David Learns of Saul's Death
1 1 Now after the death of Saul, when David, having come back from the destruction of the Amalekites, had been in Ziklag for two days; 2 On the third day a man came from Saul's tents, with his clothing out of order and earth on his head: and when he came to David, he went down on the earth and gave him honour. 3 And David said to him, Where have you come from? And he said, I have come in flight from the tents of Israel. 4 And David said to him, How did things go? Give me the news. And in answer he said, The people have gone in flight from the fight, and a great number of them are dead; and Saul and his son Jonathan are dead. 5 And David said to the young man who gave him the news, Why are you certain that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead? 6 And the young man said, I came by chance to Mount Gilboa, and I saw Saul supporting himself on his spear; and the war-carriages and horsemen overtook him. 7 And looking back, he saw me and gave a cry to me. And answering him I said, Here am I. 8 And he said to me, Who are you? And I said, I am an Amalekite. 9 Then he said to me, Come here to my side, and put me to death, for the pain of death has me in its grip but my life is still strong in me. 10 So I put my foot on him and gave him his death-blow, because I was certain that he would not go on living after his fall: and I took the crown from his head and the band from his arm, and I have them here for my lord.
11 Then David gave way to bitter grief, and so did all the men who were with him: 12 And till evening they gave themselves to sorrow and weeping, and took no food, weeping for Saul and for Jonathan, his son, and for the people of the Lord and for the men of Israel; because they had come to their end by the sword. 13 And David said to the young man who had given him the news, Where do you come from? And he said, I am the son of a man from a strange land; I am an Amalekite. 14 And David said to him, Had you no fear of stretching out your hand to put to death the one marked with the holy oil? 15 And David sent for one of his young men and said, Go near and put an end to him. And he put him to death. 16 And David said to him, May your blood be on your head; for your mouth has given witness against you, saying, I have put to death the man marked with the holy oil.
David's Lament over Saul and Jonathan
17 Then David made this song of grief for Saul and Jonathan, his son: 18 (It is recorded in the book of Jashar for teaching to the sons of Judah) and he said: 19 The glory, O Israel, is dead on your high places! How have the great ones been made low! 20 Give no news of it in Gath, let it not be said in the streets of Ashkelon; or the daughters of the Philistines will be glad, the daughters of men without circumcision will be uplifted in joy. 21 O mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew or rain on you, you fields of death: for there the arms of the strong have been shamed, the arms of Saul, as if he had not been marked with the holy oil. 22 From the blood of the dead, from the fat of the strong, the bow of Jonathan was not turned back, the sword of Saul did not come back unused. 23 Saul and Jonathan were loved and pleasing; in their lives and in their death they were not parted; they went more quickly than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24 O daughters of Israel, have sorrow for Saul, by whom you were delicately clothed in robes of red, with ornaments of gold on your dresses. 25 How have the great ones been made low in the fight! Jonathan is dead on your high places. 26 I am full of grief for you, my brother Jonathan: very dear have you been to me: your love for me was a wonder, greater than the love of women. 27 How have the great ones been made low, and the arms of war broken!
David Made King over Judah
2 1 Now after this, David, questioning the Lord, said, Am I to go up into any of the towns of Judah? And the Lord said to him, Go up. And David said, Where am I to go? And he said, To Hebron. 2 So David went there, taking with him his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail, the wife of Nabal of Carmel. 3 And David took all his men with him, every man with his family: and they were living in the towns round Hebron. 4 And the men of Judah came there, and with the holy oil made David king over the people of Judah. And word came to David that it was the men of Jabesh-gilead who put Saul's body in its last resting-place. 5 And David sent to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, May the Lord give you his blessing, because you have done this kind act to Saul your lord, and have put his body to rest! 6 May the Lord be good and true to you: and I myself will see that your kind act is rewarded, because you have done this thing. 7 Then let your hands be strong, and have no fear: though Saul your lord is dead, the people of Judah have made me their king.
