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And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

2:14 play before us. This challenge to have a dozen young men from each side “play” (a euphemism for engaging in mortal combat) was an occasional means of determining the winner in an imminent battle, similar to the contest between David and Goliath. In this case, however, all the initial combatants killed each other, and the battle spread with deadly intensity between the two factions of the children of Israel.

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