2 Samuel 3:39
NKJV - 39 "And I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too harsh for me. The LORD shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness."
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Zeruiah was a sister of David, and the mother of Abishai, Joab, and Asahel, making those three individuals David's nephews. She is remarkable in that individuals in the Bible were usually identified through their paternal descent, but, in the case of these three, they are consistently identified as the sons of their mother, rather than their father. She was first mentioned in 2 Samuel 17:25, and further noted in 1 Chronicles 2:13-16. During the dynastic war that arose after Saul's death between the followers of the house of Saul (whom God had initially appointed as Israel's king but subsequently rejected) and David (whom God had instructed Samuel to anoint as king in Saul's place), Joab and Asahel (who were loyal to David) conspired to murder Abner (initially a follower of Saul's son Ish-Bosheth) for having killed their brother Abishai (2 Samuel 2:18-32; 2 Samuel 3:22-38), even though Abner had subsequently left Ish-Bosheth's service and had switched his allegiance to David. David mourned for Abner (which pleased the people), and was angry at what Joab and Asahel had done, but could not take action against them, because he had not yet firmly established himself as king. However, at the time of his death many years later, David instructed Solomon (his son and designated successor) to have Joab (who had been the one who had actually slain Abner) put to death for what he had done (1 Kings 2:5-6). (In addition to killing Abner, Joab had also killed Amasa (another nephew of David, who had joined David's son Absalom in his revolt against David). However, Joab had not killed both these men in open combat, but under a pretext of speaking peaceably to them, and then stabbing them with a concealed dagger that he had been carrying.) Because of these events, the phrase "sons of Zeruiah" has come to have a connotation of individuals who will take impetuous, treacherous actions (particularly of a violent nature) for personal motives.
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