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2 Samuel 3:6-4:3 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner kept acquiring more power in the house of Saul. 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?”

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 house of your father Saul, to his brothers, and to his friends and haven’t handed you over to David, but now you accuse me of wrongdoing with this woman! 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 could not answer 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 hand 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: Do not appear before me unless you bring Saul’s daughter Michal here 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 100 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 20 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 rule 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 all his 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 activities and everything you’re doing.” 26 Then Joab left David and sent messengers after Abner. They brought him back from the well[b] of Sirah, but David was unaware of it. 27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab pulled him aside to the middle of the gateway, 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,[c] 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 house, 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,[d] 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 funeral procession.[e]

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?
34 Your hands were not bound,
your feet not placed in bronze shackles.
You fell like one who falls victim to criminals.

And all the people wept over him even more.

35 Then they came to urge David to eat bread 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!”

The Assassination of Ish-bosheth

When Saul’s son Ish-bosheth heard that Abner had died in Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed. Saul’s son had two men who were leaders of raiding parties: one named Baanah and the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite of the Benjaminites. Beeroth is also considered part of Benjamin, and the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and still live there as foreigners to this very day.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Samuel 3:8 = a despised person
  2. 2 Samuel 3:26 Or cistern
  3. 2 Samuel 3:27 Lit And he died for the blood of Asahel
  4. 2 Samuel 3:29 LXX reads who uses a crutch
  5. 2 Samuel 3:31 Or the bier; lit the bed

2 Samuel 4:5-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Rechab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out and arrived at Ish-bosheth’s house during the heat of the day while the king was taking his midday nap. They entered the interior of the house as if to get wheat and stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and his brother Baanah escaped. They had entered the house while Ish-bosheth was lying on his bed in his bedroom and stabbed and killed him. Then they beheaded him, took his head, and traveled by way of the Arabah all night. They brought Ish-bosheth’s head to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Here’s the head of Ish-bosheth son of Saul, your enemy who intended to take your life. Today the Lord has granted vengeance to my lord the king against Saul and his offspring.”

But David answered Rechab and his brother Baanah, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As the Lord lives, the One who has redeemed my life from every distress, 10 when the person told me, ‘Look, Saul is dead,’ he thought he was a bearer of good news, but I seized him and put him to death at Ziklag. That was my reward to him for his news! 11 How much more when wicked men kill a righteous man in his own house on his own bed! So now, should I not require his blood from your hands and wipe you off the earth?”

12 So David gave orders to the young men, and they killed Rechab and Baanah. They cut off their hands and feet and hung their bodies by the pool in Hebron, but they took Ish-bosheth’s head and buried it in Abner’s tomb in Hebron.

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