2 Samuel 3 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
3 The war between the house of Sha’ul and the house of David dragged on, but David grew stronger, while the house of Sha’ul became weaker.
2 Sons were born to David in Hevron. His firstborn was Amnon, whose mother was Achino‘am from Yizre‘el; 3 his second, Kil’av, whose mother was Avigayil the widow of Naval from Karmel; the third, Avshalom, whose mother was Ma‘akhah the daughter of Talmai king of G’shur; 4 the fourth, Adoniyah the son of Haggit; the fifth, Sh’fatyah the son of Avital; 5 and the sixth, Yitre‘am, whose mother was ‘Eglah David’s wife. These were born to David in Hevron.
6 During the war that was going on between the house of Sha’ul and the house of David, Avner strengthened his position in the house of Sha’ul. 7 Sha’ul had had a concubine named Ritzpah, the daughter of Ayah; and [Ish-Boshet] challenged Avner: “Why did you go and sleep with my father’s concubine?” 8 These words of Ish-Boshet’s enraged Avner. “What am I,” he shouted, “[that you treat me with such contempt]? A dog’s head in Y’hudah? Till this moment I have shown only kindness to the house of Sha’ul your father, and to his brothers and to his friends; and I haven’t handed you over to David. Yet you choose today to pick a fight with me over this woman! 9 May God bring terrible curses on Avner and worse ones yet if I don’t accomplish what Adonai swore to David — 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Sha’ul and set up the throne of David over Isra’el and Y’hudah, from Dan all the way to Be’er-Sheva!” 11 Ish-Boshet couldn’t answer Avner a word, because he was afraid of him.
12 Avner immediately sent envoys to David with this message: “Who is going to control the land? If you make yourself my ally, I will use my power to bring all Isra’el over to you.” 13 David sent this reply: “Very well, I will be your ally — on one condition: you will not come into my presence unless at the same time you bring with you Mikhal Sha’ul’s daughter.” 14 David sent messengers to say to Ish-Boshet the son of Sha’ul, “Give me back my wife Mikhal. I betrothed her to myself for 100 foreskins of the P’lishtim.” 15 Ish-Boshet sent and took her from her husband Palti’el the son of Layish. 16 Her husband went with her, crying as he went, and followed her to Bachurim. But when Avner told him, “Go back,” he returned.
17 Then Avner conferred with the leaders of Isra’el. He said, “In the past, you wanted David to be king over you. 18 So now, do it. For Adonai has said of David, ‘Through my servant David I will rescue my people Isra’el from the power of the P’lishtim and from the power of all their enemies.’” 19 Avner also spoke with the people of Binyamin.
Then Avner went to Hevron and reported to David everything that had been agreed to by Isra’el and the house of Binyamin. 20 When Avner came to David in Hevron he brought twenty men with him. David held a feast for Avner and his men. 21 Avner said to David, “I must get up and go to gather all Isra’el to my lord the king, so that they can make a covenant with you. Then you will be able to rule over everything your heart desires.” David sent Avner off, giving him safe conduct.
22 Just then David’s men and Yo’av returned from a raid, bringing a lot of plunder with them. But Avner was not with David in Hevron, because he had sent him off under safe conduct. 23 When Yo’av and all his army had arrived, Yo’av was told, “Avner the son of Ner came to the king, but he sent him off, and he has left under safe conduct.” 24 Yo’av went to the king and said, “What have you done? Here, Avner came to you, and you sent him away, and now he’s gone! Why? 25 You know Avner the son of Ner — he came only to deceive you, to learn what campaigns you’re planning and to find out everything you’re doing!”
26 After leaving David, Yo’av sent messengers after Avner, and they brought him back from the water cistern at Sirah without David’s knowledge. 27 Upon Avner’s return to Hevron, Yo’av took him aside into the space between the outer and inner city gates as if to speak with him privately; and there he struck him in the groin, so that he died — thus avenging the death of ‘Asah’el his brother.
28 Afterwards, when David heard of it, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent of the death of Avner the son of Ner. 29 Let it fall on the head of Yo’av and all his father’s family. May Yo’av’s family always have someone with a hemorrhage or tzara‘at, or who has to walk with a cane, or who dies by the sword or who lacks food.” 30 Thus Yo’av and Avishai his brother killed Avner, because he had killed their brother ‘Asah’el during the battle in Giv‘on. 31 But David said to Yo’av and all those with him, “Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn over Avner.” King David himself walked behind the body as it was carried. 32 They buried Avner at Hevron; the king wept aloud at Avner’s grave, and all the people wept. 33 The king sang this lament over Avner:
“Should Avner have died like a thug?
Then all the people wept over him more than ever.
