Add parallel Print Page Options

There was a long war between the family of Saul and the family of David. David became stronger and stronger. But the family of Saul became weaker and weaker.

David’s Sons

Sons were born to David at Hebron. His first-born was Amnon, by David’s wife Ahinoam of Jezreel. His second son was Chileab, by Abigail who had been the wife of Nabal of Carmel. The third was Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. The fourth was Adonijah the son of Haggith. The fifth was Shephatiah the son of Abital. And the sixth was Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These sons were born to David at Hebron.

Abner Goes over with David

While there was war between the family of Saul and the family of David, Abner was making himself strong in the family of Saul. Now Saul had a woman acting as his wife whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. Ish-bosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to the woman who acted as my father’s wife?” Abner was very angry because of Ish-bosheth’s words, and said, “Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show kindness to the family of your father Saul, to his brothers and to his friends. I have not given you into David’s hands. Yet today you say I am guilty because of this woman. May God do so to Abner, and more also, if I do not do for David what the Lord has promised him. 10 He has promised to build the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 And Ish-bosheth could not answer Abner, because he was afraid of him.

12 Then Abner sent men with news to David at Hebron, saying, “Whose land is this? Make your agreement with me, and I will help you bring all Israel over to you.” 13 David said, “Good! I will make an agreement with you. But you must do one thing that I say. You will not see my face unless you first bring Saul’s daughter Michal when you come to see me.” 14 Then David sent men to Saul’s son Ish-bosheth, saying, “Give me my wife Michal. I was married to her by giving a hundred pieces of skin from the sex parts of the Philistines.” 15 So Ish-bosheth sent men to take her from her husband Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 But her husband went with her, crying as he went. He followed her as far as Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” So he returned.

17 Now Abner spoke with the leaders of Israel, saying, “In times past you wanted David to be your king. 18 Now make it happen! For the Lord has said of David, ‘By the hand of My servant David I will save My people Israel from the Philistines and from all those who hate them.’” 19 Abner spoke to Benjamin also. Then Abner went to Hebron to tell David all that Israel and the whole family of Benjamin thought was good to do.

20 Abner came with twenty men to David at Hebron. And David made a special supper for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 Abner said to David, “Let me go and gather all Israel to my lord the king so they may make an agreement with you. Then you may be king over all your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

Joab Kills Abner

22 Then David’s servants and Joab came from a battle and brought with them many good things they had taken. But Abner was not with David in Hebron, for David had sent him away. Abner had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and the army with him came, it was told to Joab, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king. And the king has sent him away in peace.” 24 Then Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? See, Abner came to you. Why then have you sent him away, so that he is gone? 25 You know Abner the son of Ner. He came to fool you, and to learn about your going out and coming in. He came to learn all that you are doing.”

26 When Joab left David, he sent men after Abner. They brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the center of the gate to speak with him alone. There Joab hit him in the stomach and killed him because of the blood of his brother Asahel. 28 When David heard about it, he said, “I and my nation are forever without guilt before the Lord, from the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 May the guilt be on the head of Joab and all his father’s family. May the family of Joab never be without one who has a flow from his body, or a bad skin disease, or the need to use a walking stick. Or may his family never be without one who falls by the sword, or who needs more bread.” 30 So Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because he had killed their brother in the battle at Gibeon.

David Shows Sorrow for Abner

31 Then David said to Joab and all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes and dress in clothes made from hair. Cry in sorrow in front of Abner.” And King David walked behind the box in which the dead man was carried. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron. And the king cried in a loud voice at Abner’s grave. All the people cried. 33 The king sang a song of sorrow for Abner, saying, “Should Abner die as a fool dies? 34 Your hands were not tied. Your feet were not put in chains. You have fallen as one falls in front of the sinful.” And all the people cried again over him. 35 Then all the people came to try to talk David into eating bread while it was still day. But David promised, saying, “May God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down.” 36 All the people saw it, and it pleased them. Everything the king did pleased all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king’s will to kill Abner the son of Ner. 38 Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a leader, and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 And I am weak today, even if I was chosen to be king. The sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me. May the Lord pay the sinner for his sin.”