Judah Anoints David King
1Now it came to pass after this that David inquired of Adonai saying, “Should I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” Adonai said to him, “Go up.” “Where shall I go up?” David asked. “To Hebron,” He said.
2So David went up there, along with his two wives—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.
3David also brought up his men that were with him, each with his household, and they settled in the towns of Hebron.
4Then the men of Judah came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah. Then they told David saying, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.”
5So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “Blessed are you of Adonai for showing this kindness to Saul your lord, by burying him.
6So now may Adonai show you kindness and faithfulness; and I also will show you goodness because you have done this thing.
7Now therefore, be strong and brave, for Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”
Forces of Abner and Joab Battle
8Now Abner son of Ner, Saul’s army commander, had taken Saul’s son Ish-bosheth, and brought him over to Mahanaim.
9Then he made him king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, and Benjamin—over all Israel.
10Saul’s son Ish-bosheth was 40 years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned for two years. But the house of Judah followed David.
11The time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
12Once Abner son of Ner and the troops of Saul’s son Ish-bosheth went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
13Meanwhile Joab son of Zeruiah and the troops of David went out—they met each other by the pool of Gibeon, so they sat down, one group on one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.
14Then Abner said to Joab, “Now let the young men get up and compete before us.” “Let them get up,” Joab replied.
15Then they got up and came forward by number—12 for Benjamin and for Saul’s son Ish-bosheth and 12 from David’s servants.
16Then each grasped his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side; so they all fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon.
17The battle was very fierce that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated before David’s servants.
18Now the three sons of Zeruiah were Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Asahel was as swift-footed as one of the gazelles of the field.
19Asahel pursued Abner, not swerving to the right or to the left from pursuing Abner.
20Then Abner looked behind him and asked, “Is it you, Asahel?” “It is I,” he answered.
21So Abner said to him, “Turn away to your right or to your left, seize one of the young men and take his armor for yourself.” But Asahel would not turn away from following him.
22Once again Abner warned Asahel, “Turn away from pursuing me! Why should I strike you to the ground? How would I ever look your brother Joab in the face?”
23But he refused to turn aside, so Abner struck him with the butt end of the spear in the groin, so that the spear came out through his back, and he fell down there and died on the spot. When all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, they stood still.
24But Joab and Abishai continued pursuing Abner. As the sun was setting, they reached the hill of Ammah, which faces Giah on the road to the wilderness of Gibeon.
25Then the sons of Benjamin rallied to Abner and became one group, taking their stand on top of one of the hills.
26Then Abner called out to Joab and said, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize how bitter it will be in the end? How long until you order the people to stop pursuing their kinsmen?”
27“As God lives,” Joab replied, “if you had not spoken, then surely the people would have gone up until the morning, everyone after his kinsman.”
28So Joab blew the shofar, and all the soldiers halted, and pursued Israel no more, nor did they continue to fight any longer.
29So Abner and his men marched all that night through the Arabah, then they crossed over the Jordan, and marched through all morning until they reached Mahanaim.
30Joab returned from pursuing Abner, and when he had gathered all the troops, nineteen of David’s soldiers besides Asahel were missing.
31But David’s soldiers had struck down many of Benjamin and Abner’s men, so that 360 men died.
32Then they took up Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb, which was in Beth-lehem. Joab and his men marched all night, until the day dawned on them at Hebron.