1In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked. The Lord said, “Go up.” David asked, “Where shall I go?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered.2So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.3David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns.4Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah. When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul,5he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him.6May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this.7Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.”
War Between the Houses of David and Saul
8Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim.9He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.10Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David.11The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.12Abner son of Ner, together with the men of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon.13Joab son of Zeruiah and David’s men went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool and one group on the other side.14Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us.” “All right, let them do it,” Joab said.15So they stood up and were counted off—twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David.16Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent’s side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.17The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the Israelites were defeated by David’s men.18The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle.19He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him.20Abner looked behind him and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?” “It is,” he answered.21Then Abner said to him, “Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel would not stop chasing him.22Again Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?”23But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.24But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon.25Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill.26Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?”27Joab answered, “As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued pursuing them until morning.”28So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the troops came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore.29All that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, continued through the morning hours and came to Mahanaim.30Then Joab stopped pursuing Abner and assembled the whole army. Besides Asahel, nineteen of David’s men were found missing.31But David’s men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner.32They took Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak.
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.