From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

("Jehovah father".)

1. Oldest of the three sons of Zeruiah, David's sister. The father is not named; his sepulchre was in Bethlehem ( 2 Samuel 2:32). Revengeful and bold as his brother Abishai, at the same time more able as a statesman ( 2 Samuel 2:18;  2 Samuel 2:22;  2 Samuel 3:27). Early joined David, whose family and relatives were not safe from Saul ( 1 Samuel 22:3-4;  1 Samuel 26:6). Became "captain of the host." Abishai is mentioned in David's flight before Saul; but Joab not until after Saul's death. Then, commanding David's servants, Joab encountered Abner at the pool of Gibeon by the challenge of the latter, and defeated him with the loss of only 19 men. Up to Abner's involuntary slaughter of the fleet-footed Asahel, Abner's relations with Joab had been not unkindly. Joab, at Abner's appeal to his generosity, the Benjamites having rallied round the fleeing chief, forbore to press the vanquished to extremities. He added further ( 2 Samuel 2:27), "unless thou hadst spoken (challenged to combat,  2 Samuel 2:14) surely then in the morning the people would have gone away every one from following his brother," i.e. there would have been no such fratricidal strife at all.

But Joab cherished revenge for his brother's death; and on his return front pursuing a troop, finding that Abner had been favorably received by David, he broke out into a reproof of the king as though Abner had come as a spy; then by messengers recalled the unsuspecting general, and, taking him aside at the gateway of Hebron as if for a peaceable conversation, treacherously stabbed him. Jealousy of a possible rival in David's favor probably was an additional incentive. David, deeply grieved, prayed that the guilt and its penalty might ever rest on Joab and his house, and constrained Joab to appear at the funeral with rent clothes and in sackcloth. Yet David felt himself powerless to punish Joab and his brother; "these men, the sons of Zeruiah, be too hard for me," at once necessary to him and too formidable to provoke. He left the punishment with the Lord ( 2 Samuel 3:39, compare  2 Samuel 19:7). Joab speedily attained the command in chief by his being first gallantly to scale the Jebusite stronghold and drive out the enemy.

Then he was employed by David to aid him in fortifying the stronghold which became "the city of David" ( 1 Chronicles 11:4-8). Joab had an armour-bearer, Nahari the Beerothite ( 2 Samuel 23:37), and ten young men as bearers of his equipment ( 2 Samuel 18:15). He had a lordly title ( 2 Samuel 11:11), "my lord ... general of the king's army" ( 1 Chronicles 27:34). Besides his usual residence at Jerusalem Joab had a house and barley fields in the country not far from the capital ( 2 Samuel 14:30;  1 Kings 2:34); and "he was buried in his own house in the wilderness," probably that of Judah, as Joab's mother, David's step sister, would naturally dwell near Bethlehem. However, Absalom's residence next Joab seems rather to point to the N. near Baalhazor ( 2 Samuel 13:23;  2 Samuel 14:30;  1 Chronicles 2:54). (See Baalhazor .) In the war with Ammon, undertaken to avenge the indignity offered David's ambassadors by Hanun, Joab defeated Ammon's ally the Syrians while Abishai was defeating the Ammonites.

His exhortation before the battle was worthy of a better man: "be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God; and the Lord do that which seemeth Him good" ( 2 Samuel 10:12). Bad men may utter good religious sentiments; practice is the test. David gave the final blow to the rallying Syrians with their brethren from beyond Euphrates under Shobach, Hadarezer's captain. Joab, after David's defeat of Edom in the Valley of Salt ( 2 Samuel 8:13-14), was six months engaged in slaying the Edomite males, in revenge for their invasion of Israel in David's absence ( 1 Kings 11:15-16; Psalm 44); his first care was to bury the Israelites slain during the invasion by Edom. The victory over Edom is variously attributed to David as king, to Joab as commander in chief, who slew 12,000, and to Abishai, who slew 6,000, under Joab ( 1 Chronicles 18:12). Psalm 60 (title) was composed by David after he had beaten Aram of the two floods (Naharaim); this victory the psalmist takes as an earnest that the expedition setting out to occupy Edom would succeed; compare  Psalms 60:8-9;  Psalms 60:12, with  2 Samuel 8:14.

