Verses 26-34 "As a fool dieth?"
Verse 31: Rend your mantle (not clothes). Sackcloth—burlap (sign of mourning). Bier also called
"wheel" in Ecclesiastes 12:6. You only lament over the dead, not when someone is alive.
Abner died, King David lamented (cried for the dead). Usually praise the dead today. Then King
David said that Abner died "as a fool dieth?" The story goes like this: Abner killed Joab's brother, Isahel.
Then they killed Abner—the avenging of blood here. Only two ways of escape, 1) run to one of the six
cities of refuge; 2) put up both hands in front of the avenger and claim pardon in the name of somebody
else's merit—a well respected person. (He cannot simply say he did not know his grandfather killed
anybody.) Once saved by claiming a pardon of Muhatma Ghandi, the saved one wants to magnify
Ghandi in front of everyone in the city. (See note after Ezekiel 10:46.)
Verse 33: Then Abner fled to Hebron, one of the cities of refuge. Joab came to Hebron and called
Abner to the gates of the city to speak to him quietly. But Abner was foolish enough to leave his refuge
and was murdered. He was a fool to go to the gates. We are fools if we leave Jesus Christ, our refuge,
and his fellowship (correspondence to the "prodigal son"). This is what happens when we leave the
security that Christ has provided for us (if we break fellowship), which is danger. Renew our minds and
fight the Adversary. We cause all our own problems... we go to the gates ourselves.
Verses 31-33 As a fool dieth.
Verse 33: "Died Abner as a fool dieth?" Avenging of blood: If John kills Pete, Pete's relatives will
be after John's family (the male members) for four or five generations. The one sought after has two
alternatives. He can run to one of the six cities of refuge (and will be safe as long as the high priest is
alive), or he can lift up his hand and call on the name of a person who is highly respected in the city.
Abner killed someone in battle and that person's relative, Joab, went after Abner, who fled to Hebron, a
city of refuge. Joab could not go into Hebron to get Abner, so he called him to the gate deceitfully. Joab
got him to step outside of the city and then killed him, so Abner died like a fool. We call upon the name
of the Lord to be saved. Then we live, move and have our being in God, which is our city of refuge. We
should stay our minds on him and abide there. Lose fellowship and security when we step outside. We
are miserable in a foreign land which is whatever is not peace-bringing and joy-filled. When we take our
eyes off Christ, we are in a foreign land. Then in Devil's land. Walk by the spirit rather than by the
carnal mind. Keep mind on Christ. If thinking is wrong, change it according to the Word.
A beggar is one who does not want to become a son of God, but only wants to beg bread. A person
who is not born again is only an outsider who begs bread and God is merciful to throw a crust of bread on
the dogs. They want to stay on the outside and still get something from God. Those who teach only the
psychology of the Bible, and not the new birth, are like dogs who beg bread; e.g. Christian Science; Unity
School of Christianity; Norman Vincent Peale.
We are joint-heirs and sons because the whole message of God's Word is for us, not just the crumbs.
No matter how much we know, if we do not practice it, we are failures. Renewed mind on the Word gives
victory and success as sons. Bums get a million dollars. Why should God's sons be any less successful?
We shouldn't be! We lack money because we do not know how to receive it. Must learn how to make a
decree and claim what God has for us. We must know our rights in Christ. He heals our wounds, soothes
our sorrows and drives away all our fears.
Verse 33 "As a fool dieth." This question is asked of people in a funeral service.
Verse 30: Gives the story of Abner's death. Two ways for protection: 1) Hold up your hand and call
on the name of famous person; and 2) Six cities of refuge (Numbers 35: 6-32). One of these is Hebron (I
Chronicles 6:57). Read whole chapter to get context.
Abner would not have been killed if he had remained in the city of refuge. He was a fool to leave.
Christ Jesus is our city of refuge. Just as Abner should not have walked out of the city of Hebron, we
should not walk out of Christ, but rather walk in Christ.
"Died Abner as a fool dieth?" This is an avenging of blood story. David did not praise the man that
was dead, but rather said this. Go back to verse 30 for the start of the story. Abner was killed by Joab
and Abishai because he had slain their brother, Asable, at Gibeon in the battle. This is the avenging of
blood. Abner fled to Hebron—he was safe in the city of Hebron. Joab and Abishai couldn't kill him
there. They called to Abner to come to the gate and this foolish man came to the gate. He shouldn't have.
