A selection of verses showing what the Bible tells us about Joab, captain of king David’s army.

Joab was David’s nephew, son of his sister Zeruiah:

1 Chronicles 2 verses 15 - 16

15 Ozem the sixth, David the seventh; 16 and their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. The sons of Zeruiah: Abishai, Joab, and Asahel, three.

Joab attained pre-eminence among David’s fighting men by leading the capture of Jerusalem from the Jebusites:

1 Chronicles 11 verse 6

6 David said, “Whoever strikes the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain.” Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and was made chief.

During the battle that followed the death of Saul, Abner killed Asahel, Joab’s brother. Joab took revenge by murdering Abner:

2 Samuel 3 verse 30

30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.

David condemned this act of treachery and noted the ruthlessness of Joab and his brother Abishai:

2 Samuel 3 verse 39

39 I am weak today, though anointed king. These men, the sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me. May the LORD reward the evildoer according to his wickedness.” 

David's son Absalom led a rebellion and was killed by Joab in the battle that followed, causing great distress to David:

2 Samuel 18 verse 14

14 Then Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this with you.” He took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the middle of the oak.

2 Samuel 19 verses 1 - 2

1 Joab was told, “Behold, the king weeps and mourns for Absalom.” 2 The victory that day was turned into mourning amongst all the people; for the people heard it said that day, “The king grieves for his son.” 

However he supported Adonijah’s attempt to usurp the throne which had been promised to Solomon:

1 Kings 1 verse 5

5 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.” Then he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.

1 Kings 1 verse 7

7 He conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest; and they followed Adonijah and helped him.

David instructed Solomon to execute Joab for his treachery:

1 Kings 2 verses 5 - 6

5 “Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, even what he did to the two captains of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner, and to Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war on his sash that was around his waist, and in his sandals that were on his feet. 6 Do therefore according to your wisdom, and don’t let his grey head go down to Sheol in peace.

Beniah carried out this execution:

1 Kings 2 verse 34

34 Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and fell on him, and killed him; and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.

These chapters have links to this theme: