Meanwhile, Abner1 son of Ner, the commander of Saul's army, had taken Ish-Bosheth2 son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim.39
He made him king over Gilead,4 Ashuria5 and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.610
Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David.
The length of time David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.712
Abner son of Ner, together with the men of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon.813
Joab9 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.
Then 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.
So they stood up and were counted off--twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David.
Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger10 into his opponent's side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.b17
The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated11 by David's men.1218
The three sons of Zeruiah13 were there: Joab,14 Abishai15 and Asahel.16 Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle.1719
He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him.
Abner looked behind him and asked, "Is that you, Asahel?" "It is," he answered.
Then 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.
Again Abner warned Asahel, "Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?"1823
But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel's stomach,19 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.2024
But 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.
Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill.
Abner called out to Joab, "Must the sword devour21 forever? Don't you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their brothers?"
Joab answered, "As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued the pursuit of their brothers until morning.c "
So Joab22 blew the trumpet,23 and all the men came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore.
All that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah.24 They crossed the Jordan, continued through the whole Bithrond and came to Mahanaim.2530
Then Joab returned from pursuing Abner and assembled all his men. Besides Asahel, nineteen of David's men were found missing.
But David's men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner.
They took Asahel and buried him in his father's tomb26 at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak.