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Joab (Heb. YVAB; Sept. `Ioab), general in chief of the army of King David. He was the son of Sarvia, sister of David, and had two brothers, Abisai and Asael. He appeared at the head of the forces of David after the latter had been proclaimed king in Hebron (II Kings, ii, 13-32). Abner, general of Saul's army, after having for a time espoused the cause of Isboseth, offered his services to David who accepted them, but he was treacherously slain by Joab to avenge the death of his brother Asael who had been slain by Abner in a. preceding battle (II Kings, iii, 27). Joab was in command of David's army in the campaign against the Ammonites, when, at the suggestion of David, he brought about the death of Urias the Hethite (xi, 14-17). It was also Joab who with his own hand slew Absalom as he hung from the branches of a tree in which he had become entangled in his flight (xviii, 1-15). Heartbroken by this act of Joab, David placed his nephew Amasa at the head of the army, but he was soon assassinated by Joab who again resumed command. Fear and self-interest caused David to retain him in that position, but he charged his successor Solomon to avenge the many crimes he had committed (III Kings, ii, 5, 6). After the accession of Solomon, Joab, fearing the wrath of the king, took refuge in the Tabernacle of the Lord, hoping to enjoy the inviolability of the sanctuary, but he was slain there by Banaias at the command of Solomon (III Kings, ii, 28-34).
James F. Driscoll.