So terrible was Joab's name to Edom that their prince Hadad did not venture to return from Egypt until he knew "that Joab the captain of the host was dead" ( 1 Kings 11:21-22). The completion of the war with Ammon was due to Joab who, going forth at the beginning of the next year, took Rabbah the lower city on the river (2 Samuel 11-12). Joab loyally and magnanimously desired David to come and take the acropolis on the N.W., commanding the rest of the city, that the general might not receive the glory which ought to belong to the king. Joab showed a wickedly unscrupulous fidelity as David's tool for murdering Uriah, by setting him in the forefront to encounter a sortie from the city, and then deserting him. Joab thus was in possession of the awful secret of the king, and henceforth exercised an almost complete sway over him ( 2 Samuel 19:7). David could no longer revenge Abner's blood on his own accomplice in the murder of Uriah.

Joab next, by the wise woman of Tekoa and her parable, induced the king to restore Absalom, which Joab saw was David's own wish, though justice constrained him to severity. He thus at once ingratiated himself with the reigning king, and with Absalom his probable successor, one less likely to punish Joab for murdering Abner than Solomon. David discerned Joab's hand in the Tekoan woman's application. Like the clever schemes of bad men generally, the issue baffled his calculations. Absalom with characteristic recklessness, when he failed to induce Joab to come to him, set fire to his barley and so forced Joab to mediate for his admission to the king's presence. The rebel son was slain by Joab himself, and Joab did not escape his own condign punishment ( Job 8:13-19). Possibly Joab at first was disposed to join the rebel; but Absalom's appointment of Amasa to the command "instead of Joab" determined Joab's course ( 2 Samuel 17:25), and made him thenceforward bitter against Absalom, so that after thrusting three darts through his heart he had his corpse cast into a pit and heaped with stones.

Aware of the anguish the act would cause David, Joab restrained Ahimaaz who was eager to carry the tidings to the king. The grief of David was overwhelming, and was only restrained by Joab's indignant warning that, unless he went forth and spoke encouragingly to his victorious soldiers, all would desert him. David stung by his disrespectful plainness, and feeling that Joab if his own interest was at stake was as little to be depended on as the adversary just defeated, appointed Amasa to supersede Joab. But Amasa was as dilatory as Joab was prompt. David therefore, when Sheba's rebellion broke out, had to send Abishai to pursue the rebel at once, with Joab's men and all the mighty men. Joab, meeting Amasa at the great stone in Gibeon, pretended to kiss him in friendship, holding his beard with the right hand, and then stabbed him with the sword in his left hand. Jealousy made this "bloody and deceitful man" reckless what blood he shed when a rival came across his path.

One of Joab's aides de camp stood by the corpse and invited all to follow Joab; but all stood still at the ghastly sight. Then he removed the body out of the highway, and cast a cloth over it; so the people moved on, and Joab resumed the chief command, with the blood of the treacherously murdered victim still upon his girdle and sandals ( 1 Kings 2:5), David felt himself powerless to punish him ( 2 Samuel 23:6-7). Joab so effectively besieged Abel of Beth Maachah that the townsmen were glad to save their town by sacrificing Sheba, throwing his head, at the suggestion of a wise woman in the town, over the wall to Joab. He was adverse to David's command to him to number the people, "why will he (or else it) be a cause of trespass to Israel?" i.e., why by seeking thine own glory in the power and resources of thy kingdom wilt thou bring the penalty from God upon Israel? Dissatisfaction too might be bred among the people. Joab was therefore slow in executing the command, so Levi and Benjamin had not been counted when David revoked the command before the census was complete ( 1 Chronicles 21:2;  1 Chronicles 21:6;  1 Chronicles 27:24;  1 Chronicles 27:1 Samuel 24).

Conscience at times works on the most daring, as in this case. Joab even dedicated of the spoils won in battle to maintain the house of the Lord ( 1 Chronicles 26:27-28). But the true character soon showed itself again, and even the worldly sagacity which heretofore had kept him on the winning side in the end forsook him, for with Abiathar Joab joined in Adonijah's rebellion, and Solomon, by David's dying charge, had him slain at the altar of Gibeon where he had fled for sanctuary, but which afforded no protection to a treacherous murderer ( Exodus 21:14). The curse of David and of Solomon doubtless pursued his descendants also ( 2 Samuel 3:29;  1 Kings 2:33). Enrogel is still called "the well of Job" (Joab) from his share in Adonijah's coronation there. For the spiritual lesson of his history see  Ecclesiastes 8:11-13.

2. Son of Seraiah.  1 Chronicles 4:14. "Father (founder) of the valley of Charashim," i.e. craftsmen; "for they (Joab's descendants) were craftsmen." This valley was a little N. of Jerusalem ( Nehemiah 11:35). Tradition represented (Jerome, Quaest. Hebrew in Paralip.) that the temple architects were chosen from his sons.

