Abner was the commander of King Saul's armies and was loyal to Saul until Saul's death. It was Abner who brought David to Saul after David had slain Goliath. Abner was seen as sitting next to Saul when they dined and guarding him when the army was in the field. Abner supported Saul in his conflict against David. Upon the death of Saul it was Abner who brought back Saul's son Ish-Bosheth to rule in his stead and continue the conflict with David.
During a battle between the forces of Saul led by Abner and the forces of David led by Joab, Asahel, the brother of Joab, would not stop pursuing Abner so that Abner was forced to kill him. Abner became angry at Ish-Bosheth when the King accused him of sleeping with one of the royal concubines and left to join David. Joab was upset when he heard and tried to convince David that Abner was not to be trusted, but David rebuffed him. Joab then called for a private meeting with Abner, and killed him to avenge the death of Asahel.