Bible: 2 Sam 2-3

David is Anointed King

2:1 Afterward David inquired of the Lord, “Should I go up to one of the cities of Judah?” The Lord told him, “Go up.” David asked, “Where should I go?” The Lord replied, 1 To Hebron.” 2:2 So David went up, along with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail, formerly the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 2:3 David also brought along the men who were with him, each with his family. They settled in the cities 2  of Hebron. 2:4 The men of Judah came and there they anointed David as king over the people 3  of Judah.

David was told, 4 The people 5  of Jabesh Gilead are the ones who buried Saul.” 2:5 So David sent messengers to the people of Jabesh Gilead and told them, “May you be blessed by the Lord because you have shown this kindness 6  to your lord Saul by burying him. 2:6 Now may the Lord show you true kindness! 7  I also will reward you, 8  because you have done this deed. 2:7 Now be courageous 9  and prove to be valiant warriors, for your lord Saul is dead. The people of Judah have anointed me as king over them.”

David’s Army Clashes with the Army of Saul

2:8 Now Abner son of Ner, the general in command of Saul’s army, had taken Saul’s son Ish-bosheth 10  and had brought him to Mahanaim. 2:9 He appointed him king over Gilead, the Geshurites, 11  Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and all Israel. 2:10 Ish-bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he began to rule over Israel. He ruled two years. However, the people 12  of Judah followed David. 2:11 David was king in Hebron over the people of Judah for seven and a half years. 13 

2:12 Then Abner son of Ner and the servants of Ish-bosheth son of Saul went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 2:13 Joab son of Zeruiah and the servants of David also went out and confronted them at the pool of Gibeon. One group stationed themselves on one side of the pool, and the other group on the other side of the pool. 2:14 Abner said to Joab, “Let the soldiers get up and fight 14  before us.” Joab said, “So be it! 15 

2:15 So they got up and crossed over by number: twelve belonging to Benjamin and to Ish-bosheth son of Saul, and twelve from the servants of David. 2:16 As they grappled with one another, each one stabbed his opponent with his sword and they fell dead together. 16  So that place is called the Field of Flints; 17  it is in Gibeon.

2:17 Now the battle was very severe that day; Abner and the men of Israel were overcome by David’s soldiers. 18  2:18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there – Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. (Now Asahel was as quick on his feet as one of the gazelles in the field.) 2:19 Asahel chased Abner, without turning to the right or to the left as he followed Abner.

2:20 Then Abner turned and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?” He replied, “Yes it is! 2:21 Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right or to your left. Capture one of the soldiers 19  and take his equipment for yourself!” But Asahel was not willing to turn aside from following him. 2:22 So Abner spoke again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me! I do not want to strike you to the ground. 20  How then could I show 21  my face in the presence of Joab your brother? 2:23 But Asahel 22  refused to turn aside. So Abner struck him in the abdomen with the back end of his 23  spear. The spear came out his back; Asahel 24  collapsed on the spot and died there right before Abner. 25  Everyone who now comes to the place where Asahel fell dead pauses in respect. 26 

2:24 So Joab and Abishai chased Abner. At sunset they came to the hill of Ammah near Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. 2:25 The Benjaminites formed their ranks 27  behind Abner and were like a single army, standing at the top of a certain hill.

2:26 Then Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will turn bitter in the end? When will you tell the people to turn aside from pursuing their brothers? 2:27 Joab replied, “As surely as God lives, if you had not said this, it would have been morning before the people would have abandoned pursuit 28  of their brothers! 2:28 Then Joab blew the ram’s horn and all the people stopped in their tracks. 29  They stopped chasing Israel and ceased fighting. 30  2:29 Abner and his men went through the Arabah all that night. They crossed the Jordan River 31  and went through the whole region of Bitron 32  and came to Mahanaim.

2:30 Now Joab returned from chasing Abner and assembled all the people. Nineteen of David’s soldiers were missing, in addition to Asahel. 2:31 But David’s soldiers had slaughtered the Benjaminites and Abner’s men – in all, 360 men had died! 2:32 They took Asahel’s body and buried him in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem. 33  Joab and his men then traveled all that night and reached Hebron by dawn. 3:1 However, the war was prolonged between the house of Saul and the house of David. David was becoming steadily stronger, while the house of Saul was becoming increasingly weaker.

3:2 Now sons were born to David in Hebron. His firstborn was Amnon, born to Ahinoam the Jezreelite. 3:3 His second son 34  was Kileab, born to Abigail the widow 35  of Nabal the Carmelite. His third son was Absalom, the son of Maacah daughter of King Talmai of Geshur. 3:4 His fourth son was Adonijah, the son of Haggith. His fifth son was Shephatiah, the son of Abitail. 3:5 His sixth son was Ithream, born to David’s wife Eglah. These sons 36  were all born to David in Hebron.