3. Head of a numerous family which returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel ( Ezra 2:6;  Ezra 8:9;  Nehemiah 7:11). Joab's and Jeshua's sons were probably, in the registration of those who returned, represented by the sons of Pahath Moab, so instead of "of" translated "for (i.e. representing) the sons of Jeshua and Moab."

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

JOAB (‘Jahweh is father’). 1. One of the sons of Zeruiah the eldest according to   2 Samuel 2:18 , the second according to   1 Chronicles 2:16 and thus the nephew of David. It is perhaps not too much to say that, humanly speaking, the Davidic dynasty would not have been established had it not been for the military genius and the loyalty of Joab. So consistently loyal was Joab to the royal house (see Adonijah), that one is tempted to question whether the passage,   1 Kings 2:5-6 , which describes David’s ingratitude, is genuine; certain it is that if David really felt with regard to Abner and Amasa as he is described as feeling in this passage, it is surprising that he should have left to the wisdom of Solomon the duty of inflicting the punishment due; Joab’s death would seem to have been due rather to his loyalty in supporting David’s rightful heir, Adonijah.

Above all, Joab was a skilled general  ; this is seen by the number of victories he gained, namely, over the army of Ishbosheth under the leadership of Abner (  2 Samuel 2:12-32 ); over the Jebusites (  1 Chronicles 11:6-9 ); over the Syrians and Ammonites (  2 Samuel 10:1-19;   2 Samuel 11:1;   2 Samuel 12:26-29 ); over Absalom (  2 Samuel 18:5-17 ); over Sheba (  2 Samuel 20:4-22 ). These are specifically mentioned, but there must have been very many more, for those which are spoken of generally as David’s victories were in all probability due to Joab, who is repeatedly spoken of as David’s commander-in-chief ( e.g.   2 Samuel 8:16;   2 Samuel 20:22 etc.).

Secondly, his loyalty to the house of David is Illustrated by his whole life of devoted service, and especially by such conspicuous instances as his desire to make his victory over the Ammonites appear to have been gained by David (  2 Samuel 12:20 ff.); his slaying of Abner [though other motives undoubtedly played a part in this act, it is certain that Joab regarded Abner as a real danger to the State (  2 Samuel 3:24-25 )]; the reconciliation which he brought about between David and Absalom (  2 Samuel 14:1 ff.); his slaying of Absalom when he realized his treachery to David (  2 Samuel 18:14 ff.,   2 Samuel 19:6 ); his words to David in   2 Samuel 19:5-7 one of the most striking instances of his attachment; and lastly, his championship of the rightful heir to the throne, which cost him his life (  1 Kings 1:7;   1 Kings 2:34 ). How close was the tie between David and Joab may be seen, further, in the blind obedience of the latter, who was willing to be partaker in David’s sin (  2 Samuel 11:6-26 ).

The darker side of Joab’s character is to be seen in his vindictiveness and ruthless cruelty  ; for although it is only fair to plead the spirit of the age, the exigencies of the State’s weal, and the demand of blood-revenge, yet the treacherous and bloodthirsty acts of which Joab was guilty constitute a dark blot upon his character (see   2 Samuel 3:22-27 ,   1 Kings 11:16; cf.   2 Samuel 18:14;   2 Samuel 20:9-10 .).

2. Son of Seralah (  1 Chronicles 4:14; cf.   Nehemiah 11:35 ), 3 . A family which returned with Zerubbabel (  Ezra 2:6 =   Nehemiah 7:11 =   Esther 5:11  Esther 5:11; cf.   Ezra 8:9 = 1Es 8:35 ).

W. O. E.Oesterley.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [3]

It seems that Joab and his brothers were among the several hundred people who joined David during his flight from Saul. The private army that David formed from these people later became the central fighting force in his royal army ( 1 Samuel 22:1-2;  1 Samuel 26:6;  1 Samuel 30:9;  2 Samuel 2:13). (For map covering the region of David’s activities see David .)

In the two-year civil war that followed Saul’s death, Joab quickly established himself as David’s military leader ( 2 Samuel 2:28). He was also a close relative of David ( 1 Chronicles 2:13-16). When Saul’s former commander, Abner, defected to David, Joab saw him as a threat and murdered him. Joab used the excuse that he was retaliating because Abner had killed his brother in battle. But David saw it as murder and never forgave Joab ( 2 Samuel 2:12-23;  2 Samuel 3:23-39;  1 Kings 2:5-6).

