Joab [Jō'ăb]—jehovah is a good father.
Joab was the first person to be thought of in Joab’s mind. His apparent devotion to David had one objective, namely that he himself should have first place. He loved self. He murdered those who stood in the way of pre-eminence as the leader of Israel’s hosts (2 Sam. 3:27). Alexander Whyte says, “Had it not been for David, Joab would have climbed up into the throne of Israel. . . Even the king himself was afraid of his commander-in-chief. The sovereign took his orders meekly from his subject.” In his own well-read and picturesque way, Dean Stanley describes Joab aptly as the Marlborough of the empire of Israel.
W. O. E. Osterley gives us the following summary of Joab’s life and labors:
I. He was a skilled general, proven by the number of victories he gained (2 Sam. 2:12-32; 10; 11:1; 12:26-29; 20:4-22; 1 Chron. 11:6-9).
II. He was loyal to the house of David as his whole life of devoted service illustrates (2 Sam. 12:26; 14:1; 18:20; 19:5-7).
III. He was guilty of vindictiveness and ruthless cruelty. The treacherous and bloodthirsty acts of which Joab was guilty constitute a dark blot upon his character (2 Sam. 3:22-27; 18:14; 20:9, 10; 1 Kings 11:16).
The tragedy is that in spite of all his abundant energy, boldness, ability, shrewdness and common sense, he never manifested any real faith in God. The nearest he came to such a faith is to be found in 2 Samuel 10:12, where his trust was more in “Providence” than a personal resting in the God of Israel. Full of self-confidence, ambition and selfishness, Joab never got far away from his own interests.