Died Abner as a Fool?

And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth? (2 Samuel 3)

Abner was a wicked manipulator, architect of the rival kingdom in opposition to David’s destiny and God’s plan. Yet he was won over and submitted to the King of heaven and his Israelite viceroy. Tricked into returning to a knife in his stomach, the great and feared former commander died like a dog, a criminal nobody. David laments his murder in his funeral dirge and asks: did Abner die as a fool?

In some respects, yes. He was naïve, and his death undignified. Yet David is being ironic, methinks. The one who dies in a state of submission to God’s will never dies as a fool. The one who knows Christ never departs foolishly. The one who expires in a disgraceful, undignified manner, but loves the gospel, dies as the wisest sage. Let’s consider the thief on the cross. He was a criminal; he broke the law and was caught. He did so at a time when the penalties were severe and uncompromising. He had lived as a fool and was dying as one- until he made the wisest and best decision of his life- to hear the words of Christ and respond to them. He, like Abner, died bereft of outward dignity, but in God’s eyes he died gloriously, welcomed to paradise by the One to whom he yielded.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

-Psalm 116:15


Will you die as a fool?