Now 1there was a longwarbetween the house of Saul and the house of David; and Davidgrewsteadilystronger, but the house of Saulgrewweakercontinually.
22Sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, by 3Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;
and his second, Chileab, by Abigail the awidow of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of 4Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of 5Geshur;
and the fourth, 6Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;
and the sixth, Ithream, by David'swifeEglah. These were born to David at Hebron.
It came about while there was warbetween the house of Saul and the house of David that 7Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul.
Now Saul had a concubine whose name was 8Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and bIsh-bosheth said to Abner, "Why have you gone in to my father'sconcubine?"
Then Abner was veryangryover the words of Ish-bosheth and said, "9Am I a dog'shead that belongs to Judah? Today I showkindness to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hands of David; and yet today you charge me with a guilt concerning the woman.
"10May Goddoso to Abner, and more also, if11as the LORD has sworn to David, I do not accomplishthis for him,
1012to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of DavidoverIsrael and overJudah, 13from Dan even to Beersheba."
And he couldnolongeranswerAbner a word, because he was afraid of him.
Then Abnersentmessengers to David in his place, saying, "Whose is the land? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bringallIsraelover to you."
He said, "Good! I will make a covenant with you, but I demandonething of you, cnamely, 14you shall not see my faceunless you 15firstbringMichal, Saul'sdaughter, when you come to seedme."
So Davidsentmessengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul'sson, saying, "Give me my wifeMichal, to whom I was betrothed16for a hundredforeskins of the Philistines."
15Ish-boshethsent and took her from her husband, from ePaltiel the son of Laish.
But her husbandwent with her, weeping as he went, and followed her as far as 17Bahurim. Then Abnersaid to him, "Go, return." So he returned.
Now Abnerhadfconsultation with 18the elders of Israel, saying, "In timespast you were seeking for David to be kingover you.
18"Now then, do it! For the LORD has spoken of David, saying, '19By the hand of My servantDavidgI will save My peopleIsrael from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.' "
19Abneralsospoke in the hearing of Benjamin; and in additionAbnerwent to speak in the hearing of David in Hebronall that seemed good to Israel and to 20the wholehouse of Benjamin.
Then Abner and twentymen with him came to David at Hebron. And Davidmade a feast for Abner and the menwho were with him.
21Abnersaid to David, "Let me arise and go and 21gatherallIsrael to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that 22you may be king over all that your souldesires." So DavidsentAbneraway, and he went in peace.
And behold, 23the servants of David and Joabcame from a raid and broughtmuchspoil with them; but Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace.
When Joab and all the army that was with him arrived, they toldJoab, saying, "Abner the son of Nercame to the king, and he has sent him away, and he has gone in peace."
Then Joabcame to the king and said, "What have you done? Behold, Abnercame to you; whythen have you sent him away and he is alreadygone?
"You knowAbner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive you and to learn of 24your going out and coming in and to find out all that you are doing."
When Joabcame out from David, he sentmessengersafterAbner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David did not know it.
So when Abnerreturned to Hebron, Joabtook him aside into the middle of the gate to speak with him privately, and there25he struck him in the belly so that he died on account of the blood of Asahel his brother.
28Afterward when Davidheard it, he said, "I and my kingdom are innocentbefore the LORDforever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner.
"26May it hfall on the head of Joab and on all his father'shouse; and may there not fail from the house of Joab27one who has a discharge, or who is a leper, or who takeshold of a distaff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacksbread."
So Joab and Abishai his brotherkilledAbner28because he had put their brotherAsahel to death in the battle at Gibeon.
Then Davidsaid to Joab and to all the peoplewho were with him, "29Tear your clothes and gird on sackcloth and lamentbeforeAbner." And KingDavidwalkedbehind the bier.
Thus they buriedAbner in Hebron; and the kinglifted up his voice and wept at 30the grave of Abner, and all the peoplewept.
3331The kingchanted a lament for Abner and said, "Should Abnerdie as a fooldies?
"Your hands were not bound, nor your feetput in fetters; As one fallsbefore the iwicked , you have fallen." And all the peopleweptagainover him.
Then all the peoplecame32to jpersuade David to eatbread while it was stillday; but Davidvowed, saying, "33May Goddoso to me, and more also, if I tastebreadoranythingelse34before the sungoes down."
Now all the peopletooknote of it, and it kpleased them, just as everything the kingdidlpleasedall the people.
So all the people and allIsraelunderstood that day that it had not been the will of the king to putAbner the son of Ner to death.
Then the kingsaid to his servants, "Do you not know that a prince and a greatman has fallenthisday in Israel?
"I am 35weaktoday, though anointedking; and thesemen36the sons of Zeruiah are toodifficult for me. 37May the LORDrepay the evildoer according to his evil."