He was safe inside. When he came to the gate, they smote him in the ribs and he died. David said at the
funeral, "Abner died as a fool dieth." Abner had security, safety, inside of the city of refuge. But by
coming out to the gate, he was killed—no more protection. Read the whole chapter for details.
Abner was the cause of his death. We are the cause of our failures today because we, as Abner, fail
to dwell in the city of refuge. Our city of refuge is Christ. The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The
righteous runneth to it and are saved. When we come out and compromise with the world, we fail and
suffer agony, even though we're saved. We suffer needless pain, frustrations, defeats and crisis, simply
because we refuse to abide in Christ, but go after the world's way instead. We should be enjoying peace
and contentment—not agony and paia—but, we bring it to ourselves. We can have peace if we do his
will and serve him (stay in fellowship). Abner could have remained there until the high priest died. He
needed not answer them. Jesus stood on the Word of God when the Devil tempted him in Matthew 4:4.
We must go back to the Word. We should stay in God's security—not that of the world. We should not
depart from the family of faith once we are born again. Let us not be as a fool that dieth. By choice, he
could die or live. The same choice is ours today. We can choose God's will and reign in life.
Verses 1-7 Ark of God. The ark was a blessing to the children of Israel and the Philistines took it. The
ark is a chest made up of akesia wood. In that chest there were two angels facing each other, a golden pot
of manna and the scrolls. Wherever the people carried it, it was a blessing. It was carried by men. They
never forgot to carry it.
The Philistines took the ark as a booty in the war. It was a curse to the Philistines and not a blessing
as it was to Israel. The Philistines put the ark in a bull cart and took it to their land. Wherever they kept
it, it was trouble to them. So they put it outside their jurisdiction, outside their land. David heard the ark
was there, so he took his people to get it. They took it and put it in an ox cart. The cart shook and the ark
also. So, the driver was going to grab it so that it wouldn't fall—good intentions. God smote him for his
error. A high price.
What did Uzzah do wrong? The ark was to be carried by a chosen people on their shoulders, by the
priestly class. The Brahmins in India carry an ark today, too. Not the same one. This was the priest
class, the Levites, that carried the ark. They put the ark on top of poles on top of the men's shoulders.
The Philistines didn't have qualified men to carry it, so they put it in a new ox cart. David did the same
thing when he went to get it. He was doing God's work in man's way. He should have carried it God's
way. Failing to do God's will caused the crisis. We have to do God's will in God's way.
Spiritual application: God would have all to be saved by His Son. The world tries to earn salvation
by their good works. Many crisises, just as David here, we create for ourselves through ignorance or
disobedience to the will of God. When you're saved, it's done God's way. The world's way is not the way
to solve our problems. By doing God's will, we'll avoid crises in our lives.
Verses 3-7 Ark of God. The ark was given by God to Israel. Wherever the ark was, the people were
blessed. The Philistines took the ark in a battle as part of their booty (spoils of war). The Philistines had
no qualified men to carry the ark. God told Israel who should carry it and how. The Philistines made a
new cart and put the ark in the cart. They drove it. Wherever the Philistines went, they were cursed, just
as Israel had been blessed, so they took the cart outside of their border. David heard of this. They put the
ark in a new cart and drove it away. Ussah was driving—tried to catch the ark when the ox cart shook.
He died. David was displeased because the man was killed.
The point was, it was a good intention. People say, "As long as your heart's right, it's okay to do
what you want to. As long as your motive is right, God looks at your heart. It's okay." Not so. Why did
David face this chaos?
God told David only the Levites, the priest class, were to carry the ark. The ark was a chest made of
shittim wood. Contained Aaron's rod, golden pot of manna and books of law. It had two angels facing
each other guarding the ark. The ark was placed on two poles, carried by four men, two in back and two
in front. When David went and got the ark, he introduced the Philistine method of doing it, rather than
God's way. God's work must be done God's way and not world's way. Whatever we do, do it as unto the
Lord and not unto men. David's motives were good, good intentions, but not the Word. You may be
sincere, even sincerely blind. They tried to substitute sincerity for truth. Do God's work in God's way.
