David Learns of Saul's Death
1 1 And it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David had returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, that David abode two days in Ziklag. 2 And it came to pass on the third day, that behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his garments rent, and earth upon his head; and as soon as he came to David, he fell to the earth and did obeisance. 3 And David said to him, Whence comest thou? And he said to him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped. 4 And David said to him, What has taken place? I pray thee, tell me. And he said that the people had fled from the battle, and many of the people also had fallen and died, and that Saul and Jonathan his son were dead also. 5 And David said to the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead? 6 And the young man that told him said, I happened by chance to be upon mount Gilboa, and behold, Saul leaned on his spear; and behold, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. 7 And he looked behind him, and saw me, and called to me. And I said, Here am I. 8 And he said to me, Who art thou? And I said to him, I am an Amalekite. 9 He said to me again, Stand, I pray thee, over me, and slay me; for anguish has seized me; for my life is yet whole in me. 10 So I stood over him, and put him to death, for I knew that he would not live after his fall; and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither to my lord.
11 Then David took hold of his garments and rent them; and all the men that were with him [did] likewise. 12 And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of Jehovah, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword. 13 And David said to the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he said, I am the son of an Amalekite stranger. 14 And David said to him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thy hand to destroy Jehovah's anointed? 15 Then David called one of the young men and said, Draw near, [and] fall on him. And he smote him that he died. 16 And David said to him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth has testified against thee, saying, I have slain Jehovah's anointed.
David's Lament over Saul and Jonathan
17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son; 18 and he bade them teach the children of Judah [the song of] the bow. Behold, it is written in the book of Jasher:— 19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! 20 Tell [it] not in Gath, carry not the tidings in the streets of Ashkelon; Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. 21 Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, no rain upon you, nor fields of heave-offerings! For there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away, The shield of Saul, [as] not anointed with oil. 22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan turned not back, And the sword of Saul returned not empty. 23 Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their lives, Even in their death were not divided; They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet with splendour, Who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel. 25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain upon thy high places. 26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant wast thou unto me; Thy love to me was wonderful, passing women's love. 27 How are the mighty fallen, and the instruments of war perished!
David Made King over Judah
2 1 And it came to pass after this that David inquired of Jehovah, saying, Shall I go up into one of the cities of Judah? And Jehovah said to him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron. 2 So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jizreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 3 And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household; and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. 4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, It is the men of Jabesh-Gilead that have buried Saul. 5 And David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-Gilead, and said to them, Blessed be ye of Jehovah, that ye have shewn this kindness to your lord, to Saul, and have buried him! 6 And now Jehovah shew kindness and faithfulness to you; and I also will requite you this good, because ye have done this thing. 7 And now let your hands be strong, and be ye valiant; for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.
David Fights against the Forces of Saul
8 And Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim; 9 and made him king over Gilead, and over the Asshurites, and over Jizreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel. 10 Ishbosheth Saul's son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. However, the house of Judah followed David. 11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months. 12 And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out. And they met together by the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, these on the one side of the pool, and those on the other side of the pool. 14 And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise and make sport before us. And Joab said, Let them arise. 15 And they arose and went over by number, twelve for Benjamin, and for Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16 And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and [thrust] his sword in his fellow's side, and they fell down together. And that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is by Gibeon. 17 And the battle that day was very severe; and Abner and the men of Israel were routed before the servants of David.
18 And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel. Now Asahel was swift of foot, as one of the gazelles that are in the field. 19 And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from behind Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Art thou Asahel? And he said, I am. 21 And Abner said to him, Turn thee aside, to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay hold of one of the young men, and take for thyself his armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from following him. 22 And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me: why should I smite thee to the ground? how then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother? 23 But he refused to turn aside; therefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him in the belly, so that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place. And it came to pass, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still. 24 And Joab and Abishai pursued after Abner; and the sun went down when they came to the hill of Ammah, which is before Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon.
25 And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of a hill. 26 And Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? and how long shall it be ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren? 27 And Joab said, [As] God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother. 28 And Joab blew the trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither did they fight any more. 29 And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over the Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and they came to Mahanaim. 30 And Joab returned from following Abner, and gathered all the people together; and there lacked of David's servants nineteen men, and Asahel. 31 And the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner's men, three hundred and sixty men, who had died. 32 And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
3 1 And the war was long between the house of Saul and the house of David; but David became continually stronger, and the house of Saul became continually weaker.
David's Sons Born at Hebron
2 And to David were sons born in Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jizreelitess; 3 and his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maachah, 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, of Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
Abner Plans a League with David
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 to my father's concubine? 8 Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ishbosheth, and said, Am I a dog's head, I who against Judah do shew kindness this day to 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 reproachest me this day with the fault of this woman? 9 So do God to Abner, and more also, if, as Jehovah has sworn to David, I do not so to 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 Beer-sheba! 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? saying [also], Make thy covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with thee, to turn all Israel to thee. 13 And he said, Well, I will make a covenant with thee; only I require one thing 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 And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth Saul's son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, whom I espoused to me for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines. 15 And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from [her] husband, from Phaltiel the son of Laish. 16 And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner to him, Go, return. And he returned. 17 Now Abner had communicated with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David aforetime to be king over you; 18 and now do [it], for Jehovah has spoken of David, saying, By my servant David will I 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 Abner and the men that were with him a repast. 21 And Abner said to David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thy heart desires. And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.
Joab Kills Abner
22 And behold, the servants of David and Joab came from an expedition, and brought in a great spoil with them; but Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 And Joab and all the host that was with him came; and 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 to thee; why is it [that] thou hast sent him away, and he is gone? 25 Thou knowest Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive thee, 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 brought him again from the well of Sirah; but David did not know it. 27 And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him secretly, and smote him there in the belly, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 And afterwards David heard [it], and he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before Jehovah for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner: 29 let it fall 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 falls by the sword, or that lacks bread! 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle. 31 And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your garments, and gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David 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, Should Abner die as a fool dieth? 34 Thy hands were not bound, Nor thy feet put into fetters; As a man falleth before wicked men, Fellest thou! And all the people wept again over him. 35 And all the people came to cause David to eat bread while it was yet day; but David swore, saying, So do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread or aught else till the sun be down! 36 And all the people remarked it, and it pleased them; as whatever the king did pleased all the people. 37 And all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to put Abner the son of Ner to death. 38 And the king said to his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? 39 And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too hard for me: Jehovah reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness!
The Assassination of Ish-bosheth
4 1 And when Saul's son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were enfeebled, and all Israel was troubled. 2 And Saul's son had two men, captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin; for Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin. 3 And the Beerothites had fled to Gittaim, and were sojourners there until this day. 4 And Jonathan Saul's son had a son that was lame of [his] feet. He was five years old when the news came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jizreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth. 5 And the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went and came in about the heat of the day into the house of Ishbosheth, who was taking his noonday rest. 6 And they came thither into the midst of the house, [as though] they would fetch wheat; and they smote him in the belly; and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. 7 They came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him; and they took his head, and went by the way of the plain all night. 8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth to David in Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, thine enemy who sought thy life; and Jehovah has given to my lord the king to be avenged this day of Saul and of his seed.
9 Then David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, [As] Jehovah liveth, who has redeemed my soul out of all distress, 10 when one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead! and he was in his own sight a messenger of good, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag—to whom forsooth I should give a reward for his good tidings: 11 how much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? and should I not now demand his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth? 12 And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged [them] up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron.