David Learns of Saul’s Death

Now it came about after (A)the death of Saul, when David had returned from (B)the slaughter of the Amalekites, that David stayed two days in Ziklag. And on the third day, behold, (C)a man came from [a]Saul’s camp (D)with his clothes torn and [b]dust on his head. And it happened when he came to David, (E)he fell to the ground and prostrated himself. Then David said to him, “From where do you come?” And he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” David said to him, “(F)How did things go? Please tell me.” And he said, “The people have fled from the battle, and many of the people also have fallen and are dead; and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.” Then David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” The young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on (G)Mount Gilboa, and behold, (H)Saul was leaning on his spear. And behold, the chariots and the horsemen had overtaken him. When he looked behind himself, he saw me, and called to me. And I said, ‘Here I am.’ Then he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ And I [c]answered him, ‘(I)I am an Amalekite.’ And he said to me, ‘Please stand next to me and finish me off, for [d]agony has seized me because my [e]life still lingers in me.’ 10 So I stood next to him (J)and finished him off, because I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. And (K)I took the crown which was on his head and the band which was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”

11 Then (L)David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so also did all the men who were with him. 12 And they mourned and wept and (M)fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the people of the Lord and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 13 Then David said to the young man who informed him, “Where are you from?” And he [f]answered, “(N)I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite.” 14 And David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid (O)to reach out with your hand to destroy the Lords anointed?” 15 Then David called one of the young men and said, “Come forward, [g]put him to death.” (P)So he struck him and he died. 16 And David said to him, “[h](Q)Your blood is on your head, because (R)your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have finished off the Lords anointed.’”

David’s Song of Mourning for Saul and Jonathan

17 Then David (S)sang this song of mourning over Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the mourning song of the bow; behold, it is written in (T)the Book of Jashar.

19 [i]Your beauty, Israel, is [j]slaughtered on your high places!
(U)How the mighty have fallen!
20 (V)Tell it not in Gath,
Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
Or (W)the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice,
The daughters of (X)the uncircumcised will celebrate.
21 (Y)Mountains of Gilboa,
(Z)May there be no dew nor rain on you, or fields of offerings!
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
The shield of Saul, not (AA)anointed with oil.
22 (AB)From the blood of those [k]slaughtered, from the fat of the mighty,
(AC)The bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
And the sword of Saul did not return [l]unstained.
23 Saul and Jonathan, beloved and delightful in [m]life,
And in their deaths they were not separated;
(AD)They were swifter than eagles,
(AE)They were mightier than lions.
24 Daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
Who clothed you in scarlet, with jewelry,
Who put gold jewelry on your apparel.
25 (AF)How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle!
Jonathan is [n]slaughtered on your high places.
26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
You have been [o]a close friend to me.
(AG)Your love for me was more wonderful
Than the love of women.
27 (AH)How the mighty have fallen,
And (AI)the weapons of war have perished!”

Footnotes

  1. 2 Samuel 1:2 Lit the camp connected with Saul
  2. 2 Samuel 1:2 Lit earth
  3. 2 Samuel 1:8 Lit said to
  4. 2 Samuel 1:9 Or dizziness
  5. 2 Samuel 1:9 Lit whole life is still in me
  6. 2 Samuel 1:13 Lit said
  7. 2 Samuel 1:15 Lit fall on him
  8. 2 Samuel 1:16 I.e., his death was his own responsibility
  9. 2 Samuel 1:19 Lit The
  10. 2 Samuel 1:19 Lit pierced
  11. 2 Samuel 1:22 Lit pierced
  12. 2 Samuel 1:22 Or without success
  13. 2 Samuel 1:23 Lit their lives
  14. 2 Samuel 1:25 Lit pierced
  15. 2 Samuel 1:26 Lit very friendly to

David Made King over Judah

Then it came about afterward that (A)David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” So David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “(B)To Hebron.” So David went up there, and (C)his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the [a]widow of Nabal the Carmelite. And (D)David brought up his men who were with him, each with his household; and they settled in the cities of Hebron. Then the men of Judah came, and there they (E)anointed David king over the house of Judah.

And they told David, saying, “It was (F)the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.” So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said to them, “(G)May you be blessed of the Lord because you have [b]shown this kindness to Saul your lord, and have buried him. And now (H)may the Lord [c]show kindness and truth to you; and I also will [d]show this goodness to you, because you have done this thing. Now then, let your hands be strong and be [e]valiant, since Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

Ish-bosheth Made King over Israel

But (I)Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, had taken [f]Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to (J)Mahanaim. And he made him king over (K)Gilead, over the (L)Ashurites, over (M)Jezreel, over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, even over all Israel. 10 Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he was king for two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David. 11 And (N)the [g]time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

Civil War

12 Now Abner the son of Ner, went from Mahanaim to (O)Gibeon with the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul. 13 And (P)Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met [h]them by the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, [i]Abner’s men on the one side of the pool and [j]Joab’s men on the other side of the pool. 14 Then Abner said to Joab, “Now have the young men arise and (Q)hold a martial skills match in our presence.” And Joab said, “Have them arise!” 15 So they got up and went over by count, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve from the servants of David. 16 And each one of them seized his [k]opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his [l]opponent’s side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called [m]Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon. 17 That day the battle was very severe, and (R)Abner and the men of Israel were defeated [n]by the servants of David.