Not long after these events, David became undisputed king of Israel. In response to David’s declaration that he wanted to take Jerusalem from its Canaanite inhabitants, Joab led a victorious assault on the city and was rewarded by being appointed commander-in-chief of the Israelite army ( 1 Chronicles 11:6;  1 Chronicles 18:15). He was a clever, brave and loyal soldier ( 2 Samuel 10:6-19;  2 Samuel 11:1;  2 Samuel 12:262Sa_11:6-25).

When, as a consequence of David’s wrongdoing, his family started to break up, Joab tried to preserve the dynasty by ensuring that there was a recognized heir to the throne. He considered that the most suitable of David’s sons for the position was Absalom, but Absalom had committed murder and fled to a neighbouring country. Joab therefore worked out a clever plan that enabled Absalom to return from exile without having to stand trial ( 2 Samuel 14:1-24).

Once back in Jerusalem, Absalom heartlessly used Joab to pursue his own ambitions ( 2 Samuel 14:28-33). When Absalom rebelled against David and seized the throne, Joab again upheld David. He brought the rebellion to a swift end by killing Absalom, even though it was against David’s wishes ( 2 Samuel 18:2;  2 Samuel 18:5;  2 Samuel 18:9-16). He then rebuked David for his lack of gratitude to those who had saved him ( 2 Samuel 19:1-8).

Upon resuming his rule in Jerusalem, David appointed Absalom’s general, Amasa, chief of the army in place of Joab. This was clearly unfair to Joab, who had been loyal to David and won him the victory ( 2 Samuel 19:13). Soon there was another uprising against David. When Amasa proved himself to be a poor leader, Joab murdered him and took control of the army as of old ( 2 Samuel 20:4-10;  2 Samuel 20:23).

In the palace conflict to decide which son would succeed the ageing David as king, Joab supported Adonijah in opposition to Solomon, who was David’s choice ( 1 Kings 1:5-8;  1 Kings 1:13;  1 Kings 1:19;  1 Chronicles 28:5). On becoming king, Solomon executed Joab. A violent death seemed a fitting end for one whose life had been marked by so many acts of violence ( 1 Kings 2:28-35).

Morrish Bible Dictionary [4]

1. Son of Zeruiah the sister of David. He was a bold and successful warrior, and was made David's commander-in-chief; but he is not mentioned as associated with David until he was established at Hebron, and he is not classed among David's valiant men. He treacherously slew Abner in cold blood, avowedly because Abner had killed Asahel, Joab's brother; but the latter had been slain in battle.  2 Samuel 3:23-27 . He was the unscrupulous instrument of David's sin in causing the death of Uriah.  2 Samuel 11:14-17 . The return of Absalom was brought about by his means, but when Absalom revolted Joab remained faithful to David, and with his own hand slew Absalom.  2 Samuel 18:11-15 . Though David on this occasion needed to be reminded that his life and throne had been saved, yet Joab's arrogant and threatening language to the king was unjustifiable; and Amasa was made captain of the host in the room of Joab.

This roused the jealousy of Joab, and he craftily slew Amasa and resumed his place at the head of the army.  2 Samuel 20:4-10 . David had said before this, "These men, the sons of Zeruiah, be too hard for me;" but his own sin in the matter of Uriah made him feeble in the presence of Joab's murder of Amasa.

When David wished the people to be numbered, Joab endeavoured to dissuade him from it. The worldly wisdom in which he always acted, and not in faith, perceived the impolicy of the act.  2 Samuel 24:1-4 . His aiding Adonijah led to his ruin. When Solomon was declared king, David reminded him of what Joab had done to him, and how he had slain two captains in time of peace, and asked that his hoar head should not go down to the grave in peace.  1 Kings 2:5,6 . When Joab heard of the failure of Adonijah's cause, he saw his danger, fled to the tabernacle, and caught hold of the horns of the altar. Refusing to leave when summoned, he was put to death at the altar. Thus punishment for the murders he had committed, though long delayed, fell now in righteous judgement upon him.  1 Kings 2:33,34 .

2. Descendant of Caleb the son of Hur.  1 Chronicles 2:54 .

3. Son of Seraiah: described as "the father of the valley of Charashim," or craftsmen.  1 Chronicles 4:14 .

4,5. Two whose descendants returned from exile.  Ezra 2:6;  Ezra 8:9;  Nehemiah 7:11 .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

Jo'ab. (Whose Father Is Jehovah).

