"Jehovah is his father." One of the three sons of Zeruiah, David's sister, and "captain of the host" during the whole of David's reign.1 His father's name is nowhere mentioned, although his sepulcher at Bethlehem is mentioned.2 His two brothers were Abishai and Asahel, the swift of foot, who was killed by Abner,3 whom Joab afterwards treacherously murdered.4 He afterwards led the assault at the storming of the fortress on Mount Zion, and for this service was raised to the rank of "prince of the king's army."5 His chief military achievements were (1) against the allied forces of Syria and Ammon; (2) against Edom;6 and (3) against the Ammonites.7

Joab's character is deeply stained by the part he willingly took in the murder of Uriah.8 He acted apparently from a sense of duty in putting Absalom to death.9 David was unmindful of the many services Joab had rendered to him, and afterwards gave the command of the army to Amasa, Joab's cousin.10 When David was dying Joab espoused the cause of Adonijah in preference to that of Solomon. He was afterwards slain by Benaiah, by the command of Solomon, in accordance with his father's injunction,11 at the altar to which he had fled for refuge. Thus Joab died without one to lift up a voice in his favor. He was buried in his own property in the "wilderness," probably in the north-east of Jerusalem.12 Benaiah succeeded him as commander-in-chief of the army.




  • Easton, M.G. (1897). Easton's Bible Dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.

This article incorporates text from Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1897) by M.G. Easton, which is in the public domain.