Verses 4-7 Ark of covenant. Ark is a chest made of shittem wood. It is 3'x2'x2' and is carried on two
poles. On top of ark are two angels built up facing each other. Inside the ark is golden pot of manna,
commandments of God on stone tables, Aaron's rod that budded. Israel carried the ark wherever they
went because wherever it was, there was a blessing. At one time there was a war between the Philistines
and the Israelites. The Philistines took the ark as part of their booty. They put it in an ox cart and took it
to their country. That which had been a blessing to Israel became a curse to the Philistines, so they threw
it away outside of their boundary. David heard about it and set out to get it. He made a new cart for the
ark and Uzzah drove it. The cart shook with the ark in it and Uzzah put his hand out to steady it. He
died as a result and David became very angry. What was wrong with Uzzah putting his hand on the ark?
When God gave the ark to Israel, He said that it should be carried by four men specially selected from the
priest class who carried it on poles on their shoulders. The Philistines did not have qualified men to carry
it, so they put it in a cart. David followed suit and he had no business to do that. Neither did Uzzah have
any business touching it, because he was not qualified. David did not do it God's way, but the Philistine's
way. It is not enough to do God's work. We must do God's work in God's way—not the world's way.
God's way is the successful way. The world's way is defeat. We have victory through Christ. The
believers in the grace administration do not seem to receive the immediate consequences for disobedience
of God as the people in the Old Testament did. We are saved from sins as far as God is concerned, but
still reap what we sow. Sincerity is no guarantee for truth—a man may be sincerely drunk.
Verse 6 See Matthew 3:11,12.
Verse 7 Story about Philistines taking the ark of God. Wherever the Philistines took the ark, they had
trouble. That which was a blessing to Israel, was a curse to the others. The Philistines had no one to
carry the ark, so they placed it in an ox cart. When David went to get the ark, he placed it in a new ox
cart (II Samuel 6:3). Uzzah was the driver of the cart and as they crossed a threshing floor, the cart shook
the ark, and Uzzah reached out to hold it from falling. When he touched it, he died. The ark should be
carried by the priest class. David used the method of the Philistines rather than the method of God. (See
Exodus 37:5, Joshua 3:15.) David was sincere and so was Uzzah. Sincerity is no guarantee for truth; we
should do God's work in God's way, not in the method of the world. Follow the method of Christ.
Verse 16 Usually when an ark or idol is taken, it is carried. The hired dancers who are Hindus, go in
front and dance the rituals according to the Hindu religion. They don't dress properly, put on little
clothing, dance and praise God, attract a crowd and act like a fool.
Verse 19 "Flagon of wine." A loaf of bread and a good piece of flesh is enough to feed the body—"the
cake of a pressed grape"—this is the spiritual part because it is supposed to strengthen the heart of man.
Verses 19-22 Background: At one time there was a war between Israel and the Philistines and the ark
of God was taken by the Philistines as booty. Everywhere the Philistines kept the ark was accursed.
Blessing to Israel. David went to bring the ark back when he knew where it was. But, the first time he
went there, he put ark in an ox cart and God's anger was kindled against the man who touched it. He was
accursed to David. He was doing God's work in man's way—should be done in God' s way.
Philistines, because they hadn't any authorized men to carry the ark, had put it in an ox cart. David
did so, too. He should have taken his qualified men and let them carry it upon their shoulders, not in ox
cart. He faced a crisis. He did it right the second time-came back home and celebrated.
Verse 19: Flagon of wine—cake of raisins; stands for blessing and prosperity. Raisins are
strengthening and a dessert and blessing. Raisins also stand for strength.
Verse 20 He danced naked in the sense of kings. He did not take off all his clothes. "Shamelessly
uncovereth himself" means he did not have as much clothes on as the rest of the people.
Verses 20-23 Uncovered himself and danced before the ark. People will take off most of their clothing
and dance before their god. David here dances before the ark—expresses the joy of the victory.
Verse 23 Many of the people who have no children are despised because they think that is a result of
some of the bad deeds they have done in the last life, in the previous incarnation. They believe in
reincarnation. No woman should be without children; therefore, she must have done some awful things.
To have an offspring is a blessing to the Orientals, especially to the women.
Verse 8 This is an oriental saying. He was comparing himself to a dead dog. I Samuel 24:24.
Dead dog. An expression of humility. Eastern dogs are not pampered. They are never touched. A
dog, while he was alive, depressed humiliation.
