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28 When David later heard about this, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord of the shed blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May his blood whirl over[a] the head of Joab and the entire house of his father![b] May the males of Joab’s house[c] never cease to have[d] someone with a running sore or a skin disease or one who works at the spindle[e] or one who falls by the sword or one who lacks food!”

30 So Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel in Gibeon during the battle.

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Footnotes

  1. 2 Samuel 3:29 tn Heb “and may they whirl over.” In the Hebrew text the subject of the plural verb is unexpressed. The most likely subject is Abner’s “shed blood” (v. 28), which is a masculine plural form in Hebrew. The verb חוּל (khul, “whirl”) is used with the preposition עַל (ʿal) only here and in Jer 23:19; 30:23.
  2. 2 Samuel 3:29 tc 4QSama has “of Joab” rather than “of his father” read by the MT.
  3. 2 Samuel 3:29 tn Heb “the house of Joab.” However, it is necessary to specify that David’s curse is aimed at Joab’s male descendants; otherwise it would not be clear that “one who works at the spindle” refers to a man doing woman’s work rather than a woman.
  4. 2 Samuel 3:29 tn Heb “and may there not be cut off from the house of Joab.”
  5. 2 Samuel 3:29 tn The expression used here is difficult. The translation “one who works at the spindle” follows a suggestion of S. R. Driver that the expression pejoratively describes an effeminate man who, rather than being a mighty warrior, is occupied with tasks that are normally fulfilled by women (S. R. Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text and the Topography of the Books of Samuel, 250-51; cf. NAB “one unmanly”; TEV “fit only to do a woman’s work”; CEV “cowards”). But P. K. McCarter, following an alleged Phoenician usage of the noun to refer to “crutches,” adopts a different view. He translates the phrase “clings to a crutch,” seeing here a further description of physical lameness (II Samuel [AB], 118). Such an idea fits the present context well and is followed by NIV, NCV, and NLT, although the evidence for this meaning is questionable. According to DNWSI 2:915-16, the noun consistently refers to a spindle in Phoenician, as it does in Ugaritic (see UT 468).

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