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In 2 Samuel 3:7-11, Ish-bosheth accuses Abner of taking one of Saul's concubines: Rizpah, daughter of Aiah. It seems that were this accusation true, it would be an affront to Ish-bosheth's throne. In the text, Abner bristles at the claim, emphasizing his loyalty to the house of Saul; yet, he doesn't outright deny the accusation. Did Abner go into Saul's concubine?

The three commentaries I've read are split on this, but none of them argue their side; they simply assume that he did or did not. My leaning is to say that he did not, since his response to swear his loyalty to David's house makes little sense if Abner himself has his sights on the throne. But it surprised me that others disagreed and now I'm not so confident I'm reading the story correctly.

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I would venture a guess that if the affront to the throne is accurate, then Abner probably did not take Saul's concubine, given the broader context of Abner's coalition with David to reunify the kingdom under David's reign. Additionally, Abner calls down a curse upon himself during this confrontation with Ish-Bosheth if he does not complete this activity. – swasheck Aug 22 '12 at 15:39
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, he probably did as the cowardly Ish-Bosheth would never have accused the man he feared without absolute proof. Here is a plausible explaianation based simply on the personalities involved which often serves as a good context to work from.

Possibly the key is to recognize that Abner, Saul’s uncle was a powerful and older general who looked down on the little boy Ish-Bosheth (son of King Saul) --> who was a mere puppet to achieve Abner's own goals. From the 2 Samuel 2:8, we see Abner actually made him King, along with the rest of the history, implies that Abner was 'the man' in control. At some point Abner may have just lost his patience with ‘the puppet kid’ acting like a fearful King. His disgust manifested itself in serving his own lusts while insulting him. Offend him while enjoying his concubine would be a pleasure for a disgruntled and hardened general!

This act of Abner seems then to have solidified his real desire with just switching sides in the war. He was not willing suffer the slightest rebukes from Ish-Bosheth his inferior. In fact, Ish-Bosheth was so weak that he feared Abner as soon as he called him on his offensive behavior. Abner then defected to David showing that his offence was not in the ambition to steal the throne, but simply to 'offend for the pleasure of it' and join the forces of a more respectable King.

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Thanks for the edits; your answer is starting to convince me. – Soldarnal Sep 1 '12 at 16:25
@Soldarnal - Yes, when I read my original post I could understand why people were not accepting it. Cheers. – Mike Sep 2 '12 at 8:04

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