2 Samuel 20 is a narrative with 4 main characters; David, Joab, Amasa, and Sheba. It is clear that Sheba is an antagonist but less clear with a historical context about the other three.
Joab was a nephew of David. [1 Chronicles 2:13-16] [2 Samuel 2:18-23, 3:27-34] Did Joab’s family relationship with David protect him from correction or was David afraid of Joab or did he think there was no replacement?
Was Joab acting as a faithful servant of David in killing Abner, Uriah, Absalom, Amasa, and Sheba? Did Joab have incriminating evidence against David that kept David from correcting Joab? An example could be David ordering Joab to murder Uriah [2 Samuel 11:14-25]. Later, David told Solomon that in his wisdom he should take care of Joab as a traitor and Solomon had him killed when he became king [1 Kings 2:5-6, 28-35].
Did David set up Amasa by asking him to recruit an army in 3 days knowing he would fail so he did not have to replace Joab?
It is possible that Joab was acting as a faithful servant of the king just as Hushai was. He might have sincerely believed that Abner, Absalom, and Amasa had taken advantage of David and they could not be trusted. However, he assumed authority that was not his and murdered them. Joab was sometimes a protagonist-hero and other times he was an antagonist-villain.
It is difficult to tell whether Amasa was whether a protagonist or antagonist because he defected to Absalom, but after Absalom was killed he agreed to support King David. We cannot know his motives or reasons for not coming back with an army in three days as required by David. He did join Joab’s army, yet he was killed by Joab. He reminds us of some Disciples today, we may be not sure where they stand. See Part 6 for the answer to this question for David!
In today’s times of great disunity are you living in unity within the church and revealing the glory and love of Jesus to those outside? As a Disciple, today, are you a protagonist-hero for King Jesus or an antagonist-villain?