With David returning back to Jerusalem, Sheba, a relative of Saul, gathered the ten tribes apart from Judah to separate themselves from David and follow him. He must have had great influence to accomplish this feat. The realized that what Sheba had in mind would have more severe consequences for Israel and himself, that what Absalom’s rebellion did.
David knew he had a responsibility to and for the ten concubines that had been violated by Absalom; choosing to keep them hidden from humiliation in Jerusalem and supported them financially until they died. Other options just didn’t seem viable to him at that time.
In response to Sheba’s insurrection, David called Amasa to gather the “men of Judah” in three days, at which time David would give him the plan to defeat Sheba. However, it took longer than expected for Amasa to do so; with such an urgent situation, David assigned Abishai to the task, with full knowledge Joab would be a part as well. While in pursuit of Sheba, Joab met Amasa and murdered him; which created the opportunity for Joab to reassume his role as commander of the army. As to why David didn’t discipline and/or correct Joab is evidence of an area of weak leadership on the king’s part.
Those who had responded to Amasa’s solicitation to pursue Sheba, joined Joab after Amasa’s body was removed from the road. It is most probable that he hadn’t died yet and the men didn’t want him to see them as they followed Joab.
Upon gathering all the men of Israel, they came to the city Abel and were preparing battering rams; and had likely built a tower higher than the walls, giving opportunity for archers to shoot down on the inhabitants as the rams struck the gates of the city. A “wise woman” speaks to Joab a parable about the city of Abel; which some believe she was speaking about herself. The parable seemed to touch Joab’s heart resulting in agreeing to receive the head of Sheba; rather than destroying the city.
The final four verses list David’s cabinet. Ira the Jaririte was most likely David’s personal spiritual guide and pastor.
As Leaders, we need to be willing to discipline even those closest to us for the good of those that would follow us. We see in the life of Joab, his tactics and responses to threats against his position become increasingly more violent and deceptive. Being unwilling to address those kinds of issues, will come back to haunt us if we don’t address them. We also see it is much easier to place someone in a position of leadership that it is to replace them. We saw a similar situation with Absalom and Ammon. It is in the season of making tough decisions that we are strengthened in our leadership positions, with other benefits as well; such as respect, honor and loyalty. People desire to see strong leadership, not void of compassion; but firm and willing to make a stand to do the right thing.
Do the right thing and raise your leadership quotient.