The two armies then began to fight each other, and by the end of the day Abner and the men of Israel had been 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 deer,
and he began chasing Abner. He was relentless and single-minded in his pursuit.
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 refused and kept right on chasing Abner.
Again Abner shouted to him, "Get away from here! I will never be able to face your brother Joab if I have to kill you!"
But Asahel would not give up, 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 solve our differences with swords? Don't you realize the only thing we will gain is bitterness toward each other? 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."