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2 Samuel 3Amplified Bible (AMP)

The House of David Strengthened

There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; but David grew steadily stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker [to the point of being powerless].

Sons were born to David in Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam of Jezreel; his second, Chileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; the third, Absalom the son of [his wife] Maacah, daughter of Talmai the king of Geshur; the fourth, Adonijah the son of [his wife] Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of [his wife] Abital; and the sixth, Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These [sons] were born to David in Hebron.

Abner Joins David

Now while war continued between the houses of Saul and David, Abner was proving himself strong in the house of Saul. Now Saul had a [a]concubine whose name was Rizpah the daughter of Aiah; and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, [b]“Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?” Then Abner was very angry at the words of Ish-bosheth, and he said, “Am I a dog’s head [a despicable traitor] that belongs to Judah? [c]Today I show loyalty and kindness to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers and his friends, by not having you handed over to David; and yet you charge me today with guilt concerning this woman. May God do so to Abner, and more also, if I do not do for David just as the Lord has sworn to him, 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul, and establish the throne of David over Israel and Judah from Dan [in the north] to Beersheba [in the south].” 11 And Ish-bosheth could not say another word to Abner, because he was afraid of him.

12 Then Abner sent messengers to David [who was] in his place [at Hebron], saying, “Whose is the land? Make your covenant (treaty) with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring all Israel over to you.” 13 David said, “Good! I will make a covenant (treaty) with you, but I require one thing of you: you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see [d]me.” 14 So David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “[e]Give me my wife Michal, to whom I was [f]betrothed for [the price of] a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 So Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband, from Paltiel the son of Laish [to whom Saul had given her]. 16 But her husband went with her, weeping continually behind her as far as Bahurim. Then Abner told him, “Go, return.” And he did so.

17 Abner talked with the elders (tribal leaders) of Israel, saying, “In times past you were seeking for David to be king over you. 18 Now then, do it [and make him king]! For the Lord has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of My servant David I will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and the hand of all their enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke [g]to [the men of] Benjamin. Then he also went to [h]tell David at Hebron everything that seemed good [i]to Israel and to the entire house of Benjamin.

20 So Abner came to David at Hebron, and [brought] twenty men along with him. And David prepared a feast for Abner and the men with him. 21 Abner said to David, “Let me stand up and go, and gather all Israel to my lord the king, so that they may make a covenant (treaty) with you, and that you may reign over all that your soul desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

22 Then the servants of David came with Joab from a raid and brought a great quantity of spoil with them; but Abner was not with David at Hebron, because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the army that was with him arrived, they told Joab, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has sent him away, and he has gone in peace.” 24 Then Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you; why did you send him away, so that he is already gone? 25 You know Abner the son of Ner, that he [only] came to deceive you [with flattering words] and to learn of your going out and coming in, and to find out what you are doing.”

Joab Murders Abner

26 When Joab left David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David knew nothing [about Joab’s action]. 27 So when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside to the middle of the gate to speak to him privately, and there he struck Abner in the abdomen so that he died, [j]to avenge the blood of Asahel, Joab’s brother. 28 Afterward, when David heard of it, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 Let [k]the guilt fall on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house (family); and may there never disappear from the house of Joab one who suffers with a discharge or one who is a leper or one who walks with a crutch [being unfit for war], or one who falls by the sword, or one who lacks food.” 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.

David Mourns Abner

31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people with him, “Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn before Abner.” And King David walked behind the bier. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron; and the king raised his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33 And the king sang a dirge (funeral song) over Abner and said,

“Should Abner [the great warrior] die as a fool dies?
34 
“Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put in fetters;
As a man falls before the wicked, so you have fallen.”

And all the people wept again over him. 35 All the people came to urge David to eat food while it was still day; but David took an oath, saying, “May God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets.” 36 And all the people took notice of it and it [l]pleased them, just as everything that the king did pleased all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the will of the king to put Abner the son of Ner to death. 38 Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 Today I am weak, though anointed king; these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too difficult for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer [Joab] in accordance with his wickedness!”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Samuel 3:7 See note Gen 22:24.
  2. 2 Samuel 3:7 Being intimate with the former king’s concubine was a way for Abner to assert a claim on the throne.
  3. 2 Samuel 3:8 Abner reminds Ish-bosheth that he put Ish-bosheth on the throne of Israel.
  4. 2 Samuel 3:13 Lit see my face.
  5. 2 Samuel 3:14 Saul promised Michal to David as his wife. See 1 Sam 18:25-27.
  6. 2 Samuel 3:14 I.e. a legal and binding promise of marriage.
  7. 2 Samuel 3:19 Lit in the ears of Benjamin.
  8. 2 Samuel 3:19 Lit speak in the ears of David.
  9. 2 Samuel 3:19 Lit in the eyes of Israel.
  10. 2 Samuel 3:27 This was an act of murder, not justifiable revenge, because Abner had killed Asahel in self-defense during a battle.
  11. 2 Samuel 3:29 Lit it.
  12. 2 Samuel 3:36 Lit was good in their eyes.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

2 Samuel 3New International Version (NIV)

The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.

Sons were born to David in Hebron:

His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel;

his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel;

the third, Absalom the son of Maakah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;

the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith;

the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;

and the sixth, Ithream the son of David’s wife Eglah.

These were born to David in Hebron.

Abner Goes Over to David

During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner had been strengthening his own position in the house of Saul. Now Saul had had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, “Why did you sleep with my father’s concubine?”

Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said. So he answered, “Am I a dog’s head—on Judah’s side? This very day I am loyal to the house of your father Saul and to his family and friends. I haven’t handed you over to David. Yet now you accuse me of an offense involving this woman! May God deal with Abner, be it ever so severely, if I do not do for David what the Lord promised him on oath 10 and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David’s throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 Ish-Bosheth did not dare to say another word to Abner, because he was afraid of him.

12 Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to say to David, “Whose land is it? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you bring all Israel over to you.”

13 “Good,” said David. “I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me.” 14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins.”

15 So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. 16 Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go back home!” So he went back.

17 Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, “For some time you have wanted to make David your king. 18 Now do it! For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’”

19 Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person. Then he went to Hebron to tell David everything that Israel and the whole tribe of Benjamin wanted to do. 20 When Abner, who had twenty men with him, came to David at Hebron, David prepared a feast for him and his men. 21 Then Abner said to David, “Let me go at once and assemble all Israel for my lord the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may rule over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

Joab Murders Abner

22 Just then David’s men and Joab returned from a raid and brought with them a great deal of plunder. But Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived, he was told that Abner son of Ner had come to the king and that the king had sent him away and that he had gone in peace.

24 So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone! 25 You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing.”

26 Joab then left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern at Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into an inner chamber, as if to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died.

28 Later, when David heard about this, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy[a] or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food.”

30 (Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.)

31 Then David said to Joab and all the people with him, “Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and walk in mourning in front of Abner.” King David himself walked behind the bier. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb. All the people wept also.

33 The king sang this lament for Abner:

“Should Abner have died as the lawless die?
34     Your hands were not bound,
    your feet were not fettered.
You fell as one falls before the wicked.”

And all the people wept over him again.

35 Then they all came and urged David to eat something while it was still day; but David took an oath, saying, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets!”

36 All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them. 37 So on that day all the people there and all Israel knew that the king had no part in the murder of Abner son of Ner.

38 Then the king said to his men, “Do you not realize that a commander and a great man has fallen in Israel this day? 39 And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Samuel 3:29 The Hebrew for leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin.
New International Version (NIV)

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