1 Now Saul was dead. After David haddefeated the Amalekites, he returned to Ziklag and stayed there two days. 2 On the third day a young man from Saul's camp came to Ziklag. To show his sadness, his clothes were torn and he had dirt on his head. He came and bowed facedown on the ground before David. 3 David asked him, "Where did you come from?" The man answered, "I escaped from the Israelite camp." 4 David asked him, "What happened? Please tell me!" The man answered, "The people have run away from the battle, and many of them have fallen and are dead. Saul and his son Jonathan are dead also." 5 David asked him, "How do you know Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?" 6 The young man answered, "I happened to be on Mount Gilboa. There I saw Saul leaning on his spear. The Philistine chariots and the men riding in them were coming closer to Saul. 7 When he looked back and saw me, he called to me. I answered him, 'Here I am!' 8 "Then Saul asked me, 'Who are you?' "I told him, 'I am an Amalekite.' 9 "Then Saul said to me, 'Please come here and kill me. I am badly hurt and am almost dead already.' 10 "So I went over and killed him. He had been hurt so badly I knew he couldn't live. Then I took the crown from his head and the bracelet from his arm, and I have brought them here to you, my master." 11 Then David tore his clothes to show his sorrow, and all the men with him did also. 12 They were very sad and cried and did not eat until evening. They cried for Saul and his son Jonathan and for all the people of the Lord and for all the Israelites who had died in the battle. 13 David asked the young man who brought the report, "Where are you from?" The young man answered, "I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite." 14 David asked him, "Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord's appointed king?" 15 Then David called one of his men and told him, "Go! Kill the Amalekite!" So the Israelite killed him. 16 David had said to the Amalekite, "You are responsible for your own death. You confessed by saying, 'I have killed the Lord's appointed king.'" 17 David sang a funeral song about Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this song. It is called "The Bow," and it is written in the Book of Jashar: 19 "Israel, your leaders have been killed on the hills. How the mighty have fallen in battle! 20 Don't tell it in Gath. Don't announce it in the streets of Ashkelon. If you do, the Philistine women will be happy. The daughters of the Philistines will rejoice. 21 "May there be no dew or rain on the mountains of Gilboa, and may their fields produce no grain, because there the mighty warrior's shield was dishonored. Saul's shield will no longer be rubbed with oil. 22 Jonathan's bow did not fail to kill many soldiers. Saul's sword did not fail to wound many strong men. 23 "We loved Saul and Jonathan and enjoyed them while they lived. They are together even in death. They were faster than eagles. They were stronger than lions. 24 "You daughters of Israel, cry for Saul. Saul clothed you with red dresses and put gold decorations on them. 25 "How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan is dead on Gilboa's hills. 26 I cry for you, my brother Jonathan. I enjoyed your friendship so much. Your love to me was wonderful, better than the love of women. 27 "How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war are gone."
1 Later, David prayed to the Lord, saying, "Should I go up to any of the cities of Judah?" The Lord said to David, "Go." David asked, "Where should I go?" The Lord answered, "To Hebron." 2 So David went up to Hebron with his two wives: Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. 3 David also brought his men and their families, and they all made their homes in the cities of Hebron. 4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron and appointed David king over Judah. They told David that the men of Jabesh Gilead had buried Saul. 5 So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead and said to them, "The Lord bless you. You have shown loyalty to your master Saul by burying him. 6 May the Lord now be loyal and true to you. I will also treat you well because you have done this. 7 Now be strong and brave. Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have appointed me their king." 8 Abner son of Ner was the commander of Saul's army. Abner took Saul's son Ish-Bosheth to Mahanaim 9 and made him king of Gilead, Ashuri, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and all Israel. 10 Saul's son Ish-Bosheth was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he ruled two years. But the people of Judah followed David. 11 David was king in Hebron for seven years and six months. 12 Abner son of Ner and the servants of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. 13 Joab son of Zeruiah and David's men also went there and met Abner and Ish-Bosheth's men at the pool of Gibeon. Abner's group sat on one side of the pool; Joab's group sat on the other. 14 Abner said to Joab, "Let the young men have a contest here." Joab said, "Yes, let them have a contest." 15 Then the men got up and were counted -- twelve from the people of Benjamin for Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve from David's men. 16 Each man grabbed the one opposite him by the head and stabbed him in the side with a knife. So the men fell down together. For that reason, that place in Gibeon is called the Field of Knives. 17 That day there was a terrible battle, and David's men defeated Abner and the Israelites. 18 Zeruiah's three sons, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel, were there. Now Asahel was a fast runner, as fast as a deer in the field. 19 Asahel chased Abner, going straight toward him. 20 Abner looked back and asked, "Is that you, Asahel?" Asahel said, "Yes, it is." 21 Then Abner said to Asahel, "Turn to your right or left and catch one of the young men and take his armor." But Asahel refused to stop chasing him. 22 Abner again said to Asahel, "Stop chasing me! If you don't stop, I'll have to kill you! Then I won't be able to face your brother Joab again!" 23 But Asahel refused to stop chasing Abner. So using the back end of his spear, Abner stabbed Asahel in the stomach, and the spear came out of his back. Asahel died right there, and everyone stopped when they came to the place where Asahel's body lay. 24 But Joab and Abishai continued chasing Abner. As the sun was going down, they arrived at the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the desert near Gibeon. 25 The men of Benjamin came to Abner, and all stood together at the top of the hill. 26 Abner shouted to Joab, "Must the sword kill forever? Surely you must know this will only end in sadness! Tell the people to stop chasing their own brothers!" 27 Then Joab said, "As surely as God lives, if you had not said anything, the people would have chased their brothers until morning." 28 Then Joab blew a trumpet, and his people stopped chasing the Israelites. They did not fight them anymore. 29 Abner and his men marched all night through the Jordan Valley. They crossed the Jordan River, and after marching all day, arrived at Mahanaim. 30 After he had stopped chasing Abner, Joab came back and gathered the people together. Asahel and nineteen of David's men were missing. 31 But David's men had killed three hundred sixty Benjaminites who had followed Abner. 32 David's men took Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night. The sun came up as they reached Hebron.
