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2 Samuel 3:6-8

Context
Abner Defects to David’s Camp

3:6 As the war continued between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was becoming more influential 1  in the house of Saul. 3:7 Now Saul had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. Ish-bosheth 2  said to Abner, “Why did you have sexual relations with 3  my father’s concubine?” 4 

3:8 These words of Ish-bosheth really angered Abner and he said, “Am I the head of a dog that belongs to Judah? This very day I am demonstrating 5  loyalty to the house of Saul your father and to his relatives 6  and his friends! I have not betrayed you into the hand of David. Yet you have accused me of sinning with this woman today! 7 

1 tn Heb “was strengthening himself.” The statement may have a negative sense here, perhaps suggesting that Abner was overstepping the bounds of political propriety in a self-serving way.

2 tc The Hebrew of the MT reads simply “and he said,” with no expressed subject for the verb. It is not likely that the text originally had no expressed subject for this verb, since the antecedent is not immediately clear from the context. We should probably restore to the Hebrew text the name “Ish-bosheth.” See a few medieval Hebrew mss, Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, and Vulgate. Perhaps the name was accidentally omitted by homoioarcton. Note that both the name Ishbosheth and the following preposition אֶל (’el) begin with the letter alef.

3 tn Heb “come to”; KJV, NRSV “gone in to”; NAB “been intimate with”; NIV “sleep with.”

4 sn This accusation against Abner is a very serious one, since an act of sexual infringement on the king’s harem would probably have been understood as a blatant declaration of aspirations to kingship. As such it was not merely a matter of ethical impropriety but an act of grave political significance as well.

5 tn Heb “I do.”

6 tn Heb “brothers.”

7 tn Heb “and you have laid upon me the guilt of the woman today.”



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