and his second, Chileab,
of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite;
and the third, Absalom,
the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; Bible see other translations

“Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.” Chileab had a second name, “Daniel” (1 Chron. 3:1).

Abigail had been the wife of Nabal, who was evil and whom David was going to kill, but Abigail interceded for her husband and household and kept David from killing Nabal (1 Sam. 25:2-35). Nabal died, likely of a stroke (1 Sam. 25:37-38), and then David sent and took Abigail as a wife (1 Sam. 25:39-42). Abigail’s son, David’s second son, was likely first named “Daniel” (thus the name in 1 Chron. 3:1). “Daniel” is a compound of “God” (el) and the verb “judge” and would have meant something like, “God has judged,” with the idea being, “God has judged me and found me innocent.” Thus, Daniel was likely given his name because David felt himself innocent in Nabal’s death and in the fact he had taken Nabal’s wife as his own. David noted as much when he said that Yahweh had pleaded his case in the death of Nabal (1 Sam. 25:39).

It is likely that in time “Daniel” was given the name “Chileab,” which means “like the father,”a which would have happened if Chileab was known to be like his father in certain ways. Nothing is known about Chileab other than that he was David’s second son. He almost certainly died young. Neither Absalom, David’s third son, nor Adonijah, David’s fourth son, saw Chileab as being in the way in their bids for David’s throne, which Chileab would have been had he been alive.

“son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur.” This was a marriage for political expediency, which seems to show a weakness on David’s part. Note that the Geshurites were not Israelites (Josh. 13:13). Geshur was a small kingdom on the east side of the Jordan River and north of where Ish-bosheth had established his capital at Mahanaim. There is no doubt that this marriage was one of political expediency. David wanted support north of Ish-bosheth so he could harass and attack Ish-bosheth from the north as well as the south. It is said that success is harder to handle than failure, and while David was running from Saul he had to rely on Yahweh. Now it seems he is leaning on his own human logic instead of just trusting that what God said would come to pass and making truly godly choices. His marriage to Maacah also produced Absalom, who ultimately was killed by Joab for treason and rebelling against David.

A. Berlin, M. Brettler, M. Fishbane, Jewish Study Bible: Tanakh Translation, Jewish Publication Society.

Commentary for: 2 Samuel 3:3