1. The most remarkable of the three nephews of David, the children of Zeruiah, David's sister. (B.C. 1053-1012). 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;  2 Samuel 18:11-15. (B.C. 1023).

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. (B.C. about 1012).

2. One of Kenaz's descendants.  1 Chronicles 4:14;  Ezra 2:6;  Ezra 8:9;  Nehemiah 7:11.

Holman Bible Dictionary [6]

 2 Samuel 2:13 1 Chronicles 2:16 2 Samuel 2-3

Joab's exploits in the capture of Jerusalem led David to name him commander ( 1 Chronicles 11:4-8 ). Joab successfully led David's armies against the Ammonites ( 2 Samuel 10:1 ). During this campaign David sent his infamous order to have Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, killed ( 2 Samuel 11:1 ).

Joab was instrumental in the reconciliation of David and Absalom ( 2 Samuel 14:1 ). When Absalom led a rebellion, Joab remained loyal to David. Joab killed Absalom against the clear orders of David ( 2 Samuel 18:14 ). He also convinced David to end his obsessive grieving for Absalom ( 2 Samuel 19:4-8 ). Joab murdered Amasa, whom David had named commander ( 2 Samuel 20:10 ). He opposed David's plan for a census, but carried it out when ordered to do so ( 2 Samuel 24:1-9 ).

When David was dying, Joab supported Adonijah's claim to the throne ( 1 Kings 1:1 ). David named Solomon king and told him to avenge Abner and Amasa by killing Joab. Although Joab fled to the tabernacle for sanctuary, Solomon ordered Benaiah to kill Joab ( 1 Kings 2:1 ).

Robert J. Dean

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Joab ( Jô'Ab ), whose Father Is Jehovah. 1. The son of Zeruiah, and nephew of David, and commander-in-chief of his army. He was an accomplished warrior, but a most unscrupulous man.  1 Chronicles 2:16;  1 Chronicles 11:6. He treacherously assassinated Abner.  2 Samuel 2:23;  2 Samuel 3:27. When Absalom rebelled Joab adhered to David; and contrary to express orders he put Absalom to death.  2 Samuel 18:14. David then made Amasa general of his army, but Joab was so offended that he also assassinated Amasa, as he had done Abner.  2 Samuel 20:10. Joab combined in the plot to set Adonijah on the throne, in defiance of the will of David, who had, by divine direction, resolved to make Solomon king.  1 Kings 2:28. After the death of David, Joab was slain at the altar, whither he had fled for protection; and was buried in his own domain in the wilderness.  2 Kings 2:5-25. 2. A descendant of Judah.  1 Chronicles 4:14. 3. One whose posterity returned from exile.  Ezra 2:6;  Ezra 8:9;  Nehemiah 7:11.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [8]

Son of Zeruiah, David's sister, and brother of Abishai and Asahel, was the commander of David's army during almost the whole of his reign,  2 Samuel 5:6-10 . He was a valiant warrior, and an able general; and his great influence on public affairs was often exerted for good, as in the rebellion of Absalom, and the numbering of Israel,  2 Samuel 18:1-19:42   24:1-25 . But as a man he was imperious, revengeful, and unscrupulous: witness his treacherous assassination of Abner, and of his cousin Amasa,  2 Samuel 3:27   20:9-10; his bearing towards David,  2 Samuel 3:39   19:5 , and connivance with him in the matter of Uriah; his slaying Absalom, and conspiring with Adonijah against the divinely appointed heir to the throne; for all which he was at length put to death by order of Solomon,  1 Kings 2:1-46 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

  •  Ezra 2:6 .

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Joab'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [10]

    was the son of Zeruiah, David's sister, and brother to Abishai and Asahel. He was one of the most valiant soldiers and greatest generals in David's time; but he was also cruel, revengeful, and imperious. He performed great services for David, to whose interests he was always firm, and was commander-in-chief of his troops, when David was king of Judah only. His history is related in the second book of Samuel and the first book of Kings. See David , See Abner , and See Amasa .

    Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [11]

    One of the captains in David's army. His name is expressive of genealogy—from Ab, a father. His history begins  2 Samuel 2:1-32 and runs through the greater part of the life of David

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

    jō´ab ( יואב , yō'ābh , "Yahweh is father"; Ἰωάβ , Iōáb ):

    (1) Son of Zeruiah, David's sister. He was "captain of the host" (compare  2 Samuel 19:13 ) under David.

