Later on, David heard about it. He said, "I and the people of my kingdom aren't guilty of spilling the blood of Abner, the son of Ner. We are free of blame forever in the sight of the Lord.
"May Joab and his whole family line be held accountable for spilling Abner's blood! May someone in Joab's family always have an open sore or skin disease. May someone in his family always have to use a crutch to walk. May someone in his family be killed with a sword. And may someone in his family never have enough food to eat."
Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner. They did it because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.
David spoke to Joab and all of the people who were with him. He said, "Tear your clothes. Put on black clothes. Sob when you walk in front of Abner's body." King David himself walked behind it.
Abner's body was buried in Hebron. The king sobbed out loud at Abner's tomb. So did the rest of the people.
King David sang a song of sadness over Abner. He said, "Should Abner have died as sinful people do?
His hands were not tied. His feet were not chained. He died as if he had been killed by evil people." All of the people sobbed over Abner again.
Then all of them came and begged David to eat something. They wanted him to eat while it was still day. But David took an oath. He said, "I won't taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down. If I do, may God punish me greatly!"
All of the people heard it and were pleased. In fact, everything the king did pleased them.
So on that day all of the people of Judah and Israel understood. They knew that the king didn't have anything to do with the murder of Abner, the son of Ner.
The king spoke to his men. He said, "Don't you realize that a great commander has died in Israel today?
I'm the anointed king. But today I'm weak. These sons of Zeruiah are too powerful for me. May the LORD pay back the one who killed Abner! May he pay him back for the evil thing he has done!"