The taste of Joab in David’s Mouth

David had many people around him during his lifetime. Notable among them is Joab, the commander of David’s army. Joab is David’s nephew. He was the second son of Zeruiah, the sister of David(I Chronicles 2:16). The brothers of Joab in the army are Abishai and Ashael. Their uncle (David) mentored all the three, and they were very close to him.

Immediately David fell out of favour with Saul, the King, David went through so much suffering. Joab was part of the suffering of David at this time. He was with him in the wilderness while Saul sought for the life of David to kill him. When David spared the life of Saul in I Samuel 26, it was Abishai, the brother of Joab, who said to David  “Uncle let me strike him once, I will not need to strike twice”. Joab was many things to David at different time and we shall consider them in layers.

Therefore first taste of Joab in David’s mouth is the taste of loyalty. Unfortunately, Joab has other tastes in the mouth of David.  Among them is the taste of a comrade that is not submissive to David’s authority. Most especially  when it clashes with the interest of Joab. David reigned in Judah for seven years and six months. Joab was his commander at this time. On the other hand, the remaining part of Israel (North), had Ishbosheth (the son of Saul) has king, and Abner was the army commander at that time. There were two kingdoms then but David’s kingdom is lesser.

Ishbosheth alleged Abner of sleeping with Rizpah, one of Saul’s concubines (II Samuel 3:6-10). This infuriated Abner, and he joined forces with David to make him the king of entire Israel (North; Israel and South: Judah). Immediately Joab learnt of the role of Abner in making David the king of the united Israel, he became unsecured. This is because he assumed that he would lose his position has the commander of the army to Abner. He killed Abner because of this (II Samuel 3: 22-34). This pained David so much that he cursed Joab (II Samuel 3:29).

Although Joab had excesses, David did not disengage him from the army. Joab consistently did what pleases only Joab most especially when his interest clashes with that of David. This had a bad taste for David.

In the story of adultery of David with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, Joab helped the king clean up his mess (II Samuel 11). Uriah was killed under the watch of Joab. He made David hand clean in public. This was a good taste in the mouth of David.

In your life, there may be a Joab. *Joab represents what makes you happy at a time God is unhappy with you.* Imagine a man praying for you to have a business breakthrough, and he looks the other way at your fraudulent ways of making money.

A very loyal friend, and yet he does not frown at your sexual infidelity. A friend that does not worry when your life is singing the tune of worldliness and godliness. When your conscience (the voice of God within you) is a mirror image of Joab, then you will go into perdition without any restraint.

Jesus said concerning the church in Laodicea, you are neither cold nor hot, and I will spit you out of my mouth since you are lukewarm (Rev 3:15-16). Here is the crux of the matter, don’t be like David, who kept Joab in his mouth despite his different taste.

*Action Point*

If you have a Joab as your support system or conscience, you need to chase them out.





  1. David couldn’t dismiss Joab because he too had issues known to Joab. Leaders who want to preach equity must also have clean hands.

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