The Spirit of Joab

II Samuel 20

Alan Lewis
Elon, North Carolina
May 2022

Today, we will be talking about a man named Joab.  He is a man you probably do not know too much about  There are not too many sermons on Joab. Not too many preachers talk about him.

We are going to see who this many was, why he was important and what the spirit of Joab is today.  We read one chapter today.  He is mentioned in several chapters in II Samuel.  It has been a few months since we have been in II Samuel for a long time, so let’s do a little review.

II Samuel, if you remember, records the reign of King David, the man after God’s heart.  He lived three thousand years ago.  He lived a thousand years before Jesus.  He reigned for forty years.  The book covers a forty-year period.

Whatever you can say about this book, it is not boring.  It has a lot of drama.  It has a lot of action.  It has sex.  It has violence.  This chapter is too violent for church.  In II Samuel 20, Amasa is murdered and left in the middle of the road with his intestines sticking out.  Sheba is beheaded and his bloody head is thrown over a wall.

We have seen a lot of interesting characters in the book.  David is the main character.  We looked at his strengths and his weaknesses.  He made a great king, Israel’s greatest king.  He conquered the Philistines, made Jerusalem the capital city and brought the ark to Jerusalem.

He was a great king but not a great husband or father.  He had multiple wives and cheated on them.  He was also not too involved in the raising of his kids.  He was a passive, indulgent father.  Despite his flaws, God made a special covenant with him in II Samuel 7.

We studied Mephibosheth.  He was Jonathon’s son, a member of a rival dynasty.  He was permanently disabled.  He was physically deformed.  He was hiding from David in fear for his life.  David found him and, instead of punishing him, he rewarded him.  He adopted him into the family and let him eat at his own table.

We studied Amnon and his sister Tamar.  Amnon was the spoiled heir to the throne.  He was the perverted prince.  He is a sexual predator.  He committed rape.

Tamar was the young, beautiful, godly princess.  She was the daughter of the king.  She experiences sexual assault, and the perpetrator gets away with it.  There was no justice and she lived in a day when your life was over after this happened.  There was no coming back.  There was no recovery.  It is a sad story.

We studied Absalom, the rebellious prince.  When no one gave his sister justice, he did.  He killed his brother, which also benefited him because it made him next in line to the throne.  Absalom was a rebel at heart.  He was the prodigal son of the OT.

He eventually became more popular with the people than his father.  He was good looking.  He was charismatic.  He was a smooth talker, like most politicians today are.

Eventually, he took over the throne, and slept with David’s concubines.  He also tried to kill David, but he was the one who ended up dead.  He died a disgraceful death and was not even given a royal funeral, just thrown in the ground like a dog.

In the next two weeks, we will look at two new characters.  Today, we want to look at Joab. Who was he?  What was he like?  He was a man who had some very good and very bad traits.  He was a complicated individual.  What is the spirit of Joab today?

1) The Spirit of Joab is a SUCCESSFUL spirit

Joab was very successful at what he did.  Joab was the commander of the army of Israel.  He was the second most powerful man in the nation.  He was David’s right-hand man.

Joab happened to be related to David.  He was the son of one of David’s sisters.  He was one of David’s nephews.  One of David’s sisters was Zeruiah, and she had three sons: Abishai, Joab, and Asahel.

Their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. Zeruiah’s three sons were Abishai, Joab and Asahel. (I Chronicles 2:16 NIV)

Some people just get a job or a position because they are family (Hunter Biden).  They may not be good at what they do but they are family.

Joab was the commander of the army.  He was related to David, but he was very good at his job.  That is a good thing.  He was a natural leader.  We should all be like him in that respect.

There were always those people in school who always got straight As and were at the top of their class.  Those are the overachievers.  I wish that described me when I was in school, but it didn’t.  We should all strive for excellence in whatever we do.

The problem is that success is not everything.  There are some people who are very successful at their job or very wealthy but are terrible people.  They have no character.

Some people will strive for success at any cost. They will break the rules to get to the top.  They will cut some corners to get to the top.

They will step on people to get to the top.  They will hurt people to get to the top.  They will sacrifice their family to get to the top.  Some will even kill people to get to the top.  That describes the person of Joab.

