the most remarkable of the three nephews of David, the children of Zeruiah, David’s sister. Joab first appears after David’s accession to the throne at Hebron. Abner slew in battle Asahel, the youngest brother of Joab, and when David afterward received Abner into favor, Joab treacherously murdered him (see Abner). There was now no rival left in the way of Joab’s advancement, and at the siege of Jebus he was appointed for his prowess commander-in-chief—”captain of the host.” In the wide range of wars which David undertook, Joab was the acting general. He was called by the almost regal title of “lord” (2 Samuel 11:11), “the prince of the king’s army” (1 Chronicles 27:34). In the entangled relations which grew up in David’s domestic life he bore an important part, successfully reinstating Absalom in David’s favor after the murder of Amnon (2 Samuel 14:1-20). When the relations between father and son were reversed by the revolt of Absalom, Joab remained true to the king, taking the rebel prince’s dangerous life in spite of David’s injunction to spare him, and when no one else had courage to act so decisive a part (2 Samuel 18:2, 11-15). The king transferred the command to Amasa, which so enraged Joab that he adroitly assassinated Amasa when pretending to welcome him as a friend (2 Samuel 20:10). Friendly relations between himself and David seem to have existed afterward (2 Samuel 24:2), but at the close of his long life, his loyalty, so long unshaken, at last wavered. “Though he had not turned after Absalom, he turned after Adonijah” (1 Kings 2:28). This probably filled up the measure of the king’s long-cherished resentment. The revival of the pretensions of Adonijah after David’s death was sufficient to awaken the suspicions of Solomon. Joab fled to the shelter of the altar at Gibeon, and was here slain by Benaiah.
One of Kenaz’s descendants (1 Chronicles 4:14)
(Ezra 2:6; 8:9; Nehemiah 7:11)
Smith's Bible Names Dictionary (1866).
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