1 Then a long struggle occurred between the house of Saul and the house of David, with David prospering and growing ever stronger, but the house of Saul decreasing daily.
2 And sons were born to David in Hebron. And his firstborn son was Amnon, from Ahinoam the Jezreelite.
3 And after him, there was Chileab, from Abigail, the wife of Nabal of Carmel. Then the third was Absalom, the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, the king of Geshur.
4 Then the fourth was Adonijah, the son of Haggith. And the fifth was Shephatiah, the son of Abital.
5 Also, the sixth was Ithream, from Eglah, the wife of David. These were born to David at Hebron.
6 Then, while there was a battle between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner, the son of Ner, was reigning over the house of Saul.
7 Now Saul had a concubine named Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. And Ishbosheth said to Abner,
8 "Why did you enter to the concubine of my father?" But he, being exceedingly angry at the words of Ishbosheth, said: "Am I the head of a dog against Judah this day? I have shown mercy to the house of Saul, your father, and to his brothers and friends. And I have not delivered you into the hands of David. And yet today you have sought me, so that you might rebuke me over a woman?
9 May God do these things to Abner, and may he add these other things, if, in the same way that the Lord swore to David, I do not do so with him:
10 that the kingdom be transferred from the house of Saul, and that the throne of David be elevated over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba."
11 And he was not able to respond anything to him, because he was in fear of him.
12 Therefore, Abner sent messengers to David for himself, saying, "Whose is the land?" and so that they would say, "Make a friendship with me, and my hand will be with you, and I will lead back all of Israel to you."
13 And he said: "It is best. I will make a friendship with you. But one thing I ask of you, saying: You shall not see my face before you bring Michal, the daughter of Saul. And in this way, you shall come, and see me."
14 Then David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, saying, "Restore my wife Michal, whom I espoused to myself for one hundred foreskins of the Philistines."
15 Therefore, Ishbosheth sent and took her from her husband Paltiel, the son of Laish.
16 And her husband was following her, weeping, as far as Bahurim. And Abner said to him, "Go and return." And he returned.
17 Likewise, Abner sent word to the elders of Israel, saying: "As much yesterday as the day before, you were seeking David, so that he might reign over you.
18 Therefore, accomplish it now. For the Lord has spoken to David, saying: 'By the hand of my servant David, I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and of all their enemies.' "
19 Then Abner also spoke to Benjamin. And he went away, so that he might speak to David in Hebron all that would be pleasing to Israel and to all of Benjamin.
20 And he went to David in Hebron with twenty men. And David made a feast for Abner, and for his men who had arrived with him.
21 And Abner said to David, "I will rise up, so that I may gather all of Israel to you, my lord the king, and so that I may enter into a pact with you, and so that you may reign over all, just as your soul desires." Then, when David had led Abner away, and he had departed in peace,
22 immediately the servants of David and of Joab arrived, after having slain robbers, with exceedingly great spoils. But Abner was not with David in Hebron. For by then he had sent him away, and he had set out in peace.
23 And Joab, and the entire army that was with him, had arrived afterward. And so, it was reported to Joab, explaining that Abner, the son of Ner, went to the king, and he dismissed him, and he went away in peace.
24 And Joab entered to the king, and he said: "What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you. Why did you dismiss him, so that he has gone and departed?
25 Do you not know, about Abner, the son of Ner, that he came to you for this, so that he might deceive you, and might know of your departure and your return, and so that he might know all that you do?"
26 And so, Joab, going out from David, sent messengers after Abner, and he brought him back from the cistern of Sirah, without David knowing.
27 And when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him alone to the middle of the gate, so that he might speak to him, but with deceit. And there, he stabbed him in the groin, and he died, in revenge for the blood of Asahel, his brother.
28 And when David had heard of it, now that the matter was done, he said: "I and my kingdom are clean before the Lord, even forever, of the blood of Abner, the son of Ner.
29 And may it fall upon the head of Joab, and upon the entire house of his father. And may there not fail to be, in the house of Joab, one who suffers from a flow of seed, or one who is leprous, or one who is effeminate, or one who falls by the sword, or one who is in need of bread."
30 And so, Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon, during the battle.
31 Then David said to Joab, and to all the people who were with him, "Tear your garments, and gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn before the funeral procession of Abner." Moreover, king David himself was following the casket.
32 And when they had buried Abner in Hebron, king David lifted up his voice, and he wept over the burial mound of Abner. And all the people also wept.
33 And the king, mourning and lamenting Abner, said: "By no means has Abner died the way that cowards usually die.
34 Your hands are not bound, and your feet are not weighed down with fetters. But just as men often fall before the sons of iniquity, so you have fallen." And while repeating this, all the people wept over him.
35 And when the entire multitude had arrived to take food with David, while it was still broad daylight, David swore, saying, "May God do these things to me, and may he add these other things, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets."
36 And all the people heard it, and everything that the king did in the sight of the entire people was pleasing to them.
37 And every common person, and all of Israel, realized on that day that the killing of Abner, the son of Ner, had not been done by the king.
38 The king also said to his servants: "Could you be ignorant that a leader and a very great man has fallen today in Israel?
39 But I am still tender, and yet anointed king. And these men of the sons of Zeruiah are too harsh for me. May the Lord repay whoever does evil in accord with his malice."
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