2) The Spirit of Joab is a BOLD spirit

Joab was daring.  He was courageous.  That goes along with being in the military.  It is a condition of the job.  Soldiers cannot be timid on the battlefield.  Joab was fearless.

He would say what no one else had the guts to say and he would say it to your face.  He did not care what anyone thought.  He did not care what people thought of him.

Joab did not have any problem rebuking people.  He was bold.  He would even rebuke his boss.  He was not afraid to rebuke his superior.  He was not afraid to rebuke the king.

Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. 7 Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you from your youth till now.” (II Samuel 19:5-7 NIV)

Picture what was going on here.  A civil war just took place and David’s side won but he lost his son in the process.  The king was sad.  He was depressed.  He was weeping.  He just lost his son and Joab does not come in and try to comfort him.  He comes in and rebukes him to his face.  Joab was not perfect, but he said things to David that needed to be said.

David took the rebuke.  He did not get angry.  He did not argue with Joab.  He did not kill Joab, like some kings would have done.  He listened to him.

This was the second time David was rebuked in II Samuel.  He was rebuked by the Prophet Nathan, and he was rebuked by his General Joab.  He was rebuked twice but they did it two completely different ways.

Nathan rebuked him indirectly.  He told him a parable.   David did not even see the rebuke coming.  Joab rebuked him directly to his face.  Joab used a slightly different tact than the one Nathan used on David.  He was blunt.

What is the application to us?  There are three lessons here worth noting.

One, we should not fear people.  Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe (Proverbs 29:25 NIV).  Fear can cause people not to confess their faith.

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue (John 12:42 NIV)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3 NIV)

Two, we should be bold. The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1 NIV). Does that describe us?  Are we bold or are we timid?

Three, we need to be able sometimes to say some strong words to people.  Sometimes, we need to be indirect and use some tact. Sometimes we need to be in direct with people.  We need to speak the truth in love, but some NEVER give any rebuke to people.  Most of us shy away from confrontation.  We do not like conflict.

The Bible says that some people need to be rebuked SHARPLY.  Paul told Titus that people in the church who were teaching false doctrine needed to be rebuked sharply.  He said, “Rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13 NIV).

Some people needed correction.  One of the purposes of the Bible is for CORRECTION (II Timothy 3:17).  Some people are good at doing that but most of us are not.

3) The Spirit of Joab is a MURDEROUS spirit

Murder is demonic.  It comes right from Satan.  It is demonically inspired.  Jesus said that Satan was a murderer.  Children of the devil act just like him.  They have his nature.

Jesus said so.  People act like their father.  They act like their physical parents.  They also act like their spiritual parents.  We see this in John 8.  A group of Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus and he said that they were doing the work of their father.

As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father… You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning.” (John 8:40-41, 44 NIV)

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. (I John 3:11 NIV).

John says that we are to be the opposite of Cain.  Instead of hating people, we are to love them.  Instead of hurting them, we are to help them.  Jesus said that we are to be harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).

Joab did not have the spirit of Christ.  He was not warm and compassionate to people.  He was violent.  Some have this spirit today.  You say, “Of course, he was violent, he was a soldier.  He was a military man.  Aren’t all military people violent?”

There is a difference between warfare and murder.  Not all warfare is murder.  Massacring unarmed civilians and pregnant women, like what Russia has done in Ukraine, is murder.

Joab was a murderer.  He was a cold-blooded killer.  He seemed to enjoy killing people.  Who were some of the people he killed?  Joab killed Abner in II Samuel 3.  He killed Uriah in II Samuel 7.  He killed Absalom in II Samuel 18.  He killed Amasa in II Samuel 20.

He killed Abner.  Why didn’t he like him?  He killed Joab’s brother Asahel (II Samuel 2).  he did not want to kill him and tried not to kill him but in the end, he had to.  Joab never forgave him.

He was also the commander of King Saul’s army and Ishbosheth’s army. Abner was a Benjamite like Saul.  That led to a civil war.

The Bible says, “David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker” (II Samuel 3:1 NIV).  Abner wanted to be on the winning side, so he switched sides and began supporting David as king.  Joab did not like him, did not trust him, and killed him.

Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into an inner chamber, as if to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died. (II Samuel 3:27 NIV)

Joab killed Uriah.  Why did he kill Uriah?  David ordered him to kill him in a letter carried by Uriah himself.  Joab did it, even though.  He was a righteous man.  He was a man of integrity.  He was one of Joab’s best fighters.  He is on the list of David’s mighty warriors.  King David wanted him dead, so he could steal his wife.  Joab participated in the crime.

Joab killed Absalom, the son who rebelled against his father and tried to take over the throne.

He also killed Amasa.  Both Amasa and Absalom were both family members.  They were both Joab’s cousins.  Amasa was the son of Joab’s mother’s sister – Abigail (II Samuel 17:25 NIV). Absalom was the son of his mother’s brother (II Samuel 14:25).

Why did he kill Amasa?  Israel just fought a civil war.  The forces of David fought the forces of Absalom.  Joab was David’s general.  Amasa was Absalom’s general.

David’s side won the war, but Joab killed Absalom in the process.  After the war was over, David did something that probably has neverf been done before.  He demoted the victorious general (Joab) and promoted the defeated general (Amasa).  David made Amasa commander of all of his armies.

That made absolutely no sense.  Joab was a better general than Amasa.  He beat him in battle. Amasa was a proven failure, and it was a slap in the face of Joab. After the civil war was over, David gave Amasa a job to do.

Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted, “We have no share in David, no part in Jesse’s son! Every man to his tent, Israel!”  2 So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bikri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem. (II Samuel 20:1-2 NIV)

Right after one rebellion ended, another one started.  David just defeated Absalom and now another man (Sheba) starts an insurrection.  We have heard of Shay’s rebellion in American history.  This was Sheba’s rebellion.  David had a problem, so he gave his new general a mission, but he did not quite get it done.

4 Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and be here yourself.” 5 But when Amasa went to summon Judah, he took longer than the time the king had set for him. (II Samuel 20:1, 2, 4-5 NIV)

Amasa does not get that job done, so David sends some other forces under Abishai to take care of the rebellion.  Joab goes with him.  Joab and Abishai were brothers (I Chronicles 2:16).

8 While they were at the great rock in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.

9 Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died (II Samuel 21:8-10 NIV)

If Absalom was the prodigal son of the OT, then Joab was the Judas of the OT.  Joab gives Amasa the Judas kiss, the kiss of peace, at the same time that he murders him.  He is a complete and total hypocrite.  This is what he did to his own family.  Joab was a monster.

4) The Spirit of Joab is a REBELLIOUS spirit

This is another spirit we see in our own day.  We see people rebelling against authority (parents, teachers, law enforcement, government).  It is a demonic spirit as well.  Satan was the first rebel.  He rebelled against God’s authority and became the first sinner.  People today act just like him.

We know that God hates rebellion.  He compares it to witchcraft.  He compares it to idolatry.  For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry (I Samuel 15:23 NIV).

Joab was a rebel at heart.  Soldiers are supposed to follow orders.  Soldiers who do not follow orders can be court-martialed for insubordination.  Joab was a general.  He followed orders sometimes, but he got a very specific order from the king about Absalom.

So the king stood beside the gate while all his men marched out in units of hundreds and of thousands. 5 The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders. (I Samuel 18:4-5 NIV)

In II Samuel 19, Joab finds out that Absalom is hanging from a tree.  He goes out and makes sure that he is killed.  He disobeyed a direct order from the king.  He did it deliberately and intentionally.  It was not an accident.

Joab just loved to kill people.  When David ordered him to kill a righteous man, he did it, when he should not have done it.  When David ordered him not to kill his son, he didn’t listen.

It actually turned out better that Absalom was killed.  He deserved to die.  He tries to kill his own father.  He raped David’s concubines. If he was not killed, he would have caused David problems later, but he did have a spirit of rebellion.

The irony here is that Joab killed Absalom for rebelling against David.  Later, another one of David’s sons tried to take the throne.  His name was Adonijah, and Joab joined him in his rebellion (I Kings 1:7).  Do we have a spirit of rebellion? Rebellion is the exact opposite of submission.  Next week, we will look at a new character in the next chapter who does something amazing.

One Response to The Spirit of Joab

  1. Elizabeth michael says:

    wow so powerful messages The spirit of joab
    Thanks you for sharing message it’s very blessed to me🙏

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