Verse 4 Shaved off half his beard. This is one way to disgrace the people. To shave the beard is a
disgrace and to cut off the garments in the middle. During marriage ceremony, for 10 days the boys sit
around and joke with the bridegroom (give him fake candy, tell barber to shave half of groom just for
fun). Bishops mentions barber in his hometown who would shave you for free (paid by town). It's a
disgrace to shave yourself.
Verses 1ff In the Orient, we have lambs for pets. We fasten jewelry around their necks and bathe them
daily. As a pet, our lamb compares with your pet dogs. The lambs sleep near the master. They are not
killed or sold, but die in the master's house. If you should happen to attack a lamb, it is the same as
attacking a child of the family.
Verse 3 A civil war will sometimes break out in a town because someone touched his lamb. It is like
touching or attacking a son or daughter. Here it was not a question of a poor man having the lamb. The
questions was that the lamb was brought up as it was. There is such a personal affection attached to it. A
lamb may only cost $2 in the East, but such a lamb could not be replaced with a million dollars because of
the sentimental value.
Ewe lamb. A female lamb. We have dogs for pets. In East, you must wash your hands if you touch
one. Dogs never are in houses, always without; same with cats. Lambs are looked upon as their own
children. The shepherds take care of the sheep by themselves. Sheep are as your own children. That's
why the shepherd himself was in the door of the sheepfold. Jesus said, "I am the door of the sheep."
Shepherd doesn't sleep during night. "He that keepeth Israel does not slumber nor sleep."
The shepherd would sacrifice his life for his own sheep because they were as his own children. Jesus
laid down his life for us. The sheep are the apple of the shepherd's eye. "I pray not for the world, but for
those whom Thou hast given me."
Verse 31 He chopped them off in bits. "He threw the bits of his body into the brick kiln." (Not that he
made them walk through, they were already dead.) He burned them. Question arose—is this passing
through fire? No. That is the Molech religion. An ordeal that they tenderly walk through the fire.
Verse 19 Ashes on the head; wipe tears; rent her garment; laid her hand on her head.
Tamar is Absalom's sister. Ammon handled her shamefully. Ashes on the head means or is
symbolic of protection, pardon on the merit of sacrifice. When a woman rents her garment, she rents that
beautiful part of her clothing of divers colors. She rent her upper garment. (A man who rents his clothes,
it is only a mantle. A woman rents yards of material of her upper garment.) When an Eastern person puts
his hand to his head and cries, it means neither God nor man can help him. Jesus commanded man not to
swear by his head (Matthew 5:33-37). It is saying that there is no solution, and that is not true. A man
mourning his wife's death may put his hand to his head. However, the mourners will lift his hand and tell
him to stop putting his hand to his head, for he is to live long despite the loss of his wife. They also wipe
the tears of the man with their own hands, rather than with a handkerchief. The hand is considered more
affectionate. Always dry each other's tears at a funeral. (Isaiah 25:8—God shall wipe away our tears.)
Tamar is crying here, etc., due to the way she was handled and she knows she has no more hope of getting
(she has been scandalized and treated badly), and she cried to God, as if there were no more hope for her
in the society, even God could not forgive her. She felt she was in an impossible situation.
Verse 6 If two boys are fighting, anybody can go and separate them, "...and there was none to part
them..." refers to that.
Verse 7 The woman had a husband who died and she had only two sons. One was killed. The whole
family means the whole tribe. When you kill a person like that, the tribe takes action, maybe thousands of
them. You can't say to mind your own business, because, if anybody does wrong, the whole town is
affected. "Coal" means "my son." Because when coal is burning, it is red hot and when they quench it, it
goes out. Most of the people burn charcoal and when the cooking is finished, the charcoal goes out by
itself. If there is one little coal which stays burning, it is symbolic that I lost all my family. The little bit
of fire is the little bit of light I have to see by and unless the little bit of fire gets more fuel, it will go out
and the house will be cold. The woman wanted that little bit of fire to be kept going. "Remainder"
should be "offspring."
Quench my coal—live fire—means God gave him a son. Also, God gave him a lamp—sons are
lamps. Sparkle in a coal is also a son. Means here (quench my coal), kill my son which is left. "Coal" is
"son" in the Eastern text—coal is the only son left.
Verse 26 "Polled" should be "shaved." Some people sell their hair. You can go to the temple and shave
off your hair every year, or other people do it themselves as for a funeral or if you fulfill a vow. In this
case, he did it himself.
