Who Was Zeruiah?

Who was Zeruiah?Today’s Bible study is intended to answer a simple question you may have had while reading the Word of God.  This question went unanswered in my life for many years until I stumbled over the answer in my daily Bible reading.  The question is: “Who is Zeruiah?

Zeruiah is named 26 times in 25 verses and 4 books of the Bible.  Zeruiah had 3 prominent sons: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel (2 Sam. 2:18).

The Sons of Zeruiah

Joab, the commander of David’s army (2 Sam. 8:16; 1 Chron. 11:6; 18:15), is often named as “Joab the son of Zeruiah” (2 Sam. 2:13; 14:1; 23:37; 1 Kings 1:7; 2:5, 22; 1 Chron. 11:39; 26:28; 27:24).

Abishai was listed as one of David’s 37 “mighty men.”  He was chief of the second 3, although he did not attain to David’s top 3 (2 Sam. 23:18-19). Abishai once saved saved David’s life (2 Sam. 21:15-17).  Abishai is frequently named as “Abishai the son of Zeruiah” (1 Sam. 26:6; 2 Sam. 16:9; 18:2; 19:21; 23:18; 1 Chron. 18:12).

Asahel is also listed as one of David’s 37 “mighty men” (2 Sam.23:24). Unfortunately Asahel was killed at a young age by Abner the commander of the Israelite army during a skirmish between David’s servants and those of Saul’s son Ishbosheth while David was king of Judah, before he became king of all Israel.

The three sons of Zeruiah were mighty men who fought bravely for David and were important to his success.  They loyally supported David throughout his life, from the period while he was running from Saul through his 40-years as king.

But the sons of Zeruiah were too vengeful and quick to kill for David’s liking.  The Bible records David saying:

  • “. . . these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me” (2 Sam. 3:39)
  • What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse” (2 Sam. 16:10)
  • What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?” (2 Sam. 19:22)
  • Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, . . . ” (1 Kings 2:5)

So why were these 3 mighty men so often specified as “sons of Zeruiah”?  And why did they loyally support David throughout his life?

Who was Zeruiah?

The answer to this question is found in the genealogy of Judah leading to David, recorded in 1 Chronicles 2:3-12; 13-15; 16.

Many people find the genealogies in the Bible hard to read.  Their eyes glaze over or they skip them entirely.  But some interesting things can be found in the genealogies, and the answer to the question of who Zeruiah was is one of them.

David had 7 older brothers (1 Sam. 16:10-11) and 2 sisters (1 Chron. 2:16).  Zeruiah was one of David’s two sisters.  And the 3 sons of Zeruiah (Joab, Abishai, and Asahel) were David’s nephews.

BONUS – Who Was Amasa?

When Absalom stole the kingship and sought to kill his father David, he made Amasa the commander of the Israelite army (2 Sam. 17:25).  Even though Amasa led the forces that tried to kill and overthrow him, once Absalom had been defeated David retained Amasa as commander of the army in place of Joab (2 Sam. 19:13).  Why would David do this.  And why did David refer to Amasa as “of my bone, and of my flesh” (2 Sam. 19:13).

The answer to this question is also found in 1 Chronicles 2:16-17.  Amasa was the son of Abigail (1 Chron. 2:17) who was David’s other sister in addition to Zeruiah (1 Chron. 2:16).  So Amasa was also David’s nephew.  Unfortunately for Amasa (son of Abigail), Joab (the son of Zeruiah) killed his cousin to regain his role as head of Israel’s army.


I hope you enjoyed this Bible study into the identities of Zeruiah, Abigail, Joab, Abishai, Asahel, and Amasa.  If you did, please Like or Share it on Facebook or Tweet about it on Twitter.

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THE FALL – Why Adam Sinned

Why Adam Sinned

Have you ever wondered why Adam sinned?

Adam was created good, had perfect health, lived in a perfect environment, and had direct personal fellowship with God.  God had given him a perfect wife to share his life and the authority to rule over nature.  He had everything he could possibly need.  So why did he sin?  Why did Adam disobey God by eating the forbidden fruit?

Eve’s Fall

We know why Eve sinned; she was deceived by Satan (1Tim. 2:14).  Genesis 3:1-6 records her conversation with a talking snake that questioned God’s Word, God’s goodness, and the truth of God’s judgment.  The serpent appealed to her pride as he tempted her with knowledge, saying she would become like God.

Continue Reading


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Are You Tied Up in NOTs?

Tied Up in NOTsWe are all burdened with thousands of rules, laws, and commands NOT to do things.  “Do NOT Touch;” “Do NOT Enter;” “Do NOT Pass;” the list seems endless.  Even 8 of the 10-Commandments are “Thou shalt NOT . . .” commands.

From the time we were born, our parents, teachers, friends, religion, government, and culture have been telling us what NOT to do.  And as if that were not enough, we often impose many additional rules upon ourselves.  Our lives have been filled with prohibitions.  We are tied up in NOTs.

Psychologists have discovered that the human brain has difficulty processing negatives.  As a result, negative commands are often processed by your brain without the NOT.  For example, shouting, “Don’t Look!” is the surest way to get someone to look at something.

We live in a negative world, tied up in NOTs

Perhaps it’s just our sinful, rebellious nature, but being told, “Do NOT touch,” makes us want to touch.  “Do NOT walk on the grass” signs make us want to walk on the grass.  Being told NOT to talk, makes us want to talk back.

In the beginning, God gave Adam one simple command.  God told Adam NOT to eat the fruit from one specific tree.  Instead of obeying, Adam ate the forbidden fruit.  That one act of disobedience opened the floodgates of sin.

We are now deluged with demands to restrain our sinful impulses.  We live in a negative world, tied up in NOTs.  We are heavily loaded with NOT’y rules.

Unraveling the NOTs

There is a more positive way to live, though.  Jesus said,

Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30)

When Jesus was asked “which is the great commandment in the law?” He replied with two positive commands:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.  (Matthew 22:37-39)

All of God’s negative commands (e.g.: Thou shalt NOT have any god before Me, do NOT steal, do NOT lie, etc.) are summed up in two positive commands: Love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul; and Love your neighbor as yourself.

In Luke 6:31, Jesus summed up the 2nd great commandment with “the Golden Rule.”  He said, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”  So the way to love others as yourself is to treat them the way you would want to be treated.

The apostle Paul echoed this in Romans 13:8-10:

Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

To be set free from NOTs, you simply need to obey the two great commands:

  • Love God by keeping Him first in your life

  • Love your neighbor as yourself by treating them the way you would want to be treated

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