    1. Joab and Abner:

    (a) Joab is first introduced in the narrative of the war with Abner, who supported the claims of Ishbosheth to the throne against those of David ( 2 Samuel 2:8 through 3:1). The two armies met, and on Abner's suggestion a tournament took place between 12 men from each side; a general engagement follows, and in this Joab's army is victorious. Asahel, Joab's brother, is killed in his pursuit of Abner, but the latter's army is sorely pressed, and he appeals to Joab for a cessation of hostilities. Joab calls a halt, but declares that he would not cease had Abner not made his plea.

    (b)  2 Samuel 3:12-29 . Abner visits David at Hebron, and makes an alliance with David. He then leaves the town, apparently under royal protection. Joab is absent at the time, but returns immediately after Abner's departure, and expostulates with David for not avenging Asahel's death, and at the same time attributes a bad motive to Abner's visit. He sends a message, no doubt in the form of a royal command, for Abner to return; the chief does so, is taken aside "into the midst of the gate" (or as Septuagint and commentators read, "into the side of the gate,"  2 Samuel 3:27 ), and slain there by Joab. David proclaims his own innocence in the matter, commands Joab as well as the people to mourn publicly for the dead hero ( 2 Samuel 3:31 ), composes a lament for Abner, and pronounces a curse upon Joab and his descendants ( 2 Samuel 3:30 is regarded as an editorial note, and commentators change   2 Samuel 3:39 ).

    2. The Ammonite War: Death of Uriah:

    (a)  2 Samuel 10:1-14;  1 Chronicles 19:1-15 . David sends ambassadors with his good wishes to Hanun on his ascending the throne of the Ammonites; these are ill-treated, and war follows, David's troops being commanded by Joab. On finding himself placed between the Ammonites on the one hand, and their Syrian allies on the other, he divides his army, and himself leads one division against the Syrians, leaving Abishai, his brother, to fight the Ammonites; the defeat of the Syrians is followed by the rout of the ammonites.

    (b)  2 Samuel 10:15-19;  1 Chronicles 19:16-19 describes a second war between Hadarezer and David. Joab is not mentioned here.

    (c)  2 Samuel 11:1 narrates the resumption of the war against the Ammonites; Joab is in command, and the town of Rabbah is besieged. Here occurs the account of David's sin with Bathsheba, omitted by Chronicles. David gets Joab to send Uriah, her husband, to Jerusalem, and when he refuses to break the soldier's vow (  2 Samuel 11:6-13 ), Joab is used to procure Uriah's death in the siege, and the general then sends news of it to David ( 2 Samuel 11:14-27 ). After capturing the 'water-city' of Rabbah, Joab sends for David to complete the capture and lead the triumph himself ( 2 Samuel 12:26-29 ).

    3. Joab and Absalom:

    (a) The next scene depicts Joab attempting and succeeding in his attempt to get Absalom restored to royal favor. He has noticed that "the king's heart is toward Absalom" ( 2 Samuel 14:1 ), and so arranges for "a wise woman" of Tekoa to bring a supposed complaint of her own before the king, and then rebuke him for his treatment of Absalom. The plan succeeds. David sees Joab's hand in it, and gives him permission to bring Absalom to Jerusalem. But the rebel has to remain in his own house, and is not allowed to see his father (2 Sam 14:1-24).

    (b) Absalom attempts to secure Joab's intercession for a complete restoration to his father's confidence. Joab turns a deaf ear to the request until his field is put on fire by Absalom's command. He then sees Absalom, and gets David to receive his prodigal son back into the royal home ( 2 Samuel 14:28-33 ).

    (c) Absalom revolts, and makes Amasa, another nephew of David, general instead of Joab ( 2 Samuel 17:24 f). David flees to Mahanaim, followed by Absalom. Joab is given a third of the army, the other divisions being led by Abishai and Ittai. He is informed that Absalom has been caught in a tree (or thicket), and expostulates with the informer for not having killed him. Although he is reminded of David's tender plea that Absalom be kindly dealt with, he dispatches the rebel himself, and afterward calls for a general halt of the army. When David gives vent to his feelings of grief, he is sternly rebuked by Joab, and the rebuke has its effect (2 Sam 17 through 19:8a).

