A. Upon the death of King Saul, Abner, who was the general of Saul’s army, took Saul’s son Ishbosheth and led him through the camp of Saul. Ishbosheth was proclaimed King of Israel by Abner. (Ishbosheth was a very weak ruler. He was not a valiant man, as he would have been fighting with his father Saul and brother Jonathan at the Battle of Gilboa).
B. At the same time, David went up to a city named Hebron to be crowned King of Judah. For two years, Ishbothseth reigned as the King of Israel, while only Judah followed David as their King.
C. Directly following this verse, the civil war starts between the men of King David and King Ishbosheth. David’s general, Joab and Ishbosheth’s general, Abner meet, along with their fighting men. A great slaughter occurs, and a battle in which Abner ends up killing Asael, the brother of Joab (an act that Joab will soon take revenge for, in a soon upcoming chapter).
D. The war continues between David’s men, and the house of Saul (ruled over by Ishbosheth). However, during the war, it is Abner (Saul’s general) who is ruling, since Ishbosheth is weak and incapable. Ishbosheth accuses Abner of lying with Saul’s concubine. At this accusation, Abner becomes very angry with Ishbosheth, and he sends a message to David that he would like to meet with him (David), so he could hand the kingdom of Israel over to David. Abner saw that Ishbosheth was not a strong king, and Abner didn’t want any more civil war in Israel.
E. Before David will meet with Abner, David insists that Saul’s daughter Michol (and David’s wife, who was given to David by Saul, and later taken away again by Saul) be sent back to him (David). Abner tells Ishbosheth about David’s request, and Ishbosheth complies with David’s demands by taking Michol from her new husband, and sending her back to David.
F. David made a feast and an agreement with Abner, and Abner agreed to hand over the Kingdom of Israel to David. However, when Joab found out about the agreement, he called for Abner to come to him, and when he did, Joab murdered him in revenge for when Abner killed Asael, the brother of Joab. (see letter C. above)
G. David did not consent or even know about Abner’s murder by Joab. But when he found out, David made it known to Israel that he (David) was innocent of Abner’s death, and that he did not command the murder. He mourned for the death of Abner publicly.
H. When Ishbosheth found out about Abner’s death, he was terrified. Soon after, two men murdered Ishbosheth and brought his head back to David, thinking they would be pleasing David by killing his competition. However, David was furious at the two men for killing Saul’s son, and he (David) killed Ishbosheth’s murderers. Thus, the house of Saul was brought to almost complete ruin. There were some descendants of Saul still alive, but they were weak and scattered. David was now the effective ruler over all Israel.
A. Upon the major defeat of the Byzantine Empire at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 AD, a powerful Byzantine General overthrew the reigning Byzantine Emperor to become the emperor himself. His name was Alexios I Komnenos, and founded the Komnenid dynasty. However, this dynasty was eventually overthrown in 1185 AD by the Angelid dynasty (Isaac II Angelos), who were possibly the weakest and worst rulers ever to rule over the Byzantine Empire.
B. Around this same time, in 1155 AD, Frederick Barbarossa was crowned the Holy Roman Emperor in Rome. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa made many campaigns into Italy, bringing much of the Italian Penninsula under his domain. (We will explore the parallels between Judah and Italy in a future post)
C. In 1182 AD, a great massacre occurred in Constantinople, in which all of the Roman Catholics (Latin West Christians) in the city of Constantinople were massacred in cold blood by Byzantine mobs. The Byzantine Emperor does nothing to stop the slaughter. (This atrocity makes a deep impression on the Latin West, and is possibly one of the reason for what happens in 1204 AD… see below)
D. In 1195 AD, Byzantine Emperor Isaac II Angelos was deposed by his brother Isaac III Angelos, who was a horrible ruler. The son of Isaac II sends a letter/message to the Crusader armies in Venice that he would like to meet with them. Isaac II promised to give much money and support the the Crusaders of the IV Crusade, who needed money to pay for ships they contracted with Venice…. if they would travel to Constantinople and re-install him has Emperor.
E. However, before the Crusaders traveled to Constantinople to re-install Isaac II Angelos, they first travel to the city of Zara on the Dalmatian Coast. The Venetians, who made the sailing vessels for the Crusader army, wanted payment for the ships they constructed. The Crusaders could not pay, so the Venetians asked the Crusader army to sail to the city of Zara, which used to be a city ruled by Venice in 998 AD. In the year 1030 AD, Zara was re-obtained by the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine’s gave Zara over to the Croatian state which kept Zara. The Venetians wanted the city back, and the Crusaders agreed to conquer the city and return it to the Venetians. The Crusaders conquered Zara in 1202 AD, and returned it to Venetian rule.
F. The Crusades made an agreement with Isaac II Angelos to re-install him as the Emperor in Constantinople in return for the support of the Byzantine Empire in the IV Crusade. The Crusaders besieged Constantinople in 1203 AD and re-installed Isaac II Angelos as Emperor. However, another coup occurred, and he was murdered by a Byzantine named Mourtzouphlos, who made himself Emperor. He immediately shut the gates of Constantinople to the Crusaders, who responded by besieging the city a second time in 1204 AD. However, this time, they brutally sacked the city for 3 days, massacring many many people. (Perhaps, they remembered the Massacre of the Latins in 1182 AD, and were getting revenge?)
G. When Pope Innocent III learned about the siege of Zara in 1202 AD, he excommunicated the entire Crusader army who was involved. They repented, and he lifted the excommunication. But, when the Crusader army besieged and sacked Constantinople in 1204 AD, he again excommunicated the entire Crusader army. The pope wanted to punish the Crusaders for their wicked deeds, but also wanted to make it publicly known that the order and command for these two unjust sieges DID NOT come from him (the pope).
H. The Crusaders conquered Constantinople for themselves, and made it into a Latin Kingdom. They ruled in Constantinople from 1204 AD to 1261 AD. The Byzantine Empire fractured into smaller little kingdoms in Byzantine lands outside of Constantinople. This period was known as the Latin-Byzantine wars, and was a “Christian Civil War” between the two great Christian Empires.