Bible: 2 Samuel 1-4

David Learns of the Deaths of Saul and Jonathan

1:1 After the death of Saul, 1  when David had returned from defeating the Amalekites, 2  he stayed at Ziklag 3  for two days. 1:2 On the third day a man arrived from the camp of Saul with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. 4  When he approached David, the man 5  threw himself to the ground. 6 

1:3 David asked him, “Where are you coming from?” He replied, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” 1:4 David inquired, “How were things going? 7  Tell me!” He replied, “The people fled from the battle and many of them 8  fell dead. 9  Even Saul and his son Jonathan are dead! 1:5 David said to the young man 10  who was telling him this, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead? 11  1:6 The young man who was telling him this 12  said, “I just happened to be on Mount Gilboa and came across Saul leaning on his spear for support. The chariots and leaders of the horsemen were in hot pursuit of him. 1:7 When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me. I answered, ‘Here I am!’ 1:8 He asked me, ‘Who are you?’ I told him, ‘I’m 13  an Amalekite.’ 1:9 He said to me, ‘Stand over me and finish me off! 14  I’m very dizzy, 15  even though I’m still alive.’ 16  1:10 So I stood over him and put him to death, since I knew that he couldn’t live in such a condition. 17  Then I took the crown which was on his head and the 18  bracelet which was on his arm. I have brought them here to my lord.” 19 

1:11 David then grabbed his own clothes 20  and tore them, as did all the men who were with him. 1:12 They lamented and wept and fasted until evening because Saul, his son Jonathan, the Lord’s people, and the house of Israel had fallen by the sword.

1:13 David said to the young man who told this to him, “Where are you from?” He replied, “I am an Amalekite, the son of a resident foreigner.” 21  1:14 David replied to him, “How is it that you were not afraid to reach out your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed? 1:15 Then David called one of the soldiers 22  and said, “Come here and strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. 1:16 David said to him, “Your blood be on your own head! Your own mouth has testified against you, saying ‘I have put the Lord’s anointed to death.’

David’s Tribute to Saul and Jonathan

1:17 Then David chanted this lament over Saul and his son Jonathan. 1:18 (He gave instructions that the people of Judah should be taught “The Bow.” 23  Indeed, it is written down in the Book of Yashar.) 24 

1:19 The beauty 25  of Israel lies slain on your high places!

How the mighty have fallen!

1:20 Don’t report it in Gath,

don’t spread the news in the streets of Ashkelon, 26 

or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice,

the daughters of the uncircumcised will celebrate!

1:21 O mountains of Gilboa,

may there be no dew or rain on you, nor fields of grain offerings! 27 

For it was there that the shield of warriors was defiled; 28 

the shield of Saul lies neglected without oil. 29 

1:22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of warriors,

the bow of Jonathan was not turned away.

The sword of Saul never returned 30  empty.

1:23 Saul and Jonathan were greatly loved 31  during their lives,

and not even in their deaths were they separated.

They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions.

1:24 O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,

who clothed you in scarlet 32  as well as jewelry,

who put gold jewelry on your clothes.

1:25 How the warriors have fallen

in the midst of battle!

Jonathan lies slain on your high places!

1:26 I grieve over you, my brother Jonathan!

You were very dear to me.

Your love was more special to me than the love of women.

1:27 How the warriors have fallen!

The weapons of war 33  are destroyed!

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, 34 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 35  of Hebron. 2:4 The men of Judah came and there they anointed David as king over the people 36  of Judah.

David was told, 37 The people 38  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 39  to your lord Saul by burying him. 2:6 Now may the Lord show you true kindness! 40  I also will reward you, 41  because you have done this deed. 2:7 Now be courageous 42  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 43  and had brought him to Mahanaim. 2:9 He appointed him king over Gilead, the Geshurites, 44  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 45  of Judah followed David. 2:11 David was king in Hebron over the people of Judah for seven and a half years. 46 

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 47  before us.” Joab said, “So be it! 48 

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. 49  So that place is called the Field of Flints; 50  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. 51  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 52  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. 53  How then could I show 54  my face in the presence of Joab your brother? 2:23 But Asahel 55  refused to turn aside. So Abner struck him in the abdomen with the back end of his 56  spear. The spear came out his back; Asahel 57  collapsed on the spot and died there right before Abner. 58  Everyone who now comes to the place where Asahel fell dead pauses in respect. 59 