David Fights against the Forces of Saul
8 Now Abner, the son of Ner, captain of Saul's army, had taken Saul's son Ish-bosheth over to Mahanaim, 9 And made him king over Gilead and the Asherites and over Jezreel and Ephraim and Benjamin, that is, over all Israel. 10 (Saul's son Ish-bosheth was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he was ruler for two years.) But Judah was on the side of David. 11 And the time when David was king in Hebron over the people of Judah was seven years and six months. 12 And Abner, the son of Ner, with the servants of Saul's son Ish-bosheth, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 And Joab, the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out and came face to face with them by the pool of Gibeon; and they took up their position, facing one another on opposite sides of the pool. 14 And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men give a test of their strength before us. And Joab said, Let them do so. 15 So they got up and went over by number: twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth and twelve of the servants of David. 16 And every one got the other by the head, driving his sword into the other's side, so they all went down together: and that place was named the Field of Sides, and it is in Gibeon. 17 And there was hard fighting that day; and Abner and the men of Israel gave way before the servants of David.
18 There were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab and Abishai and Asahel: and Asahel was as quick-footed as a roe of the fields. 19 Asahel went running after Abner, not turning to the right or to the left. 20 Then Abner, looking back, said, Is it you, Asahel? And he said, It is I. 21 And Abner said, Then go to the right or to the left and put your hands on one of the fighting-men and take his arms. But Asahel would not be turned away from going after Abner. 22 Then again Abner said to Asahel, Go to one side, do not keep on coming after me: why will you make me put an end to you? for then I will be shamed before your brother Joab. 23 But still he did not go to one side: so Abner gave him a back blow in the stomach with his spear, so that the spear came out at his back; and he went down on the earth, wounded to death: and all those who came to the place where Asahel went down dead, came to a stop. 24 But Joab and Abishai went after Abner: and the sun went down when they came to the hill of Ammah, which is to the east of the road through the waste land of Geba.
25 And the men of Benjamin came together after Abner in one band, and took their places on the top of a hill. 26 Then crying out to Joab, Abner said, Are fighting and destruction to go on for ever? do you not see that the end will only be bitter? how long will it be before you send the people back and make them give up attacking their countrymen? 27 And Joab said, By the living God, if you had not given the word, the people would have gone on attacking their countrymen till the morning. 28 So Joab had a horn sounded, and all the people came to a stop, and gave up going after Israel and fighting them. 29 And all that night Abner and his men went through the Arabah; they went over Jordan and through all Bithron and came to Mahanaim. 30 And Joab came back from fighting Abner: and when he had got all his men together, it was seen that nineteen of David's men, in addition to Asahel, were not with them. 31 But David's men had put to death three hundred and sixty of the men of Benjamin and of Abner's men 32 And they took Asahel's body and put it in the last resting-place of his father in Beth-lehem. And Joab and his men, travelling all night, came to Hebron at dawn.
3 1 Now there was a long war between Saul's people and David's people; and David became stronger and stronger, but those on Saul's side became more and more feeble.
David's Sons Born at Hebron
2 While David was in Hebron he became the father of sons: the oldest was Amnon, son of Ahinoam of Jezreel; 3 And the second, Chileab, whose mother was Abigail, the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom, 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, whose mother was David's wife Eglah. These were the sons of David, whose birth took place in Hebron.
Abner Plans a League with David
6 Now while there was war between Saul's people and David's people, Abner was making himself strong among the supporters of Saul.
7 Now Saul had among his wives a woman named Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, Why have you taken my father's wife? 8 And Abner was very angry at the words of Ish-bosheth, and he said, Am I a dog's head of Judah? I am this day doing all in my power for the cause of your father Saul and for his brothers and his friends, and have not given you up into the hands of David, and now you say I have done wrong with a woman. 9 May God's punishment be on Abner, if I do not for David as the Lord in his oath has said, 10 And if I do not take away the kingdom from the family of Saul and make David ruler over Israel and Judah from Dan as far as Beer-sheba! 11 And so great was Ish-bosheth's fear of Abner that he was not able to say a word in answer. 12 And Abner sent men to David at Hebron, saying, Make an agreement with me, and I will give you my support in getting all Israel on your side. 13 And he said, It is well; I will make an agreement with you, but on one condition, which is, that when you come before me, Saul's daughter Michal is to come with you; till she comes you will not see my face. 14 And David sent men to Saul's son Ish-bosheth, saying, Give me back Michal, my wife, whom I made mine for the price of the private parts of a hundred Philistines. 15 So Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband Paltiel, the son of Laish. 16 And her husband went with her as far as Bahurim, weeping while he went. Then Abner said to him, Go back. And he went back. 17 Then Abner had a talk with the chief men of Israel, saying, In the past it was your desire to make David your king: so now, do it: 18 For the Lord has said of David, By the hand of my servant David I will make my people Israel safe from the Philistines, and from all who are against them. 19 And Abner said the same things to Benjamin: and he went to David in Hebron to make clear to him what seemed good to Israel and to all the people of Benjamin. 20 So Abner, with twenty men, came to Hebron, to David. And David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 And Abner said to David, Now I will go, and make all Israel come to my lord the king, so that they may make an agreement with you, and your kingdom may be as wide as your heart's desire. Then David sent Abner away and he went in peace.
