1After Saul and Jonathan died, David asked the Lord for advice. “Should I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked. The Lord said, “Go up.” David asked, “Where should I go?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered.2So David went up there with his two wives. Their names were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail from Carmel. Abigail was Nabal's widow.3David also took his men and their families with him. They settled down in Hebron and its towns.4Then the men of Judah came to Hebron. There they anointed David to be king over the people of Judah. David was told that the men of Jabesh Gilead had buried Saul's body.5So he sent messengers to them to speak for him. The messengers said, “You were kind to bury the body of your master Saul. May the Lord bless you for that.6And may he now be kind and faithful to you. David will treat you well for being kind to Saul's body.7Now then, be strong and brave. Your master Saul is dead. And the people of Judah have anointed David to be king over them.”
The Armies of David and Saul Fight Each Other
8Abner, the son of Ner, was commander of Saul's army. He had brought Saul's son Ish‑Bosheth to Mahanaim.9There he made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel. He also made him king over Ephraim, Benjamin and other areas of Israel.10Ish‑Bosheth was 40 years old when he became king over Israel. He ruled for two years. But the people of Judah followed David.11David was king in Hebron over the people of Judah for seven and a half years.12Abner, the son of Ner, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. The men of Ish‑Bosheth, the son of Saul, went with him.13Joab, the son of Zeruiah, and David's men also went out. All of them met at the pool in Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool. The other group sat on the other side.14Then Abner said to Joab, “Let's have some of the young men get up and fight. Let's tell them to fight hand to hand in front of us.” “All right. Let them do it,” Joab said.15So the young men stood up and were counted off. There were 12 on the side of Benjamin and Saul's son Ish‑Bosheth. And there were 12 on David's side.16Each man grabbed one of his enemies by the head. Each one stuck his dagger into the other man's side. And all of them fell down together and died. So that place in Gibeon was named Helkath Hazzurim.17The fighting that day was very heavy. Abner and the men of Israel lost the battle to David's men.18The three sons of Zeruiah were there. Their names were Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Asahel was as quick on his feet as a wild antelope.19He chased Abner. He didn't turn to the right or the left as he chased him.20Abner looked behind him. He asked, “Asahel, is that you?” “It is,” he answered.21Then Abner said to him, “Turn to the right or the left. Fight one of the young men. Take his weapons away from him.” But Asahel wouldn't stop chasing him.22Again Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me! If you don't, I'll strike you down. Then how could I look your brother Joab in the face?”23But Asahel refused to give up the chase. So Abner drove the dull end of his spear into Asahel's stomach. The spear came out of his back. He fell and died right there on the spot. Every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.24But Joab and Abishai chased Abner. As the sun was going down, they came to the hill of Ammah. It was near Giah on the way to the dry and empty land close to Gibeon.25The men of Benjamin gathered in a group around Abner. They took their stand on top of a hill.26Abner called out to Joab, “Do you want our swords to keep on killing us off? Don't you know that all of this fighting will end in bitter feelings? How long will it be before you order your men to stop chasing their fellow Israelites?”27Joab answered, “It's a good thing you spoke up. If you hadn't, the men would have kept on chasing their fellow Israelites until morning. And that's just as sure as God is alive.”28So Joab blew a trumpet. All of the men stopped. They didn't chase Israel anymore. They didn't fight anymore either.29All that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah Valley. They went across the Jordan River. They kept on going through the whole Bithron. Finally, they came to Mahanaim.30Then Joab returned from chasing Abner. He gathered all of his men together. Besides Asahel, only 19 of David's men were missing.31But David's men had killed 360 men from Benjamin who were with Abner.32They got Asahel's body and buried it in his father's tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night. They arrived at Hebron at sunrise.
2 Samuel 2
English Standard Version
David Anointed King of Judah
1After this David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” And he said, “To Hebron.” (Jos 14:13; 1Sa 22:10)2So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. (1Sa 25:42)3And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. (1Sa 27:2; 1Sa 30:1; 1Ch 12:1)4And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. When they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” (1Sa 31:11; 2Sa 5:5)5David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him. (Ru 2:20)6Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you. And I will do good to you because you have done this thing.7Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.” (2Sa 2:4)
Ish-bosheth Made King of Israel
8But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim, (Jos 13:26; 1Sa 14:50)9and he made him king over Gilead and the Ashurites and Jezreel and Ephraim and Benjamin and all Israel.10Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.11And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months. (2Sa 2:4; 2Sa 5:5; 1Ki 2:11)
The Battle of Gibeon
12Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.13And Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. And they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. (Jer 41:12)14And Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men arise and compete before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.”15Then they arose and passed over by number, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.16And each caught his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side, so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is at Gibeon.17And the battle was very fierce that day. And Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.18And the three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Now Asahel was as swift of foot as a wild gazelle. (1Sa 26:6; 2Sa 22:34; 1Ch 2:16; 1Ch 12:8; Ps 18:33; So 2:17; So 8:14; Hab 3:19)19And Asahel pursued Abner, and as he went, he turned neither to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner.20Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Is it you, Asahel?” And he answered, “It is I.”21Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, and seize one of the young men and take his spoil.” But Asahel would not turn aside from following him.22And Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother Joab?”23But he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner struck him in the stomach with the butt of his spear, so that the spear came out at his back. And he fell there and died where he was. And all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still. (2Sa 3:27; 2Sa 4:6; 2Sa 20:10)24But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. And as the sun was going down they came to the hill of Ammah, which lies before Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon.25And the people of Benjamin gathered themselves together behind Abner and became one group and took their stand on the top of a hill.26Then Abner called to Joab, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter? How long will it be before you tell your people to turn from the pursuit of their brothers?”27And Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely the men would not have given up the pursuit of their brothers until the morning.” (2Sa 2:14; Pr 17:14)28So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the men stopped and pursued Israel no more, nor did they fight anymore.29And Abner and his men went all that night through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, and marching the whole morning, they came to Mahanaim. (De 1:1; Jos 13:26; 2Sa 2:8)30Joab returned from the pursuit of Abner. And when he had gathered all the people together, there were missing from David’s servants nineteen men besides Asahel.31But the servants of David had struck down of Benjamin 360 of Abner’s men.32And they took up Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was at Bethlehem. And Joab and his men marched all night, and the day broke upon them at Hebron.