Reading through the Bible together
The previous chapter already revealed that David had won the hearts of all the people because of how he mourned over the loss of Abner. Now it was time to restore the kingdom of Israel.
Two sons of Rimmon the Beerothite killed Ishbosheth at his bed and beheaded him. Then they took the head of Ishbosheth and came to see David, thinking they were bringing good tidings. But David could not honor such an act of treachery as a means of elevating him to the position of king over all Israel. He ordered the two murderous captains to be executed. In doing so, David showed that he considered Ishbosheth “a righteous person” and buried him with dignity. The death and burial of Ishbosheth was the collapse of the northern kingdom and the time for David to be the king over Israel and Judah was near.
One may notice the inconsistency of David in dealing with Ishbosheth’s murders on the one hand and with his own nephew Joab who had murdered Abner on the other hand. David seemed to be weak in dealing with his own family members fairly and squarely. This tendency was also seen in David’s later dealings with the rebellion and death of his own son Absalom. It is never honest to deal differently with murderers or evil persons because they are family members than to deal with those who are not family members.
Center for East Asia Work