David Learns of Saul's Death
1 1 It happened after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag; 2 it happened on the third day, that behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul, with his clothes torn, and earth on his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance. 3 David said to him, “Where do you come from?”
He said to him, “I have escaped out of the camp of Israel.” 4 David said to him, “How did it go? Please tell me.”
He answered, “The people have fled from the battle, and many of the people also have fallen and are dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.” 5 David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead?” 6 The young man who told him said, “As I happened by chance on Mount Gilboa, behold, Saul was leaning on his spear; and behold, the chariots and the horsemen followed hard after him. 7 When he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 8 He said to me, ‘Who are you?’ I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ 9 He said to me, ‘Stand, please, beside me, and kill me; for anguish has taken hold of me, because my life is yet whole in me.’ 10 So I stood beside him, and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he had fallen. I took the crown that was on his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here to my lord.”
11 Then David took hold on his clothes, and tore them; and likewise all the men who were with him. 12 They mourned, and wept, and fasted until evening, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of Yahweh, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword. 13 David said to the young man who told him, “Where are you from?”
He answered, “I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite.” 14 David said to him, “How were you not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy Yahweh’s anointed?” 15 David called one of the young men, and said, “Go near, and fall on him.” He struck him, so that he died. 16 David said to him, “Your blood be on your head; for your mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have slain Yahweh’s anointed.’”
David's Lament over Saul and Jonathan
17 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 Jashar): 19 “Your glory, Israel, is slain on your high places!
How the mighty have fallen! 20 Don’t tell it in Gath.
Don’t publish it in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. 21 You mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew nor rain on you, neither fields of offerings;
For there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away,
The shield of Saul was not anointed with oil. 22 From the blood of the slain,
from the fat of the mighty,
Jonathan’s bow didn’t turn back.
Saul’s sword didn’t return empty. 23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives.
In their death, they were not divided.
They were swifter than eagles.
They were stronger than lions. 24 You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet delicately,
who put ornaments of gold on your clothing. 25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!
Jonathan is slain on your high places. 26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan.
You have been very pleasant to me.
Your love to me was wonderful,
passing the love of women. 27 How are the mighty fallen,
and the weapons of war perished!”
David Made King over Judah
2 1 It happened after this, that David inquired of Yahweh, saying, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?”
Yahweh said to him, “Go up.”
David said, “Where shall I go up?”
He said, “To Hebron.” 2 So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 3 David brought up his men who were with him, every man with his household. They lived in the cities of Hebron. 4 The men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. They told David, saying, “The men of Jabesh Gilead were those who buried Saul.” 5 David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and said to them, “Blessed are you by Yahweh, that you have shown this kindness to your lord, even to Saul, and have buried him. 6 Now may Yahweh show loving kindness and truth to you. I also will reward you for this kindness, because you have done this thing. 7 Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.”
David Fights against the Forces of Saul
8 Now Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s army, had taken Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim; 9 and he made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, 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. But the house of Judah followed David. 11 The time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months. 12 Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out, and met them by the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. 14 Abner said to Joab, “Please let the young men arise and play before us!”
Joab said, “Let them arise!” 15 Then 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 They caught everyone his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side; so they fell down together: therefore that place was called Helkath Hazzurim, which is in Gibeon. 17 The battle was very severe that day: and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.
18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild gazelle. 19 Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he didn’t turn to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind him, and said, “Is it you, Asahel?”
He answered, “It is I.” 21 Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, and grab one of the young men, and take his armor.” But Asahel would not turn aside from following him. 22 Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then should I hold up my face to Joab your brother?” 23 However he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner with the back end of the spear struck him in the body, so that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place. It happened, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still. 24 But Joab and Abishai pursued after Abner: and the sun went down when they were come to the hill of Ammah, that lies before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.
25 The children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one band, and stood on the top of a hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab, and said, “Shall the sword devour forever? Don’t you know that it will be bitterness in the latter end? How long shall it be then, before you bid the people return from following their brothers?” 27 Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely then in the morning the people would have gone away, and not each followed his brother.” 28 So Joab blew the trumpet; and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more. 29 Abner and his men went all that night through the Arabah; and they passed over the Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and came to Mahanaim. 30 Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel. 31 But the servants of David had struck of Benjamin, and of Abner’s men, so that three hundred sixty men died. 32 They took up Asahel, and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was in Bethlehem. Joab and his men went all night, and the day broke on them at Hebron.
3 1 Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: and David grew stronger and stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
David's Sons Born at Hebron
2 To David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3 and his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; 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, of Eglah, David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
Abner Plans a League with David
6 It happened, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong in the house of Saul.
7 Now Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ishbosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?” 8 Then was Abner very angry for the words of Ishbosheth, and said, “Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show kindness to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hand of David; and yet you charge me this day with a fault concerning this woman! 9 God do so to Abner, and more also, if, as Yahweh has sworn to David, I don’t do even so to him; 10 to transfer 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 He could not answer Abner another word, because he feared him. 12 Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, “Whose is the land?” and saying, “Make your alliance with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you, to bring all Israel around to you.” 13 He said, “Good; I will make a league with you; but one thing I require of you. That is, you shall not see my face, unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” 14 David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Deliver me my wife Michal, whom I pledged to be married to me for one hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 Ishbosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 Her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go! Return!” and he returned. 17 Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, “In times past, you sought for David to be king over you. 18 Now then do it; for Yahweh has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of my servant David, I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.’” 19 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 to the whole house of Benjamin. 20 So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. David made Abner and the men who were with him a feast. 21 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 you, and that you may reign over all that your soul desires.” David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.
Joab Kills Abner
22 Behold, the servants of David and Joab came from a foray, 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 army who was with him had 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 have you done? Behold, Abner came to you. Why is it that you have sent him away, and he is quite gone? 25 You know Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive you, and to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you do.” 26 When Joab had come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David didn’t know it. 27 When Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the midst of the gate to speak with him quietly, and struck him there in the body, so that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 Afterward, when David heard it, he said, “I and my kingdom are guiltless before Yahweh forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 Let it fall on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house. Let there not fail from the house of Joab one who has an issue, or who is a leper, or who leans on a staff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks bread.” 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle. 31 David said to Joab, and to all the people who were with him, Tear your clothes, and gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. King David followed the bier. 32 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 The king lamented for Abner, and said, “Should Abner die as a fool dies? 34 Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put into fetters. As a man falls before the children of iniquity, so you fell.”
All the people wept again over him. 35 All the people came to cause David to eat bread while it was yet day; but David swore, saying, “God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or anything else, until the sun goes down.” 36 All the people took notice of it, and it pleased them; as whatever the king did pleased all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to kill Abner the son of Ner. 38 The king said to his servants, “Don’t you know that there a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me. May Yahweh reward the evildoer according to his wickedness.”
The Assassination of Ish-bosheth
4 1 When Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands became feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled. 2 Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, had two men who were 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 is reckoned to Benjamin: 3 and the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and have lived as foreigners there until this day). 4 Now Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the news came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel; and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth. 5 The sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, as he took his rest at noon. 6 They came there into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat; and they struck him in the body: and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. 7 Now when they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, they struck him, and killed him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and went by the way of the Arabah all night. 8 They brought the head of Ishbosheth to David to Hebron, and said to the king, “Behold, the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life! Yahweh has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.”
9 David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As Yahweh lives, who has redeemed my soul out of all adversity, 10 when someone told me, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ thinking to have brought good news, I took hold of him, and killed him in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?” 12 David commanded his young men, and they killed them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up beside the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the grave of Abner in Hebron.