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Asahel (Hebrew: עשהאל, ʻAsāʼēl; "Name means::made by God") (ca. Born::2924 AMDied::Abib 2951 AM) was a senior military commander and officer of the high command of King David in the days when David was king only of the tribe of Judah. Sadly, after two years of service he died in battle, and his death provoked his brother to murder.


descendant of::Obed
grandson of::Jesse
son of::Zeruiah
brother of::Abishai
brother of::Joab

Asahel was the nephew of King David. His two brothers were Joab and Abishai.


The Chronicler mentions Asahel as commanding a division of 24,000 troops, and as part of a twelve-member rotation of senior staff officers who assisted the king in his handling of affairs of state. Asahel had the duty during the month of Tammuz. After he died in battle, his son Zebadiah eventually took his place in the rotation. (1_Chronicles 27:7 )

The Pool of Gibeon

In the spring of 2949 AM, King Saul died in battle. David captured the city of Hebron and established his capital there as king of the tribe of Judah. Joab and his brothers Abishai and Asahel were joint chiefs of staff for David's army. Saul's son Ishbosheth established his own capital at Manahaim and called himself king of the United Kingdom of Israel. Abner was Ishbosheth's chief of staff.

For two years, the two kings were at relative peace, while Abner concentrated on chasing the Philistines out of the territories other than Judah. Then Abner broke the peace with a shocking provocation.[1] Abner and his men challenged Joab and his men to a bizarre contest at the pool of Gibeon. Twelve men from each side met at that place, and the twenty-four men killed one another. Then the rest of the armies met in full-scale battle, and Abner's men lost. Asahel pursued Abner relentlessly, and then Abner turned and killed him with a thrust with the butt of his spear. The other two brothers continued to pursue Abner and his men to the hill of Ammah. There Abner begged Joab to cease the pursuit before any more men died, and Joab sounded the retreat and returned to Hebron, which was David's capital. Abner and his men crossed to the eastern side of the Jordan River and returned to Mahanaim.[2] (2_Samuel 2:12-29 )

This incident began the Long War between the tribe of Judah and the rest of the kingdom of Israel. Then Abner began negotiations to transfer the government from Ishbosheth to David, but Joab and Abishai conspired together and killed him, to avenge the death of Asahel. David was not pleased, and said so publicly. (2_Samuel 3:24-30 )

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  1. Jones, Floyd N., The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004, pp. 99-100
  2. "The Unified Kingdom Part II in Biblical Archeology," n.d. Accessed January 1, 2009