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 60  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 61  of their brothers! 2:28 Then Joab blew the ram’s horn and all the people stopped in their tracks. 62  They stopped chasing Israel and ceased fighting. 63  2:29 Abner and his men went through the Arabah all that night. They crossed the Jordan River 64  and went through the whole region of Bitron 65  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. 66  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 67  was Kileab, born to Abigail the widow 68  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 69  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 70  in the house of Saul. 3:7 Now Saul had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. Ish-bosheth 71  said to Abner, “Why did you have sexual relations with 72  my father’s concubine? 73 

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 74  loyalty to the house of Saul your father and to his relatives 75  and his friends! I have not betrayed you into the hand of David. Yet you have accused me of sinning with this woman today! 76  3:9 God will severely judge Abner 77  if I do not do for David exactly what the Lord has promised him, 78  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 79  was unable to answer Abner with even a single word because he was afraid of him.

3:12 Then Abner sent messengers 80  to David saying, “To whom does the land belong? Make an agreement 81  with me, and I will do whatever I can 82  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.” 83 

3:14 David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth son of Saul with this demand: 84  “Give me my wife Michal whom I acquired 85  for a hundred Philistine foreskins.” 3:15 So Ish-bosheth took her 86  from her husband Paltiel 87  son of Laish. 3:16 Her husband went along behind her, weeping all the way to Bahurim. Finally Abner said to him, “Go back!” 88  So he returned home.

3:17 Abner advised 89  the elders of Israel, “Previously you were wanting David to be your king. 90  3:18 Act now! For the Lord has said to David, ‘By the hand of my servant David I will save 91  my people Israel from 92  the Philistines and from all their enemies.’

3:19 Then Abner spoke privately 93  with the Benjaminites. Abner also went to Hebron to inform David privately 94  of all that Israel and the entire house of Benjamin had agreed to. 95  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 96  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 97  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 98  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 99  has come to you! Why would you send him away? Now he’s gone on his way! 100  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 101  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 102  in the abdomen and killed him, avenging the shed blood of his brother Asahel. 103 

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 104  the head of Joab and the entire house of his father! 105  May the males of Joab’s house 106  never cease to have 107  someone with a running sore or a skin disease or one who works at the spindle 108  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 109  behind the funeral bier. 3:32 So they buried Abner in Hebron. The king cried loudly 110  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 111  were not bound,

and your feet were not put into irons.

You fell the way one falls before criminals.”

All the people 112  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 113  if I taste bread or anything whatsoever before the sun sets!

3:36 All the people noticed this and it pleased them. 114  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. 115 

3:38 Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not realize that a great leader 116  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! 117  May the Lord punish appropriately the one who has done this evil thing! 118 

Ish-bosheth is killed

4:1 When Ish-bosheth 119  the son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he was very disheartened, 120  and all Israel was afraid. 4:2 Now Saul’s son 121  had two men who were in charge of raiding units; one was named Baanah and the other Recab. They were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, who was a Benjaminite. (Beeroth is regarded as belonging to Benjamin, 4:3 for the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have remained there as resident foreigners until the present time.) 122 

4:4 Now Saul’s son Jonathan had a son who was crippled in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan arrived from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but in her haste to get away, he fell and was injured. 123  Mephibosheth was his name.

4:5 Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite – Recab and Baanah – went at the hottest part of the day to the home of Ish-bosheth, as he was enjoying his midday rest. 4:6 They 124  entered the house under the pretense of getting wheat and mortally wounded him 125  in the stomach. Then Recab and his brother Baanah escaped.

4:7 They had entered 126  the house while Ish-bosheth 127  was resting on his bed in his bedroom. They mortally wounded him 128  and then cut off his head. 129  Taking his head, 130  they traveled on the way of the Arabah all that night. 4:8 They brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David in Hebron, saying to the king, “Look! The head of Ish-bosheth son of Saul, your enemy who sought your life! The Lord has granted vengeance to my lord the king this day against 131  Saul and his descendants!

4:9 David replied to Recab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered my life from all adversity, 4:10 when someone told me that Saul was dead – even though he thought he was bringing good news 132 I seized him and killed him in Ziklag. That was the good news I gave to him! 4:11 Surely when wicked men have killed an innocent man as he slept 133  in his own house, should I not now require his blood from your hands and remove 134  you from the earth?

4:12 So David issued orders to the soldiers and they put them to death. Then they cut off their hands and feet and hung them 135  near the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth 136  and buried it in the tomb of Abner 137  in Hebron. 138 

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