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The Spirit of Joab, Part II

The Spirit of Joab, Part 2

For nearly twenty years, my wife Earma and I have worked and trained others in the ministry of helps. Ten of those years have been specifically in the area of armorbearing. During that time, God has given us both a love and compassion for His leaders and supporters in the local church. As you may know, this is where our trilogy of books, the Armorbearer Training Series was birthed.

So, over the years I’ve observed a lot of things in the armorbearer ministry, some wonderful and beautiful and some not so beautiful. It’s important to me that you know as I developed this series I had only a leading from the Holy Spirit to teach and bring clarity.

Within that leading, God has given me a concern for armorbearers and our local church leaders as a whole all over the world. Speaking of the world, a few months ago I received word that an Asian Pastor and his armorbearers are using our materials and being a blessing to the Body of Christ. Knowing the power of the written Word upon the wind of the Holy Spirit, Earma and I always do our best in Christ to lay a good pattern for the believers that we influence.

The Spirit of Joab

Just in case, you are tuning in for the first time, we established last article that when we Church folk say someone is operating in the spirit of Joab; we are usually saying they are walking in disobedience, rebellion, as an assassin (murder with your mouth through lies, gossip, tale bearing, misrepresentation, etc.) or sabotage of a godly plan.

May I be blunt? Even if you have team members or you yourself have been yielding to the spirit of Joab, know that with good leadership and prayer these circumstances can be corrected. Resist the spirit of Joab and you can be rid of things like the spirit of control, disobedient spirit, and wrong competitiveness within your leadership and more.

Let’s start today with a good understanding. We must understand the ministry of helps (armorbearing) is a servant leader ministry. To try and make it anything else would be incorrect thinking and could lead to sin. Now, I know all of our local church ministries are not the same. I’ve been to churches where the armorbearers operate as Assistant Pastor(s) and armorbearers, which is of course fine.

And then there are other ministries where armorbearers operate under three to four different titles. According to what size your ministry is, all is acceptable. What I am simply saying is the core or the heart of Armorbearing is to be a servant, an overall good helper to the ministry and its leaders.

Choosing a Spirit of Humility and Honor

In this study of Joab and King David, I believe we can use it as a good example of what to do and sometimes definitely what not to do. The Lord put this on my heart to write. But as I write I hear some of you asking what does all this have to do with armorbearing? I connect the armorbearers because in the same way Joab carried out the commands of his King, we as armorbearers carry out the commands of our leader(s). As leaders and supporters, it is very important to make sure we operate in a David spirit (humility and honor) and not a Joab Spirit (disobedience and dishonor.) So, as we study together let’s check ourselves and make sure we don’t have “the spirit of Joab!”

We pick up the story of Joab a little later, in II Samuel 5:20: “And David came to Baalperazim. And David smote them, and said, The Lord hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of water.”

Scripture tells us, King David’s son Absalom is exiled for killing his brother Ammon who raped their sister Tamar. So, Joab decides to create this plan to get the King to bring home his son Absalom even in his rebellion. According to the writer of the book of Samuel, Joab tells a woman to make up a story to convince the King to favor Absalom and receive him back. He has her enact the plot before the King. But as King David listens to her he clearly sees Joab’s m.o. (mode of operation – connivery, deceit) all in it. II Samuel 14:1-2

Now the irony of the story is he (King David) still allows his son to return home back into the kingdom. In those days, according to the law he (the king’s son Absalom) should’ve died for killing his brother. You remember an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

As biblical history tells it, wickedness prevails and Absalom with his father’s favor steals the kingdom. Absalom had amassed quite an army. The writer of the book of Samuel recorded, King David had to flee for his life and the rest of his family to keep the peace and save the kingdom from civil war.

Many of you know the rest of the story, on one hand we see Joab using treachery to save Absalom then on the other hand he kills him to save the throne of David. Go figure! This is what happens when we do what we think and not what God has told us.

The writer recorded Absalom’s murder and his final demise and wrote, “Then said Joab I may not tarry thus with thee and he took three darts in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was hanging in the tree caught by his hair. For it was said that his hair was so thick it was heavy for him. It was his glory and he was hung by it. Joab killed him with the darts.

Now this is what I observed about Joab; he rarely does what he’s told. He only does what he thinks he should do. The King told him to bring his son back to him unharmed. But what does General Joab do? He kills him. He does the opposite of what he is told. (II Samuel 18:14)

In the next chapter the writer continues the story, “And it was told Joab, ‘Behold the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom and the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people, for the people heard and saw that day how the king was grieved for his son.’” II Samuel 19:

Not wanting to be unfair with Joab and his up and down consequences to his King, this time he seems to be on point. The king is mourning so hard for his dead son Absalom that the warriors who won the victory had to come back in camp as if they had stolen something. Joab tells the King that this action shouldn’t be so. He says basically if you don’t put a smile of victory and approval on your face it will be worst off for you and your kingdom.

He gets a somewhat of a thumbs up from me in this situation. You know I say somewhat because he helped start it all.

