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2 Samuel 221st Century King James Version (KJ21)

And it came to pass after this that David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said unto him, “Go up.” And David said, “Whither shall I go up?” And He said, “Unto Hebron.”

So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail, Nabal’s wife the Carmelite.

And his men who were with him did David bring up, every man with his household; and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.

And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, “The men of Jabeshgilead were those who buried Saul.”

And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabeshgilead, and said unto them, “Blessed be ye of the Lord, that ye have shown this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him.

And now the Lord show kindness and truth unto you; and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing.

Therefore now, let your hands be strengthened and be ye valiant; for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim,

and 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 reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.

11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

12 And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.

13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met together by the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, the one on one side of the pool and the other on the other side of the pool.

14 And Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men now arise and play before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.”

15 Then there arose and went over by number, twelve of Benjamin, who pertained to Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.

16 And they caught every one his fellow by the head and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side, so they fell down together; therefore that place was called Helkathhazzurim [that is, The field of strong men], which is in Gibeon.

17 And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.

18 And there were three sons of Zeruiah there: Joab and Abishai and Asahel. And Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe.

19 And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner.

20 Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Art thou Asahel?” And he answered, “I am.”

21 And Abner said to him, “Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men and take thee his armor.” But Asahel would not turn aside from following him.

22 And Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn thee aside from following me. Why should I smite thee to the ground? How then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother?”

23 However, he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner with the rear end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, so that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there and died in the same place. And it came to pass that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died, stood still.

24 Joab also and Abishai pursued after Abner. And the sun went down when they had come to the hill of Ammah, that lieth before Giah by the way of the Wilderness of Gibeon.

25 And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together behind Abner and became one troop, and stood on the top of a hill.

26 Then Abner called to Joab and said, “Shall the sword devour for ever? Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? How long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people to return from following their brethren?”

27 And Joab said, “As God liveth, unless thou had spoken, surely then in the morning the people would have gone up every one from following his brother.”

28 So Joab blew a trumpet; and all the people stood still and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more.

29 And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over the Jordan and went through all Bithron; and they came to Mahanaim.

30 And Joab returned from following Abner; and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel.

32 And they took up Asahel and buried him in the sepulcher of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.

2 Samuel 2New International Version (NIV)

David Anointed King Over Judah

In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked.

The Lord said, “Go up.”

David asked, “Where shall I go?”

“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.

So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns. Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.

When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul, he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this. Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.”

War Between the Houses of David and Saul

Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.

10 Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David. 11 The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.

12 Abner son of Ner, together with the men of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. 13 Joab son of Zeruiah and David’s men went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool and one group on the other side.

14 Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us.”

“All right, let them do it,” Joab said.

15 So they stood up and were counted off—twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David. 16 Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent’s side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.[a]

17 The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the Israelites were defeated by David’s men.

18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle. 19 He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him. 20 Abner looked behind him and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?”

“It is,” he answered.

21 Then Abner said to him, “Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel would not stop chasing him.

22 Again Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?”

23 But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.

24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon. 25 Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill.

26 Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?”

27 Joab answered, “As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued pursuing them until morning.”

28 So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the troops came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore.

29 All that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, continued through the morning hours[b] and came to Mahanaim.

30 Then Joab stopped pursuing Abner and assembled the whole army. Besides Asahel, nineteen of David’s men were found missing. 31 But David’s men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner. 32 They took Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Samuel 2:16 Helkath Hazzurim means field of daggers or field of hostilities.
  2. 2 Samuel 2:29 See Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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