David Moves to Hebron
1It happened after this that David inquired of Yahweh, saying, “Shall I go up into one of the cities of Judah?” And Yahweh said to him, “Go up.” David asked, “Where shall I go up?” And he said, “To Hebron.” 2So David went up there along with#Literally “and also” his two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel#Literally “the Jezreelitess” and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 3Also, David brought up his men who were with him, each with#Literally “and” his household, and they settled in the towns of Hebron.
David Anointed King over Judah at Hebron
4Then the men of Judah came, and they anointed David there as king over the house of Judah, and they told David, “The men of Jabesh-Gilead buried Saul.” 5So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-Gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed by Yahweh because you did this loyal love with your lord, with Saul, and you buried him. 6Now may Yahweh show loyal love and faithfulness with you. I will also show the good with you that you have done in this matter. 7So then, let your hands be strong and be valiant,#Literally “as sons of ability” for your lord Saul is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me as king over them.”
Ish-Bosheth over Israel
8But Abner the son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. 9He made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, over Benjamin, and over Israel, all of it. 10Ish-Bosheth the son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel and he reigned two years; however, the house of Judah followed#Literally “were after” David. 11The number of days that David was king over Hebron, over the house of Judah, was seven years and six months.
War between Judah and Israel
12Abner the son of Ner and the servants of Ish-Bosheth the son of Saul went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13Then Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out, and they met at the pool of Gibeon. The one group sat on one side of the pool, and the other sat on the other side. 14Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men come up and fight in our presence.” And Joab said, “Let them come up.” 15So they came forward and passed by in number: twelve for Benjamin and for Ish-Bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve from the servants of David. 16Then each seized his opponent#Literally “neighbor” by the head and each thrust his sword in the side of his opponent, so they fell together. So they#Hebrew “he” called the name of that place Helkath Hazzurim,#Helkath Hazzurim possibly means “the slippery slope” which is in Gibeon. 17Then the battle became increasingly fierce#Literally “and it was/became strong/fierce until very” on that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated before the servants of David.
18The three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab and Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was swift with his feet as one of the gazelles which is in the open field. 19So Asahel pursued#Hebrew “pursued after” Abner, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left from going after Abner. 20Abner turned around and said, “Are you this Asahel?” And he said, “Yes.” 21Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right or to your left; seize for yourself one of the young men, and take his belongings for yourself.” But Asahel was not willing to turn aside from him. 22So Abner said to Asahel once again,#Literally “and he again did again” “For your own sake,#Literally “for yourself” turn aside from following me.#Literally “from after me” Why should I strike you down to the ground? How could I show my face#Literally “lift up my face” to Joab your brother?” 23But he refused to turn away, so Abner struck him in the stomach with the butt of the spear, and the spear went out of his back. He fell there and he died on the spot.#Literally “in his place” Then#Literally “And it happened” all who came to the place where Asahel fell and died just stood there.
24So Joab and Abishai pursued#Hebrew “pursued after” Abner when#Literally “and” the sun went down. And they came to the hill country of Ammah, which is before Giah#Literally “lies on the face of Giah” on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25The descendants#Or “sons” of Benjamin rallied after Abner, and they became as one fighting group and stood on the top of a certain hill. 26Then Abner called to Joab and said, “Will the sword devour forever? Do you not know that there will be bitterness in the end? How long#Literally “And up to when” will you not tell the people to turn away from pursuing#Literally “from after” their brothers?” 27Joab said, “As God lives,#Literally “The life of God” for if you had not spoken, the people would surely have gone up in the morning, each one of them from following after#Literally “from after” his brother.” 28Then Joab blew on the trumpet and all the people stopped, and they no longer pursued after Israel, and they did not fight with them again.
29Then Abner and his men went through the Arabah all that night, and they crossed over the Jordan. They went all the forenoon and came to Mahanaim. 30After Joab returned from pursuing#Hebrew “after” Abner, he gathered all the people; nineteen of the servants of David were missing along with Asahel. 31The servants of David had killed some of the Benjaminites among the men of Abner; three hundred and sixty men had died. 32Then they picked up Asahel and buried him in the grave of his father, which was at Bethlehem. Joab and his men went all that night arriving in Hebron at first light.#Literally “it became light for them in Hebron”