New Defender's Study Bible Notes
3:1 long war. This unwarranted fratricidal war between David’s own tribe of Judah and the other eleven tribes lasted seven and a half years (II Samuel 5:5).
3:2 sons born. During his seven-year occupation with this civil war, David had six sons born in Hebron, of six different wives. This was an unhealthy home situation at best, and it is sadly significant that at least three of these sons (Amnon, Absalom, Adonijah) later brought great grief to David and his family.
3:6 made himself strong. This implies that Abner had made himself the real power behind the throne, with Ishbosheth a figurehead. When he took Saul’s concubine—a right belonging only to a King’s successor—it almost amounted to a coup.
3:10 from Dan even to Beersheba. This phrase became a standard way of referring to the whole land of Israel, from Dan at the northern extremity to Beersheba at the south.
3:13 first bring Michal. Saul’s daughter Michal had been David’s first wife (I Samuel 18:27), and it still rankled in his mind that Saul had given her to another man when David had to flee (I Samuel 25:44).
3:19 ears of Benjamin. Saul had been a Benjamite, so Joab realized it was vitally important to persuade “the whole house of Benjamin” to accept David as king.
3:27 returned to Hebron. It was doubly treacherous for Joab and Abishai (II Samuel 3:30) to kill Abner in Hebron, for Hebron was one of the cities of refuge (Joshua 20:2,7), and it was unlawful for an avenger of blood to take vengeance on a man slayer in a city of refuge without a trial.
3:38 a great man fallen. David wanted all Israel to know that he considered Abner a great man, not an enemy, and that he had been right in faithfully serving Saul, his cousin, for Saul had been anointed by God as king. Furthermore, this acknowledgment would help establish David’s credibility with all Israel as their next king.