2 Samuel 2 International Standard Version (ISV)
David Becomes King over Judah
2 Some time later, David inquired of the Lord to ask, “Am I to move[a] to any one of the cities of Judah?”
The Lord told him, “Go.”
So David asked, “To which one?”
He replied, “To Hebron.”
2 So David went there, along with his two wives Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, widow of Nabal from Carmel. 3 David brought his army[b] with him, each soldier accompanied by his household, and they settled in the cities of Hebron. 4 After this, the army of Judah arrived, and they anointed David king over the house of Judah.
There they informed David, “The men of Jabesh-gilead buried Saul.”
5 So David sent messengers to the people[c] of Jabesh-gilead and told them, “May the Lord bless you, because you showed gracious love like[d] this to your lord Saul by burying him. 6 Now may the Lord reward you with gracious love, as well as faithfulness, to you, too! And I will also reward you because you did this good thing. 7 So strengthen yourselves, and be valiant in heart, because your lord Saul has died, and the household of Judah has anointed me to be king over them.”
Abner’s Rebellion and the Battle at Gibeon
8 Meanwhile, Ner’s son Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Saul’s son Ish-bosheth[e] and brought him to Mahanaim. 9 He installed him as king over Gilead, the Ashurites, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and all of the rest of[f] Israel. 10 Ish-bosheth began to reign over Israel at the age of 40 years, and he reigned for two years, even though Judah’s lineage followed David. 11 The period of David’s kingship in Hebron lasted seven years and six months.
12 Ner’s son Abner and the servants of Saul’s son Ish-bosheth set out from Mahanaim for Gibeon. 13 Zeruiah’s son Joab and some of David’s staff went out to meet them at the pool of Gibeon. One side encamped on one side of the pool while the other encamped on the other side of the pool.
14 Abner told Joab, “Let’s have the young men get up and fight in our presence.”
Joab replied, “Let them come.”
15 So they got up and twelve were counted to represent Benjamin and Saul’s son Ish-bosheth and twelve to represent members of David’s staff. 16 Each man grabbed his opponent by the head, plunged[g] his sword into his opponent’s side, and then they both fell together. That’s why the place at Gibeon was named The Field of Swords.[h] 17 The battle was very violent that day, with Abner and the men of Israel being defeated in the presence of David’s servants.
Abner Kills Joab’s Brother Asahel
18 Zeruiah’s three sons Joab, Abishai, and Asahel were there. As a runner, Asahel was fast, like one of the wild gazelles. 19 So Asahel ran straight[i] after Abner, following him. 20 When Abner looked behind him, he said, “Is that you, Asahel?”
He answered, “I am.”
21 Abner told him, “Go off to your right or left after one of the young men and grab some war spoils.” But Asahel would not stop following him, 22 so Abner told Asahel again, “Stop following me. Why should I strike you down? How could I show my face to your brother Joab?”
23 But Asahel[j] refused to turn away, so Abner struck Asahel in the abdomen with the butt end of his spear, and the spear protruded through his back. He collapsed to the ground and died where he fell. Everyone gathered round the place where Asahel had collapsed and died, and stood still there.
24 Meanwhile, Joab and Abishai continued to chase Abner. At dusk, as they approached the hill of Ammah that is located near Giah on the way to the Gibeon desert, 25 the descendants of Benjamin rallied around Abner, forming a single military force. They took their stand on top of the hill.
26 Then Abner called out to Joab, “Must the battle sword keep on devouring forever? Don’t you realize that the end result is bitterness? How long will it take for you to order your army[k] to stop pursuing their own relatives?”
27 Joab answered, “As God lives, if you hadn’t spoken up, by morning my army would have broken off their pursuit of their own relatives.” 28 So Joab sounded his battle trumpet, his entire army stopped pursuing Israel any longer, and they quit fighting.
29 Abner and his army traveled through the Arabah by night, crossed the Jordan, and arrived at Mahanaim after marching all morning. 30 Joab returned from his pursuit of Abner, and when he had mustered his entire army, nineteen of David’s soldiers[l] were missing besides Asahel. 31 Meanwhile, other[m] soldiers of David had killed 360 of Abner’s men from the tribe of[n] Benjamin. 32 They retrieved Asahel’s body and buried him in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night until daybreak and arrived back in Hebron.
2 Samuel 2 New International Version (NIV)
David Anointed King Over Judah
2 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.
2 So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 3 David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns. 4 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, 5 he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. 6 May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this. 7 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
8 Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. 9 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.