1 There was a long war between the people who supported Saul's fam- ily and those who supported David's family. The supporters of David's family became stronger and stronger, but the supporters of Saul's family became weaker and weaker. 2 Sons were born to David at Hebron. The first was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel. 3 The second son was Kileab, whose mother was Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. The third son was Absalom, whose mother was Maacah daughter of Talmai, the king of Geshur. 4 The fourth son was Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith. The fifth son was Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital. 5 The sixth son was Ithream, whose mother was Eglah, David's wife. These sons were born to David at Hebron. 6 During the war between the supporters of Saul's family and the supporters of David's family, Abner made himself a main leader among the supporters of Saul. 7 Saul once had a slave woman named Rizpah, who was the daughter of Aiah. Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, "Why did you have sexual relations with my father's slave woman?" 8 Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said, and he replied, "I have been loyal to Saul and his family and friends! I didn't hand you over to David. I am not a traitor working for Judah! But now you are saying I did something wrong with this woman! 9 May God help me if I don't join David! I will make sure that what the Lord promised does happen! 10 I will take the kingdom from the family of Saul and make David king of Israel and Judah, from Dan to Beersheba!" 11 Ish-Bosheth couldn't say anything to Abner, because he was afraid of him. 12 Then Abner sent messengers to ask David, "Who is going to rule the land? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you unite all Israel." 13 David answered, "Good! I will make an agreement with you, but I ask you one thing. I will not meet with you unless you bring Saul's daughter Michal to me." 14 Then David sent messengers to Saul's son Ish-Bosheth, saying, "Give me my wife Michal. She was promised to me, and I killed a hundred Philistines to get her." 15 So Ish-Bosheth sent men to take Michal from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. 16 Michal's husband went with her, crying as he followed her to Bahurim. But Abner said to Paltiel, "Go back home." So he went home. 17 Abner sent this message to the older leaders of Israel: "You have been wanting to make David your king. 18 Now do it! The Lord said of David, 'Through my servant David, I will save my people Israel from the Philistines and all their enemies.'" 19 Abner also said these things to the people of Benjamin. He then went to Hebron to tell David what the Benjaminites and Israel wanted to do. 20 Abner came with twenty men to David at Hebron. There David prepared a feast for them. 21 Abner said to David, "My master and king, I will go and bring all the Israelites to you. Then they will make an agreement with you so you will rule over all Israel as you wanted." So David let Abner go, and he left in peace. 22 Just then Joab and David's men came from a battle, bringing many valuable things they had taken from the enemy. David had let Abner leave in peace, so he was not with David at Hebron. 23 When Joab and all his army arrived at Hebron, the army said to Joab, "Abner son of Ner came to King David, and David let him leave in peace." 24 Joab came to the king and said, "What have you done? Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he's gone. 25 You know Abner son of Ner! He came to trick you! He came to learn about everything you are doing!" 26 After Joab left David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know this. 27 When Abner arrived at Hebron, Joab took him aside into the gateway. He acted as though he wanted to talk with Abner in private, but Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and Abner died. Abner had killed Joab's brother Asahel, so Joab killed Abner to pay him back. 28 Later when David heard the news, he said, "My kingdom and I are innocent forever of the death of Abner son of Ner. The Lord knows this. 29 Joab and his family are responsible for this. May his family always have someone with sores or with a skin disease. May they always have someone who must lean on a crutch. May some of his family be killed in war. May they always have someone without food to eat." 30 (Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.) 31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people with Joab, "Tear your clothes and put on rough cloth to show how sad you are. Cry for Abner." King David himself followed the body of Abner. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and David and all the people cried at Abner's grave. 33 King David sang this funeral song for Abner. "Did Abner die like a fool? 34 His hands were not tied. His feet were not in chains. He fell at the hands of evil men." Then all the people cried again for Abner. 35 They came to encourage David to eat while it was still day. But he made a promise, saying, "May God punish me terribly if I eat bread or anything else before the sun sets!" 36 All the people saw what happened, and they agreed with what the king was doing, just as they agreed with everything he did. 37 That day all the people of Judah and Israel understood that David did not order the killing of Abner son of Ner. 38 David said to his officers, "You know that a great man died today in Israel. 39 Even though I am the appointed king, I feel empty. These sons of Zeruiah are too much for me. May the Lord give them the punishment they should have."