During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner1 had been strengthening his own position in the house of Saul.
References for 2 Samuel 3:6
Now Saul had had a concubine2 named Rizpah3 daughter of Aiah. And Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, "Why did you sleep with my father's concubine?"
References for 2 Samuel 3:7
Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said and he answered, "Am I a dog's head4--on Judah's side? This very day I am loyal to the house of your father Saul and to his family and friends. I haven't handed you over to David. Yet now you accuse me of an offense involving this woman!
References for 2 Samuel 3:8
May God deal with Abner, be it ever so severely, if I do not do for David what the LORD promised5 him on oath
References for 2 Samuel 3:9
and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David's throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba."6
References for 2 Samuel 3:10
Ish-Bosheth did not dare to say another word to Abner, because he was afraid of him.
Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to say to David, "Whose land is it? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you bring all Israel over to you."
"Good," said David. "I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me."7
References for 2 Samuel 3:13
Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, "Give me my wife Michal,8 whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins."
References for 2 Samuel 3:14
So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband9 Paltiel10 son of Laish.
References for 2 Samuel 3:15
Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim.11 Then Abner said to him, "Go back home!" So he went back.
References for 2 Samuel 3:16
Abner conferred with the elders12 of Israel and said, "For some time you have wanted to make David your king.
References for 2 Samuel 3:17
Now do it! For the LORD promised David, 'By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines13 and from the hand of all their enemies.14' "
References for 2 Samuel 3:18
Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person. Then he went to Hebron to tell David everything that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin15 wanted to do.
References for 2 Samuel 3:19
When Abner, who had twenty men with him, came to David at Hebron, David prepared a feast16 for him and his men.
References for 2 Samuel 3:20
Then Abner said to David, "Let me go at once and assemble all Israel for my lord the king, so that they may make a compact17 with you, and that you may rule over all that your heart desires."18 So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.
References for 2 Samuel 3:21
Just then David's men and Joab returned from a raid and brought with them a great deal of plunder. But Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace.
References for 2 Samuel 3:22
When Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived, he was told that Abner son of Ner had come to the king and that the king had sent him away and that he had gone in peace.
So Joab went to the king and said, "What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone!
You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing."
Joab then left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know it.
Now when Abner19 returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the gateway, as though to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him20 in the stomach, and he died.21
References for 2 Samuel 3:27
Later, when David heard about this, he said, "I and my kingdom are forever innocent22 before the LORD concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner.
References for 2 Samuel 3:28
May his blood23 fall upon the head of Joab and upon all his father's house!24 May Joab's house never be without someone who has a running sore25 or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food."
References for 2 Samuel 3:29
(Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.)
Then David said to Joab and all the people with him, "Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth26 and walk in mourning27 in front of Abner." King David himself walked behind the bier.
References for 2 Samuel 3:31
They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept28 aloud at Abner's tomb. All the people wept also.
References for 2 Samuel 3:32
The king sang this lament29 for Abner: "Should Abner have died as the lawless die?
References for 2 Samuel 3:33
Your hands were not bound, your feet were not fettered.30 You fell as one falls before wicked men." And all the people wept over him again.
References for 2 Samuel 3:34
Then they all came and urged David to eat something while it was still day; but David took an oath, saying, "May God deal with me, be it ever so severely,31 if I taste bread32 or anything else before the sun sets!"
References for 2 Samuel 3:35
All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.
So on that day all the people and all Israel knew that the king had no part33 in the murder of Abner son of Ner.
References for 2 Samuel 3:37
Then the king said to his men, "Do you not realize that a prince and a great man has fallen34 in Israel this day?
References for 2 Samuel 3:38