“Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter?” (v26). Abner, commander of Saul’s forces, had seen enough bloodshed to call for a truce. Though Joab’s men, loyal to David, were winning, they had still lost dozens of young warriors. These “enemies” knew each other (v20) and had previously fought on the same side. The struggle for power after Saul’s death broke the fragile alliance of Israel’s tribes, as unity dissolved into competition and loss.
Most power struggles end in bitterness and loss, no matter who wins. Our own King won the ultimate battle not by force, but by laying down his life so that others might live.