Joab Again Rises In Disobedience and Dishonor

II Samuel 19:13 And David said to Amasa ‘are you not my bone and my flesh? May God do so to me and more if thou be not captain of the host, before me continually in the place of Joab. So they all agreed as one man to bring the king back.

In the midst of the deal, King David once again promotes someone over Joab. But the question was again how long would it last this time?

King David plans to reunite Israel and Judah to bring unity to his kingdom. But in the process, Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite causes a revolt. And then the king sends General Amasa to stop Sheba. Before he (Amasa) arrives, Joab intercepts and murders him.

Scripture records, “Then said the King to Amasa, assemble me the men of Judah and Amasa went to assemble the men. And Joab said to Amasa art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab hand so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and he shed out his bowels to the ground. (II Samuel 20:4)

Joab’s Treacherous Ending

First there is Asahel unintentionally killed by Abner; remember he said, “Please stop chasing me!” Asahel ignored his warning; so the rear tip of the spear plunged under his fifth rib through his back.

Then Joab avenged his brother and killed Abner, stabbing him under the fifth rib because of greed, insecurity and pride. And then there is Amasa; whom David tries one more time to replace Joab with a leader that will obey his command. But Joab once again knows he is favored over again and decided to keep himself promoted. He killed Amasa and stabbed him too under you know where (the fifth rib.)

I should’ve titled this teaching “The Curse of The Fifth Rib” or “The Fifth Rib Murders.” Hopefully, you get the point. Joab bares his bad fruit one more time.

Now through all of Joab’s ups and downs of his military career, it was his goal to stay commander over the whole army of Israel. So you won’t think I’m saying Joab was a total villain, here’s one of Joab’s good choices that we may take example from.

The biblical writer recorded, “And Joab said unto the King, may the Lord thy God add unto the people a hundred fold and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it. But why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?

In this matter the King made a very bad mistake and King David decides to order a census of his Kingdom which before the Lord eyes he sinned. So he must pay a grave price; he must choose to face a plague, the enemy sword after him or God’s judgment.

King David said let me not fall on the wrath of man but let God judge me for his judgments are sure. (II Samuel 20:23; II Samuel 24:3)

In II Samuel 24:14 the writer continues, “And David said unto Gad the Prophet; I am in a great strait. Let us now fall unto the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” The result of King David’s sin; seventy thousand people died.

Joab Final Demise

In closing, it is clear that how you end is as important as how you begin. We take a final look at King David’s charge to his son Solomon, who is set to become king after David.

Scripture records he told him, “Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeriah did to me and what he did to the captains of the host of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner and Amasa the son of jether, whom he slew and shed the blood of war in peace.

He put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins and in his shoes that were on his feet. Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his grey head go down to the grave in peace.”

To let you know, finally Joab is caught in folly. He tries to plot another scheme with King Solomon. Now we just read how King Solomon had been warned by his father of Joab’s continual treachery. Even though King Solomon was young, he had the gift of wisdom and it didn’t work this time.

The Scripture goes on to say, “The tidings came to Joab. Then Solomon sent Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada saying, “Go fall upon him.”

And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the Lord and said unto him, Thus saith the king, “Come forth!” And he said, “Nay, but I will die here.

And Benaiah brought the King’s word again saying, “Thus said Joab and thus he answered me. And the King said unto him, “Do as he hath said and fall upon him, that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed from me, and from the house of my father.

So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and fell upon him and slew him and he was buried in his house in the wilderness (I Kings 2:28; I Kings 2:30; I Kings 2:34)


It’s important how you start but more important how you end. In telling Joab’s story, I could say he had a good start as a general. But it ended miserably. I compare him with an armorbearer in that he’s a servant taking a command from a leader plain and simple; a servant and leader team.

We’ve learned this in team principles, if one drops the ball in the last ending; the whole team loses, right? Throughout King David’s kingdom Joab gives us very good examples of what not to do and sometimes what we should do.

Now the question is will we take him as an example on what not to do. My prayer is that you heed this. Don’t do like Joab did and do your own thing but make sure you listen to your leader well. And when you hear a order carry it out in excellence.

Rev. Varn Brown and his wife Minister Earma Brown are Christian authors and ministers of the Gospel. Varn, author of A Devotion to Serve and Healing the Wounds of a Fatherless Generation is an ordained second generation Baptist minister. He has served as an Armorbearer and a Helps Ministry Leader for nearly 17 years at Covenant Church, Carrollton TX. He is co-founder of Armorbearers International and Nasa Ministries. Varn and Earma live in Dallas, TX and have two adult children


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In the Spirit of Leadership by Varn BrownArmorbearer Training Series Book IV: In the Spirit of Leadership - God's Mighty Men & Women

Are you an armorbearer in training or responsible for training a group of leaders or armorbearers? Rev. Brown and Minister Browns' newest book God's Mighty Men & Women will help. In their usual contagious teaching style they visit the biblically famous King David and his explosive Mighty Men. In a study of the character of these men, you will discover afresh King David, General Joab, Captain Abishai, the exploits of The Thirty and more...More Info

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