2 Samuel 20:4-13 Loyalty & Audacity

2 Samuel 20:4-13  Loyalty & Audacity

Then the king told Amasa, “Mobilize the army of Judah within three days, and report back at that time.” 5 So Amasa went out to notify Judah, but it took him longer than the time he had been given.

6 Then David said to Abishai, “Sheba son of Bicri is going to hurt us more than Absalom did. Quick, take my troops and chase after him before he gets into a fortified town where we can’t reach him.” 7 So Abishai and Joab, together with the king’s bodyguard and all the mighty warriors, set out from Jerusalem to go after Sheba. 8 As they arrived at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa met them. Joab was wearing his military tunic with a dagger strapped to his belt. As he stepped forward to greet Amasa, he slipped the dagger from its sheath.

9 “How are you, my cousin?” Joab said and took him by the beard with his right hand as though to kiss him. 10 Amasa didn’t notice the dagger in his left hand, and Joab stabbed him in the stomach with it so that his insides gushed out onto the ground. Joab did not need to strike again, and Amasa soon died. Joab and his brother Abishai left him lying there and continued after Sheba. 11 One of Joab’s young men shouted to Amasa’s troops, “If you are for Joab and David, come and follow Joab.” 12 But Amasa lay in his blood in the middle of the road, and Joab’s man saw that everyone was stopping to stare at him. So he pulled him off the road into a field and threw a cloak over him. 13 With Amasa’s body out of the way, everyone went on with Joab to capture Sheba son of Bicri.


Despite an enthusiastic reception of Sheba’s call for rebellion, there is little military support for Sheba’s uprising. However, the treat of Sheba must be crushed before he entrenches himself in a fortified city making it difficult to root him out. Hence, David sends Amasa to gather the army within three days to launch a campaign to mop up Sheba’s rebellion. When Amasa fails to make the time, David sends Abishai and Joab to finish the job instead. While enroute in pursuit of Sheba, Joab meets Amasa and murders him in broad daylight. In today’s passage, we see the loyal and audacious side of Joab that made him a formidable right hand man and counter weight for David.


Mobilize the army of Judah within three days, and report back at that time – Having promoted Amasa in place of Joab as commander of the army, David instructs Amasa to gather the army of Judah within three days to counter the rebellion. However, when Amasa delays in returning with the troops, David decides to pursue Sheba with his own bodyguard and the mighty warriors. Having given instructions to Abishai, they set off in pursuit of Sheba.

How are you, my cousin? – While enroute to Abel of Beth-maacah, they meet Amasa and Joab takes him aside as if to enquire of him. Joab causes Amasa to drop his guard by letting his first dagger fall to the ground. Having given Amasa the false impression that he is no longer armed, Joab stabs him fatally with a second dagger.

If you are for Joab and David, come and follow Joab – Joab’s men calls out to Amasa’s troops to rally behind King David under Joab’s command. Looking at Amasa’s delay in rallying the troops and Joab’s call for loyalty, it is likely that Amasa’s sympathies lay elsewhere than with David. Joab’s motive of putting Amasa to death may stem from his staunch loyalty towards David having caught wind of Amasa’s veiled allegiance.


A respectable and formidable person is fiercely loyal and yet audacious in his actions.

It is hard to be loyal and yet act counter to your boss’s decisions. Many pander to their bosses having no backbone of their own for fear of being marginalized. Joab is fiercely loyal to David and yet he is not afraid of doing what he thought was right. Hence, Joab has great staying power like no other commander that served in the Israelite army. After being promoted to commander of David’s army (2 Samuel 8:16); he served as the army’s captain right to the end of David’s reign. He took out Absalom, David’s rebel son as well as Abner and Amasa, both slated to replace him as captain of the army. Yet, he is a loyalist and protected the king from individuals whom he deemed as dangerous. He served as the voice of duty to David and on multiple occasions defied the kings’ order by doing what he thought was right. Despite glaring differences, David did not remove Joab because he knew that Joab was still fiercely loyal to him and for good reason served as his counter weight.

Many people are excessively compliant and accommodative to their superiors supposing that would buy them security. As a result, they appear sheepish and become to others a target of disrespect and abuse. Nevertheless, we have to appear affable and yet principled in all our dealings. When people observe in us mettle in our bones, and uncompromising in the truth, they will grow to respect us. Favor is derived from respect, which in turn is a derivative of truth and righteousness. Joab may have done a few things that are downright treacherous, but he had conviction and was not afraid to do what he thought was right.


How do you gain respect and favor before God and men? By being resolute and uncompromising in matters pertaining to truth and principles. And yet affable and flexible in matters pertaining to preferences.

Dear Lord, give me the courage to do what I felt is right in my spirit and the ability to defend my actions according to the principles of truth. At the same time, being flexible and accommodating in matters of preference. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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