1 AFTER THIS, David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the Lord said to him, Go up. David said, To which shall I go up? And He said, To Hebron.
2 So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.
3 And David brought up his men who were with him, each one with his household, and they dwelt in the towns of Hebron.
4 And the men of Judah came and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. They told David, The men of Jabesh-gilead buried Saul. [I Sam. 31:11-13.]
5 And David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead, saying, May the Lord bless you because you showed kindness and loyalty to Saul your king and buried him.
6 And now may the Lord show loving-kindness and faithfulness to you. I also will do well by you because you have done this.
7 So now, let your hands be strengthened and be valiant, for your master Saul is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.
8 Now Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, took Ish-bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim.
9 And he made him king over Gilead, the Ashurites, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and all Israel.
10 Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he began his two-year reign over Israel. But the house of Judah followed David.
11 And David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah for seven years and six months.
12 And Abner son of Ner and the servants of Ish-bosheth son of Saul went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
13 Joab son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out also; and the two groups met by the pool of Gibeon, seating themselves with one group on either side of the pool.
14 And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise and have a contest before us. And Joab said, Let them arise.
15 Then there arose and went over by number–twelve of Benjamin who were with Ish-bosheth son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.
16 And each caught his opponent by the head and thrust his sword into his side; so they all fell together. Therefore that place was called the Field of Sharp Knives, which is at Gibeon.
17 A very fierce battle followed, and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.
18 Three sons of Zeruiah [the half sister of David] were there: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Now Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe or antelope.
19 Asahel pursued Abner, and as he ran he turned not to the right hand or to the left from following Abner.
20 Then Abner looked behind him and said, Are you Asahel? He answered, I am.
21 Abner said to him, Turn aside to your right or left, and seize one of the young men and take his armor. But Asahel would not turn aside from following him.
22 And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then should I be able to face Joab your brother?
23 Asahel refused to turn aside; so Abner with the rear end of his spear smote him through the abdomen, and he fell and died where he fell. And all who came to the place where Asahel fell and died stood still.
24 But Joab and Abishai [his brothers] pursued Abner; the sun was going down as they came to the hill of Ammah, before Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon.
25 And the Benjamites gathered together behind Abner and became one troop and took their stand on the top of a hill.
26 Then Abner called to Joab, Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that bitterness will be the result? How long will it be then before you bid the people to stop pursuing their brethren?
27 Joab said, As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely the men would have stopped pursuing their brethren in the morning.
28 So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still and pursued Israel no more, nor did they fight any more.
29 Abner and his men went all night through the Arabah [plain], crossed the Jordan, and went through the whole Bithron [district of ravines] and came to Mahanaim.
30 Joab returned from pursuing Abner, and when he had gathered all the people together, there were missing of David's servants nineteen men besides Asahel.
31 But the servants of David had slain of Benjamin 360 of Abner's men.
32 And they took up Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father at Bethlehem. And Joab and his men walked all night and came to Hebron at daybreak.