The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
Sons were born to David in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel;
his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; the third, Absalom the son of Maacah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;
the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;
and the sixth, Ithream the son of David's wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.
During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner had been strengthening his own position in the house of Saul.
Now Saul had had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, "Why did you sleep with my father's concubine?"
Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said and he answered, "Am I a dog's head--on Judah's side? This very day I am loyal to the house of your father Saul and to his family and friends. I haven't handed you over to David. Yet now you accuse me of an offense involving this woman!
May God deal with Abner, be it ever so severely, if I do not do for David what the LORD promised him on oath
and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David's throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba."
Ish-Bosheth did not dare to say another word to Abner, because he was afraid of him.
Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to say to David, "Whose land is it? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you bring all Israel over to you."
"Good," said David. "I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me."
Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, "Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins."
So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish.
Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, "Go back home!" So he went back.
Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, "For some time you have wanted to make David your king.
Now do it! For the LORD promised David, 'By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.' "
Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person. Then he went to Hebron to tell David everything that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin wanted to do.
When Abner, who had twenty men with him, came to David at Hebron, David prepared a feast for him and his men.
Then Abner said to David, "Let me go at once and assemble all Israel for my lord the king, so that they may make a compact with you, and that you may rule over all that your heart desires." So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.
Just then David's men and Joab returned from a raid and brought with them a great deal of plunder. But Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace.
When Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived, he was told that Abner son of Ner had come to the king and that the king had sent him away and that he had gone in peace.
So Joab went to the king and said, "What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone!
You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing."
Joab then left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know it.
Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the gateway, as though to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died.
Later, when David heard about this, he said, "I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the LORD concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner.
May his blood fall upon the head of Joab and upon all his father's house! May Joab's house never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food."
(Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.)
Then David said to Joab and all the people with him, "Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and walk in mourning in front of Abner." King David himself walked behind the bier.
They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner's tomb. All the people wept also.
The king sang this lament for Abner: "Should Abner have died as the lawless die?
Your hands were not bound, your feet were not fettered. You fell as one falls before wicked men." And all the people wept over him again.
Then they all came and urged David to eat something while it was still day; but David took an oath, saying, "May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets!"
All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.
So on that day all the people and all Israel knew that the king had no part in the murder of Abner son of Ner.
Then the king said to his men, "Do you not realize that a prince and a great man has fallen in Israel this day?
And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!"
When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed.
Now Saul's son had two men who were leaders of raiding bands. One was named Baanah and the other Recab; they were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite from the tribe of Benjamin--Beeroth is considered part of Benjamin,
because the people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim and have lived there as aliens to this day.
(Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.)
Now Recab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out for the house of Ish-Bosheth, and they arrived there in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest.
They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Recab and his brother Baanah slipped away.
They had gone into the house while he was lying on the bed in his bedroom. After they stabbed and killed him, they cut off his head. Taking it with them, they traveled all night by way of the Arabah.
They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, "Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to take your life. This day the LORD has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring."
David answered Recab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, "As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered me out of all trouble,
when a man told me, 'Saul is dead,' and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news!
How much more--when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed--should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!"
So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner's tomb at Hebron.
All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, "We are your own flesh and blood.
In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the LORD said to you, 'You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.' "
When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.
David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.
In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.
The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, "You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off." They thought, "David cannot get in here."
Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.
On that day, David said, "Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those 'lame and blind' who are David's enemies. " That is why they say, "The 'blind and lame' will not enter the palace."
David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the supporting terraces inward.
And he became more and more powerful, because the LORD God Almighty was with him.
Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David.
And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him.
These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon,
Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia,
Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.
When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold.
Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim;
so David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?" The LORD answered him, "Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you."
So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, "As waters break out, the LORD has broken out against my enemies before me." So that place was called Baal Perazim.
The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.
Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim;
so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, "Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees.
As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army."
So David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.