1 Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David, but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.
2 And sons were born unto David in Hebron; and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam, the Jezreelitess;
3 and his second, Chileab, of Abigail who had been the wife of Nabal of Carmel; and the third, Absalom, the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur;
4 and the fourth, Adonijah, the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah, the son of Abital;
5 and the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah, David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
6 And it came to pass while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul.
7 And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. And Ishbosheth said to Abner, Why hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine?
8 Then Abner was very angry for the words of Ishbosheth and said, Am I a dog’s head in regard to Judah? I have shown mercy this day unto the house of Saul, thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends and have not delivered thee into the hand of David that thou dost charge me today with iniquity concerning this woman?
9 Let God do to Abner and more also unless, as the LORD has sworn to David, so do I unto him,
10 to translate the kingdom from the house of Saul and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah from Dan even to Beersheba.
11 And he could not answer Abner a word again because he feared him.
12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose is the land? And that they should also say, Make thy covenant with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee.
13 And he said, Good; I will make a covenant with thee, but one thing I require of thee, that is, Thou shalt not see my face except thou first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when thou comest to see my face.
14 After this, David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for one hundred foreskins of the Philistines.
15 So Ishbosheth sent and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel, the son of Laish.
16 And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then Abner said unto him, Go, return. And he returned.
17 And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you;
18 now then do it, for the LORD has spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my slave David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines and out of the hand of all their enemies.
19 And Abner also spoke in the ears of Benjamin, and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel and that seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin.
20 So Abner came to David to Hebron and twenty men with him. And David made a banquet for Abner and the men that were with him.
21 And Abner said unto David, I will arise and go and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king that they may make a covenant with thee and that thou may reign over all that thy heart desires. And David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.
22 And, behold, the slaves of David and Joab came from pursuing a troop and brought in a great spoil with them. But Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace.
23 When Joab and all the host that was with him were come, they told Joab, saying, Abner, the son of Ner, came to the king, and he has sent him away, and he is gone in peace.
24 Then Joab came to the king and said, What hast thou done? Behold, Abner came unto thee; why is it that thou hast let him go?
25 Dost thou not know that Abner, the son of Ner, came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in and to know all that thou doest?
26 And when Joab was come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, who caused him to return from the well of Sirah, but David did not know it.
27 And when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly and smote him there under the fifth rib that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.
28 And afterward when David heard it, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the LORD for ever from the blood of Abner, the son of Ner.
29 Let it rest on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that has an issue or that is a leper or that leans on a staff or that dies by the sword or that lacks bread.
30 So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.
31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes and gird yourselves with sackcloth and mourn before Abner. And King David himself followed the bier.
32 And they buried Abner in Hebron, and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept.
33 And the king lamented over Abner and said, Abner died the death of a fool!
34 Thy hands were not bound nor thy feet put into fetters. Thou didst fall as a man falls before wicked men. And all the people wept again over him.
35 And when all the people came to cause David to eat food while it was yet day, David swore, saying, So do God to me, and more also if I taste bread or anything else until the sun is down.
36 And all the people understood, and it pleased them, for whatever the king did pleased all the people.
37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner, the son of Ner.
38 Then the king said unto his slaves, Do ye not know that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?
39 And I am this day a tender anointed king, and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me; the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.