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Edited by Frank W. Olive
Abner
       Abner [father of light].

       A legitimate variant form, Abiner, is used in the Hebrew text of 1 Sam. 14:50, and in the margin of some editions of the English version.

       The son of Ner, king Saul's uncle. During the reign of that monarch Abner was commander-in-chief of the army (1 Sam. 14:51).

       He first became acquainted with David when that youth offered to meet Goliath in combat (1 Sam. 17:55-58). On the death of Saul, Abner availed himself of the tribal feeling adverse to Judah, and turned it to the advantage of the house to which he was related by blood, and to which he had owned allegiance. He proclaimed Saul's son Ishbosheth king at Mahanaim (2 Sam. 2:8). During the war between the house of Saul and David which followed, in an interview which he held at Gibeon with Joab, David's commander-in-chief, Abner proposed what he seems to have intended for a tournament between twelve young men picked from Ishbosheth's supporters and as many taken from the followers of David, but mutual animosities converted the mimic combat into a real battle; and the two armies being drawn into the struggle, that which Abner led was defeated with great slaughter (12-32). During the retreat from this battle Abner was pertinaciously followed with hostile intent by Asahel, one of Joab's brothers, and after repeatedly warning him off, had at last to strike him dead in self-defence (18-24). Soon afterwards Abner had a serious charge brought against him by Ish-bosheth. which so irritated him that he intimated his intention of transferring his allegiance to David, and was as good as his word. First he sent messengers to David, and then sought an interview with him, and was graciously received. But Joab, believing or pretending to believe that Abner had come simply as a spy, went after him, invited him to a friendly conversation, and stabbed him dead. The ostensible reason for this assassination was revenge for the death of Asahel, who, however, had died in fair fight. An unavowed motive probably was fear that Abner might one day displace him from the command of David's army. The king was justly incensed against the murderer, and conspicuously showed the people that he had no complicity in the crime. He attended the funeral, lamented the unworthy fate of the prince and great man who had fallen in Israel, and finally left it incharge to his successor to call Joab to account for the crime (3:6-39 : 1 Kin. 2:5).

       Abner had at least one son, Jaasiel (1 Chron. 27:21), and seems to have had a regard for the house of God, for he dedicated to it some of the spoils which he had taken in battle (26:28).