Joab Kills Abner
22 Now the servants of David and Joab had been out attacking a band of armed men, and they came back with a great store of goods taken in the fight: but Abner was no longer in Hebron with David, for he had sent him away and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and his men came, news was given them that Abner, the son of Ner, had come to the king, who had let him go away again in peace. 24 Then Joab came to the king, and said, What have you done? when Abner came to you why did you send him away and let him go? 25 Is it not clear to you that Abner, the son of Ner, came with deceit to get knowledge of your going out and your coming in and of all you are doing? 26 And when Joab had come out from David, he sent men after Abner, and they overtook him at the water-spring of Sirah, and made him come back with them: but David had no knowledge of it. 27 And when Abner was back in Hebron, Joab took him on one side by the doorway of the town to have a word with him quietly, and there he gave him a wound in the stomach, causing his death in payment for the death of his brother Asahel. 28 And when David had word of it he said, May I and my kingdom be clear for ever in the eyes of the Lord from the blood of Abner, the son of Ner: 29 May it come on the head of Joab and all his father's family: among the men of Joab's family may there ever be some who are diseased or lepers, or who do the work of women, or are put to the sword, or are wasted from need of food! 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother put Abner to death, because he had put to death their brother Asahel in the fight at Gibeon. 31 And David said to Joab and all the people who were with him, Go in grief and put haircloth about you, in sorrow for Abner. And King David went after the dead body. 32 And they put Abner's body to rest in Hebron; and the king and all the people were weeping loudly by the resting-place of Abner's body. 33 And the king made a song of grief for Abner and said, Was the death of Abner to be like the death of a foolish man? 34 Your hands were free, your feet were not chained: like the downfall of a man before evil men, so was your fall. And the weeping of the people over him went on again. 35 And the people came to make David take food, while it was still day, but David with an oath said, May God's punishment be on me if I take a taste of bread or any other thing till the sun has gone down! 36 And all the people took note of it and were pleased: like everything the king did, it was pleasing to the people. 37 So it was clear to Israel and to all the people on that day that the king was not responsible for the death of Abner, the son of Ner. 38 And the king said to his servants, Do you not see that a chief and a great man has come to his end today in Israel? 39 While I, though I am crowned king, have little strength, and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are out of my control: may the Lord give to the evil-doer the reward of his evil-doing!
The Assassination of Ish-bosheth
4 1 And when Saul's son Ish-bosheth had news that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands became feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled. 2 And Saul's son had two men, captains of bands, one named Baanah and the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the tribe of Benjamin; (for Beeroth was at one time taken to be part of Benjamin: 3 But the people of Beeroth had gone in flight to Gittaim, where they have been living to this day.) 4 Now Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son whose feet were damaged. He was five years old when news of the death of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and the woman who took care of him took him up and went in flight: and while she was getting him away as quickly as she was able, he had a fall and his feet were damaged. His name was Mephibosheth. 5 And Rechab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, went out and came to the house of Ish-bosheth in the heat of the day, when he was resting in the middle of the day. Now the woman who kept the door was cleaning grain, and sleep overcame her. 6 And Rechab and his brother Baanah got in without being seen. 7 And when they came into the house, Ish-bosheth was stretched on his bed in his bedroom; and they made an attack on him and put him to death, and, cutting off his head, they took it with them and went by the road through the Arabah all night. 8 And they took the head of Ish-bosheth to David in Hebron, and said to the king, Here is the head of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul your hater, who would have taken your life; the Lord has taken payment for the wrongs of my lord the king from Saul and his seed today.
9 And David made answer to Rechab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, By the living Lord, who has kept me safe from all my trouble, 10 When one came to me with the news of Saul's death, in the belief that it would be good news, I took him and put him to death in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news: 11 How much more, when evil men have put an upright person to death, in his house, sleeping on his bed, will I take payment from you for his blood, and have you cut off from the earth? 12 And David gave orders to his young men and they put them to death, cutting off their hands and their feet and hanging them up by the side of the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and put it in its last resting-place with Abner's body in Hebron.