    4. Joab and Amasa:

     2 Samuel 19:8-15 . On David's return to Jerusalem, Amasa is made "captain of the host" instead of Joab ( 2 Samuel 19:13 ). Then Sheba revolts, Amasa loses time in making preparation for quelling it, and Abishai is bidden by David to take the field ( 2 Samuel 20:6 ). The Syriac version reads "Joab" for "Abishai" in this verse, and some commentators follow it, but Septuagint supports Massoretic Text. Joab seems to have accompanied Abishai; and when Amasa meets them at Gibeon, Joab, on pretense of kissing his rival, kills him. He then assumes command, is followed by Amasa's men, and arranges with a woman of Abel beth-maacah to deliver to him Sheba's head. The revolt is then at an end.

    5. Joab's Death:

    Joab subsequently opposed David's suggestion of a census, but eventually carried it out ( 2 Samuel 24:1-9;  1 Chronicles 21:1-6 ), yet  1 Chronicles 21:6 and   1 Chronicles 27:24 relate that he did not carry it out fully. He was one of Adonijah's supporters in his claim to the throne (  1 Kings 1:7 ,  1 Kings 1:19 ,  1 Kings 1:41 ). For this he had to pay the penalty with his life, being slain at the altar in the "Tent of Yahweh" ( 1 Kings 2:28-34 ) by Benaiah, who acted upon Solomon's orders. His murderer became his successor as head of the army.  1 Kings 2:5 makes David advise Solomon not to forget that Joab slew Abner and Amasa, and   1 Kings 11:14-22 contains a reference to the dread of his name in Edom.   1 Chronicles 11:6 makes him win his spurs first at the capture of Jerusalem, but 2 Sam 2; 3 are previous in time to this event (compare   2 Samuel 5:6-10 ), and  1 Chronicles 11:8 makes him repair the city, while   1 Chronicles 26:28 refers to a dedication of armor by him.

    6. Joab's Character:

    In summing up Joab's character, we must remember the stirring times in which he lived. That he was a most able general, there is no doubt. He was, however, very jealous of his position, and this accounts for Amasa's murder, if not partially for that of Abner too: if he was afraid that Abner would supplant him, that fear may be held to be justified, for Amasa, who had not been too loyal to David did take Joab's place for a time. But blood revenge for Asahel's death was perhaps the chief cause. Yet even when judged in the light of those rough times, and in the light of eastern life, the murder of Abner was a foul, treacherous deed (see Trumbull, Studies in Oriental Social Life , 129-31).

    Joab opposed the census probably because it was an innovation. His rebuke of David's great grief over Absalom's death can only be characterized as just; he is the stern warrior who, after being once merciful and forgiving, will not again spare a deceitful rebel; and yet David shows how a father's conduct toward a prodigal, rebellious son is not regulated by stern justice. Joab's unswerving loyalty to David leads one to believe that no disloyalty was meant by his support of Adonijah, who was really the rightful heir to the throne. But their plans were defeated by those of the harem, and Joab had to pay the price with his life.

    Taken as a whole, his life, as depicted in the very reliable narrative of 2 Sam and 1 Ki, may be said to be as characteristic of the times as that of David himself, with a truly Homeric ring about it. He was a great man, great in military prowess and also in personal revenge, in his loyalty to the king as well as in his stern rebuke of his royal master. He was the greatest of David's generals, and the latter's success and glory owed much to this noblest of that noble trio whom Zeruiah bore.

    (2) A J udahite, father or founder of Ge-harashim ( 1 Chronicles 4:14 , "valley of craftsmen" the Revised Version margin). See Ge-Harashim .

    (3) A family of returned exiles ( Ezra 2:6 parallel   Nehemiah 7:11;  Ezra 8:9; 1 Esdras 8:35).

    (4) See Atroth-Beth-Joab .

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

    Jo`ab (God-fathered), one of the three sons of Zeruiah, the sister of David, and 'captain of the host' (generalissimo) of the army during nearly the whole of David's reign.

