A fierce battle followed that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the forces of David.
Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle,
and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything.
When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?” “Yes, it is,” he replied.
“Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner.
Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?”
But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrust the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there.
When Joab and Abishai found out what had happened, they set out after Abner. The sun was just going down as they arrived at the hill of Ammah near Giah, along the road to the wilderness of Gibeon.
Abner’s troops from the tribe of Benjamin regrouped there at the top of the hill to take a stand.
Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?”
Then Joab said, “God only knows what would have happened if you hadn’t spoken, for we would have chased you all night if necessary.”