Verse 30 Barefoot, covered head.
David went barefoot to the funeral. Shows his distress for the dead man. During a funeral, not
supposed to cover your head.
Covering head has two meanings. 1) Put on a turban; this is not a hat—covering showing mourning;
and 2) Would wrap scarf around head so not to show lips when crying.
Verse 32 Earth upon head, coat rent (mantle). Means I came from dust, to dust I return. Figuratively,
"I'm willing to die for you."
Coat rent—rent mantle. Only rent one piece of clothing. When garment, clothes, etc. are rent, it is
always the mantle. Many times one word has four, five meanings and you must know culture to translate
it right. Mantle is cloth, three or four feet long folded four times. Wear like a stole. It falls to the knees.
When people hear bad news, they show outward sign of inner remorse, depression or anger by rending
mantle in two pieces and throwing it away.
Verse 13 Cursed, stoned, cast dust. Means disgrace and humiliation.
Verse 17 "A wench" is a "servant woman."
Verse 18 In the court, everybody has a well, rich and poor alike, in the yard, garden or court. The wells
are 3 to 4 feet high and are from 20 to 40 feet deep. If anything falls, they can go down little steps and
bring it back up. It is covered with a sheet of iron. That is one kind of well. This is the kind of well a
very refined person has. The old style of well has no wall at all; therefore, they put a slab stone on it
permanently so whenever they want to draw water, some man will come and lift it, and the man stands
there until the woman has the water and then he quickly closes it. If they want to dry anything, they put a
white cloth, on it and put the things on. The people think the woman is drying something on that cloth.
Nobody has any idea that there is a well underneath, because you cannot see it at all. So many of these
wells they can put you in, but not for too long a time. When the people go out, they lift it and let you go.
That is what they did here.
Verse 19 Ground corn is used everyday. The people were not suspicious because they used it every
day. Some of the corn is just pounded, but grinding makes it into small bits. After that they pound it. If
you would have put peanuts there, they would have been suspicious because peanuts are not dried in the
court. They are spread out on the threshing floor. It is 3 or 4 foot long and 3 or 4 foot wide. That is
where they hide spies.
Verse 4 "O my son Absalom." Eastern way of crying. Repeat over and over again praises. It's an
outward show. Do it for people; sake of those around you.
Verse 9 Touch beard. To touch a man's beard is a great humiliation, but a man who is his brother or
friend can touch it if you want to kiss him. Usually when you call a man brother, you don't betray him.
This man killed him afterwards.
Verses 1-18 and 24 What was the sin? Numbering the people. What's the sin in that? In Oriental mind,
numbering the people or anything you have has always been a sin (Hindu mythology has records of this).
British has hard time taking census in India partly because women won't say husband's name. They call
themselves by first name, e.g. Mary daughter of so and so, rather than Mrs. Smith. When asked for
husband's name, they call someone else to tell it. If man talked to census man, he won't tell a number, he
will list their names. Shepherds won't tell number of sheep, they say I have as many as the Lord gave me.
How do they know one is missing? By sight they say. They do this so you don't rest in strength of
numbers and arm of flesh. Why number—you have what God gave—He will give more when you need it.
David knew it was wrong (verse 10). Look at the punishment. This was a sin that indicates unbelief.
Verse 13: Pestilence equals plague. David didn't choose this, but said "let me fall into the hand of
God." Why? If he had chosen famine, he could get money and food from a rich country. If running from
enemy, you could bargain with him for forgiveness. Pestilence was the only one where he couldn't rely on
man's help.
Verse 17: These sheep—aren't sheep.
Verse 24: David would buy it because he doesn't want to give what didn't cost him anything. (Find
money on ground, people say put it in collection but it didn't cost you anything.) Teaching on relying on
God, not man—giving. All are yours, you are Christ's, Christ is God's. Numbering isn't sin in our
culture, trusting flesh is.
Verse 10 Numbering people is counted as a sin. Not all the Orientals believe that way, but some do.
The shepherds especially don't want to count the sheep. Counting is the fruit of unbelief. This is their
belief. As many as I have, the Lord has given me. If they give someone money, they won't count it
themselves, but give it to someone also to count. Some people won't touch money at all. They think once
you touch it, you will be mad for it and your soul can't rest.
Verse 24 See Matthew 21:12,13.