Abner Defects to David’s Camp

3:6 As the war continued between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was becoming more influential 37  in the house of Saul. 3:7 Now Saul had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. Ish-bosheth 38  said to Abner, “Why did you have sexual relations with 39  my father’s concubine? 40 

3:8 These words of Ish-bosheth really angered Abner and he said, “Am I the head of a dog that belongs to Judah? This very day I am demonstrating 41  loyalty to the house of Saul your father and to his relatives 42  and his friends! I have not betrayed you into the hand of David. Yet you have accused me of sinning with this woman today! 43  3:9 God will severely judge Abner 44  if I do not do for David exactly what the Lord has promised him, 45  3:10 namely, to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah all the way from Dan to Beer Sheba! 3:11 Ish-bosheth 46  was unable to answer Abner with even a single word because he was afraid of him.

3:12 Then Abner sent messengers 47  to David saying, “To whom does the land belong? Make an agreement 48  with me, and I will do whatever I can 49  to cause all Israel to turn to you.” 3:13 So David said, “Good! I will make an agreement with you. I ask only one thing from you. You will not see my face unless you bring Saul’s daughter Michal when you come to visit me.” 50 

3:14 David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth son of Saul with this demand: 51  “Give me my wife Michal whom I acquired 52  for a hundred Philistine foreskins.” 3:15 So Ish-bosheth took her 53  from her husband Paltiel 54  son of Laish. 3:16 Her husband went along behind her, weeping all the way to Bahurim. Finally Abner said to him, “Go back!” 55  So he returned home.

3:17 Abner advised 56  the elders of Israel, “Previously you were wanting David to be your king. 57  3:18 Act now! For the Lord has said to David, ‘By the hand of my servant David I will save 58  my people Israel from 59  the Philistines and from all their enemies.’

3:19 Then Abner spoke privately 60  with the Benjaminites. Abner also went to Hebron to inform David privately 61  of all that Israel and the entire house of Benjamin had agreed to. 62  3:20 When Abner, accompanied by twenty men, came to David in Hebron, David prepared a banquet for Abner and the men who were with him. 3:21 Abner said to David, “Let me leave so that I may go and gather all Israel to my lord the king so that they may make an agreement 63  with you. Then you will rule over all that you desire.” So David sent Abner away, and he left in peace.

Abner Is Killed

3:22 Now David’s soldiers 64  and Joab were coming back from a raid, bringing a great deal of plunder with them. Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, for David 65  had sent him away and he had left in peace. 3:23 When Joab and all the army that was with him arrived, Joab was told: “Abner the son of Ner came to the king; he sent him away, and he left in peace!

3:24 So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Abner 66  has come to you! Why would you send him away? Now he’s gone on his way! 67  3:25 You know Abner the son of Ner! Surely he came here to spy on you and to determine when you leave and when you return 68  and to discover everything that you are doing!

3:26 Then Joab left David and sent messengers after Abner. They brought him back from the well of Sirah. (But David was not aware of it.) 3:27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside at the gate as if to speak privately with him. Joab then stabbed him 69  in the abdomen and killed him, avenging the shed blood of his brother Asahel. 70 

3:28 When David later heard about this, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord of the shed blood of Abner son of Ner! 3:29 May his blood whirl over 71  the head of Joab and the entire house of his father! 72  May the males of Joab’s house 73  never cease to have 74  someone with a running sore or a skin disease or one who works at the spindle 75  or one who falls by the sword or one who lacks food!

3:30 So Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel in Gibeon during the battle.

3:31 David instructed Joab and all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes! Put on sackcloth! Lament before Abner!” Now King David followed 76  behind the funeral bier. 3:32 So they buried Abner in Hebron. The king cried loudly 77  over Abner’s grave and all the people wept too. 3:33 The king chanted the following lament for Abner:

“Should Abner have died like a fool?

3:34 Your hands 78  were not bound,

and your feet were not put into irons.

You fell the way one falls before criminals.”

All the people 79  wept over him again. 3:35 Then all the people came and encouraged David to eat food while it was still day. But David took an oath saying, “God will punish me severely 80  if I taste bread or anything whatsoever before the sun sets!

3:36 All the people noticed this and it pleased them. 81  In fact, everything the king did pleased all the people. 3:37 All the people and all Israel realized on that day that the killing of Abner son of Ner was not done at the king’s instigation. 82 

3:38 Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not realize that a great leader 83  has fallen this day in Israel? 3:39 Today I am weak, even though I am anointed as king. These men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too much for me to bear! 84  May the Lord punish appropriately the one who has done this evil thing! 85 

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