35 All the people came to David and tried to make him eat some bread while it was still daytime; but David swore, “May God bring terrible curses on me and worse ones yet if I taste bread or anything else until the sun goes down.” 36 All the people took note of this, and it pleased them; whatever the king did pleased all the people. 37 So that day, all the people and all Isra’el understood that the king had had no part in the killing of Avner the son of Ner. 38 The king said to his servants, “You realize that a leader, a great man, has fallen today in Isra’el. 39 Even though I have just been anointed king, I feel weak today; and these men, the sons of Tz’ruyah, are too brutal for me. May Adonai repay the criminal as his crime deserves!”
2 Samuel 3 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
3 During the long war between the house of Saul and the house of David, David was growing stronger and the house of Saul was becoming weaker.
2 Sons were born to David in Hebron:
His firstborn was Amnon,
by Ahinoam the Jezreelite;
3 his second was Chileab,
by Abigail, the widow of Nabal the Carmelite;
the third was Absalom,
son of Maacah the daughter of King Talmai of Geshur;
4 the fourth was Adonijah,
son of Haggith;
the fifth was Shephatiah,
son of Abital;
5 the sixth was Ithream,
by David’s wife Eglah.
These were born to David in Hebron.
6 During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner kept acquiring more power in the house of Saul. 7 Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah daughter of Aiah, and Ish-bosheth questioned Abner, “Why did you sleep with my father’s concubine?”
8 Abner was very angry about Ish-bosheth’s accusation. “Am I a dog’s head[a] who belongs to Judah?” he asked. “All this time I’ve been loyal to the family of your father Saul, to his brothers, and to his friends and haven’t betrayed you to David, but now you accuse me of wrongdoing with this woman! 9 May God punish Abner and do so severely if I don’t do for David what the Lord swore to him: 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish the throne of David over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beer-sheba.” 11 Ish-bosheth did not dare respond to Abner because he was afraid of him.
12 Abner sent messengers as his representatives to say to David, “Whose land is it? Make your covenant with me, and you can be certain I am on your side to turn all Israel over to you.”
13 David replied, “Good, I will make a covenant with you. However, there’s one thing I require of you: You will not see my face unless you first bring Saul’s daughter Michal when you come to see me.”
14 Then David sent messengers to say to Ish-bosheth son of Saul, “Give me back my wife, Michal. I was engaged to her for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins.”
15 So Ish-bosheth sent someone to take her away from her husband, Paltiel son of Laish. 16 Her husband followed her, weeping all the way to Bahurim. Abner said to him, “Go back.” So he went back.
The Assassination of Abner
17 Abner conferred with the elders of Israel: “In the past you wanted David to be king over you. 18 Now take action, because the Lord has spoken concerning David: ‘Through my servant David I will save my people Israel from the power of the Philistines and the power of all Israel’s enemies.’”
19 Abner also informed the Benjaminites and went to Hebron to inform David about all that was agreed on by Israel and the whole house of Benjamin. 20 When Abner and twenty men came to David at Hebron, David held a banquet for him and his men.
21 Abner said to David, “Let me now go and I will gather all Israel to my lord the king. They will make a covenant with you, and you will reign over all you desire.” So David dismissed Abner, and he went in peace.
22 Just then David’s soldiers and Joab returned from a raid and brought a large amount of plundered goods with them. Abner was not with David in Hebron because David had dismissed him, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and his whole army arrived, Joab was informed, “Abner son of Ner came to see the king, the king dismissed him, and he went in peace.”
24 Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Look here, Abner came to you. Why did you dismiss him? Now he’s getting away. 25 You know that Abner son of Ner came to deceive you and to find out about your military activities[b] and everything you’re doing.” 26 Then Joab left David and sent messengers after Abner. They brought him back from the well[c] of Sirah, but David was unaware of it. 27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab pulled him aside to the middle of the city gate, as if to speak to him privately, and there Joab stabbed him in the stomach. So Abner died in revenge for the death of Asahel,[d] Joab’s brother.
28 David heard about it later and said: “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May it hang over Joab’s head and his father’s whole family, and may the house of Joab never be without someone who has a discharge or a skin disease, or a man who can only work a spindle,[e] or someone who falls by the sword or starves.” 30 Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because he had put their brother Asahel to death in the battle at Gibeon.
31 David then ordered Joab and all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn over Abner.” And King David walked behind the coffin.[f]
32 When they buried Abner in Hebron, the king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb. All the people wept, 33 and the king sang a lament for Abner:
Should Abner die as a fool dies?
And all the people wept over him even more.
35 Then they came to urge David to eat food while it was still day, but David took an oath: “May God punish me and do so severely if I taste bread or anything else before sunset!” 36 All the people took note of this, and it pleased them. In fact, everything the king did pleased them. 37 On that day all the troops and all Israel were convinced that the king had no part in the killing of Abner son of Ner.
38 Then the king said to his soldiers, “You must know that a great leader has fallen in Israel today. 39 As for me, even though I am the anointed king, I have little power today. These men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too fierce for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil!”