    He first appears associated with his two brothers, Abishai and Asahel, in the command of David's troops against Abner, who had set up the claims of a son of Saul in opposition to those of David, who then reigned in Hebron. The armies having met at the pool of Gibeon, a general action was brought on, in which Abner was worsted. In his flight he had the misfortune to kill Joab's brother, the swift-footed Asahel, by whom he was pursued . The consequences of this deed have been explained elsewhere [[[Abner; Asahel]]] Joab smothered for a time his resentment against the shedder of his brother's blood; but being whetted by the natural rivalry of position between him and Abner, he afterwards made it the instrument of his policy by treacherously, in the act of friendly communication, slaying Abner, at the very time when the services of the latter to David, to whom he had then turned, had rendered him a most dangerous rival to him in power and influence . That Abner had at first suspected that Joab would take the position of blood-avenger [BLOOD-REVENGE] is clear, from the apprehension which he expressed : but that he thought that Joab had, under all the circumstances, abandoned this position, is shown by the unsuspecting readiness with which he went aside with him and that Joab placed his murderous act on the footing of vengeance for his brother's blood, is plainly stated in; by which it also appears that the other brother, Abishai, shared in some way in the deed and its responsibilities. At the same time, as Abner was perfectly justified in slaying Asahel to save his own life, it is very doubtful if Joab would ever have asserted his right of blood-revenge if Abner had not appeared likely to endanger his influence with David. The king, much as he reprobated the act, knew that it had a sort of excuse in the old customs of blood-revenge, and he stood habitually too much in awe of his impetuous and able nephew to bring him to punishment, or even to displace him from his command. 'I am this day weak,' he said, 'though anointed king, and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, be too hard for me' .

    Desirous probably of making some atonement before David and the public for this atrocity, in a way which at the same time was most likely to prove effectual—namely, by some daring exploit—he was the first to mount to the assault at the storming of the fortress on Mount Sion, which had remained so long in the hands of the Jebusites. By this service he acquired the chief command of the army of all Israel, of which David was by this time king .

    It is not necessary to trace the subsequent acts of Joab, seeing that they are in fact the public acts of the king he served. And he served him faithfully; for although he knew his power over David, and often treated him with little ceremony, there can be no doubt that he was most truly devoted to his interests, and sometimes rendered him good service even against his own will, as in the affair at Mahanaim . But Joab had no principles apart from what he deemed his duty to the king and the people, and was quite as ready to serve his master's vices as his virtues, so long as they did not interfere with his own interests, or tended to promote them by enabling him to make himself useful to the king. His ready apprehension of the king's meaning in the matter of Uriah, and the facility with which he made himself the instrument of the murder, and of the hypocrisy by which it was covered, are proofs of this, and form as deep a stain upon his character as his own murders . As Joab was on good terms with Absalom, and had taken pains to bring about a reconciliation between him and his father, we may set the higher value upon his firm adhesion to David when Absalom revolted, and upon his stern sense of duty to the king—from whom he expected no thanks—displayed in putting an end to the war by the slaughter of his favorite son, when all others shrunk from the responsibility of doing the king a service against his own will . In like manner, when David unhappily resolved to number the people, Joab discerned the evil, and remonstrated against it; and although he did not venture to disobey, he performed the duty tardily and reluctantly, to afford the king an opportunity of reconsidering the matter, and took no pains to conceal how odious the measure was to him . David was certainly ungrateful for the services of Joab, when, in order to conciliate the powerful party which had supported Absalom, he offered the command of the host to Amasa, who had commanded the army of Absalom . But the inefficiency of the new commander, in the emergency which the revolt of Bichri's son produced, arising perhaps from the reluctance of the troops to follow their new leader, gave Joab an opportunity of displaying his superior resources, and also of removing his rival by a murder very similar to, and in some respects less excusable and more foul than, that of Abner [AMASA]. Besides, Amasa was his own cousin, being the son of his mother's sister .

    When David lay on his death-bed, and a demonstration was made in favor of the succession of the eldest surviving son, Adonijah, whose interests had been compromised by the preference of the young Solomon, Joab joined the party of the natural heir. It would be unjust to regard this as a defection from David. It was nothing more or less than a demonstration in favor of the natural heir, which, if not then made, could not be made at all. But an act which would have been justifiable, had the preference of Solomon been a mere caprice of the old king, became criminal as an act of contumacy to the Divine king, the real head of the government, who had called the house of David to the throne, and had the sole right of determining which of its members should reign. When the prompt measures taken under the direction of the king rendered this demonstration abortive , Joab withdrew into private life till some time after the death of David, when the fate of Adonijah, and of Abiathar—whose life was only spared in consequence of his sacerdotal character—warned Joab that he had little mercy to expect from the new king. He fled for refuge to the altar; but when Solomon heard this, he sent Benaiah to put him to death; and, as he refused to come forth, gave orders that he should be slain even at the altar. Thus died one of the most accomplished warriors and unscrupulous men that Israel ever produced. His corpse was removed to his domain in the wilderness of Judah, and buried there, B.C. 1015 .

    The Nuttall Encyclopedia [14]

    The nephew and a general of David's; put to death by order of Solomon in 1014 B.C.