nephews were too hard for David’s gentle spirit.
    1. Joab killed Abner out of revenge for the legitimate death of Asahel in battle (II Sam 2:22-27).
    2. Joab killed Absalom against direct orders of David not to kill the young man (II Sam 18:9-17).
    3. Joab killed Amasa out of envy for his promotion over him (II Sam 20:4-13).
    4. Joab and/or Abishai wanted to kill King Saul when the Lord gave him to them (I Sam 24:4; 26:8).
    5. David rebuked Abishai on two occasions for wanting to kill Shimei (II Samuel 16:10; 19:22).
    6. David told Solomon on his deathbed to kill Joab, which he did (I Kings 2:5-6,28-34).
  3. David is superior to Joab, from the same family tree, as light excels darkness, as measured by spirit.
  4. Joab’s are losers in this life and the next; David’s are winners in this life and the next. Choose today!
  5. The New Testament example is the evil spirit of James and John toward Samaritans (Luke 9:49-56).

Which Are You Most Like?

  1. David or Joab? Are you known by your words and actions toward others as gentle or harsh?
  2. Do you tend to envy and strife in your heart or peacemaking and gentleness (James 3:14-18)?
  3. Are you often bitter and harsh or are you usually kind and tenderhearted (Eph 4:31-32)?
  4. Gentleness is a godly trait of great men of God, for it takes much more strength to be gentle.
  5. When you have enemies, how do you treat them? Are you tender to them (Job 31:29-31)?
  6. Is your speech always with salt and seasoned with grace or always with grace (Col 4:6)?
  7. Do you love the opportunity to return a blessing upon someone who curses you (I Pet 3:8-9)?
  8. Blameless and harmless sons of God never allow disputings or murmurings (Phil 2:14-16)!
  9. Do you look like a son of God by your gracious care and kindness of enemies (Mat 5:43-48)?
  10. Can you … will you … live peaceably with all men … and find it in yourself (Rom 12:18)?
  11. Since we are most familiar and relaxed and uninhibited with family, how are you at home?
  12. Wife, are you doing anything to hurt, resist, or trouble your lord, like Abishai (Prov 31:11)?
  13. Wife, do you remember that you were created for him, and not him for you (I Cor 11:9)?
  14. Husband, are you still cheering up a wife, or has that gone the way of all flesh (Deut 24:5)?
  15. Husband, do you use your authority as a club or as a tool for perfecting her (Eph 5:25-27)?
  16. Father, do you expect too much and discourage your children by your demands (Col 3:21)?
  17. Children, of any age, do you obey and honor your parents, or are you unruly (Eph 6:1-3)?
  18. Employee, are you the most cheerful, cooperative, and optimistic you can be (Titus 2:9-10)?
  19. Master, are you fair and kind and gracious in your treatment of your employees (Eph 6:9)?
  20. Do you talk about the government like David or a profane Joab (II Pet 2:10-12; Jude 1:8-10)?
  21. Are you the fastest person in your home to say you are sorry and to forgive those who are?
  22. Do you love to overlook the faults of others and never say anything negative about anyone?
  23. Are you a peacemaker, quickly sensing a conflict brewing and helping put it to death?
  24. Do you rejoice to forgive your enemies, bless them, serve them, and love them in Christ?
  25. Before you can get in your bed tonight, you will have opportunities to be David or Joab!
  26. David or Joab? Joab’s family ended in oblivion, but David’s son is on God’s throne forever!