18 Now (S)the three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel; and Asahel was (T)as [o]swift-footed as one of the gazelles that is in the field. 19 Asahel pursued Abner and did not turn [p]to the right or to the left from following Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind himself and said, “Is that you, Asahel?” And he said, “It is I!” 21 So Abner said to him, “Turn aside for your own good to your right or to your left, and take hold of one of the young men for yourself, and take for yourself his equipment.” But Asahel was unwilling to turn aside from following him. 22 Then Abner repeated again to Asahel, “Turn aside for your own good from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? (U)How then could I [q]show my face to your brother Joab?” 23 However, he refused to turn aside; so Abner struck him in the belly with the butt end of the spear, so that the spear came out at his back. And he fell there and died on the spot. And it happened that all who came thereafter to the place where (V)Asahel had fallen and died, stood still.

24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and when the sun was going down, they came to the hill of Ammah, which is opposite Giah by way of the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 And the sons of Benjamin gathered together behind Abner and became one troop, and they stood on the top of a hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab and said, “Should the sword devour forever? Do you not realize that it will be bitter in the end? So how long will you [r]refrain from telling the people to turn back from pursuing their kinsmen?” 27 Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, then the people of Judah certainly would have withdrawn in the morning, each from pursuing his brother.” 28 So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the people halted and no longer pursued Israel, (W)nor did they continue to fight anymore. 29 Abner and his men then went through the Arabah all that night; so they crossed the Jordan, walked all morning, and came to (X)Mahanaim.

30 Then Joab returned from pursuing Abner; but he gathered all the people together, and [s]nineteen of David’s servants were missing, besides Asahel. 31 However, the servants of David had struck and killed many of Benjamin and Abner’s men; 360 men were dead. 32 And they carried Asahel away and buried him (Y)in his father’s tomb, which was in Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men traveled all night until the day [t]dawned at Hebron.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Samuel 2:2 Lit wife
  2. 2 Samuel 2:5 Lit done
  3. 2 Samuel 2:6 Lit do
  4. 2 Samuel 2:6 Lit do
  5. 2 Samuel 2:7 Lit sons of valor
  6. 2 Samuel 2:8 I.e., man of shame; cf. 1 Chr 8:33, Eshbaal
  7. 2 Samuel 2:11 Lit number of days
  8. 2 Samuel 2:13 Lit them together
  9. 2 Samuel 2:13 Lit these on
  10. 2 Samuel 2:13 Lit these on
  11. 2 Samuel 2:16 Lit fellow
  12. 2 Samuel 2:16 Lit fellow’s
  13. 2 Samuel 2:16 I.e., the field of sword-edges
  14. 2 Samuel 2:17 Lit in front of
  15. 2 Samuel 2:18 Lit light in his feet
  16. 2 Samuel 2:19 Lit to go to
  17. 2 Samuel 2:22 Lit lift up
  18. 2 Samuel 2:26 Lit not tell the people
  19. 2 Samuel 2:30 Lit nineteen men
  20. 2 Samuel 2:32 Lit dawned for them

The House of David Strengthened

Now (A)there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David became steadily stronger, while the house of Saul became steadily weaker.

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

Abner Joins David

Now it happened that while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, (G)Abner was [b]strengthening himself in the house of Saul. And Saul had a concubine whose name was (H)Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and [c]Ish-bosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?” Then Abner became very angry over Ish-bosheth’s [d]question and said, “(I)Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show kindness to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers and to his friends, and have not let you fall into the hands of David; yet today you call me to account for wrongdoing with [e]that woman? (J)May God do so to [f]me, and more so, if (K)as the Lord has sworn to David, I do not accomplish this for him: 10 (L)to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, (M)from Dan even to Beersheba!” 11 And Ish-bosheth could no longer say a word in response to Abner, because he was afraid of him.

12 Then Abner sent messengers to David at his place, saying, “Whose is the land? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring all Israel over to you.” 13 And he said, “Good! I will make a covenant with you, only I require one thing of you, [g]namely, that (N)you shall not see my face unless you (O)first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see [h]me.” 14 So David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, to whom I was betrothed (P)for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 Ish-bosheth sent men and [i]had her taken from her husband, from [j]Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 And her husband went with her, weeping as he went, [k]following her as far as (Q)Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” So he returned.

17 Now Abner had a [l]consultation with (R)the elders of Israel, saying, “In times past you were seeking for David to be king over you. 18 Now then, do it! For the Lord has spoken regarding David, saying, ‘(S)By the hand of My servant David [m]I will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines, and from the hands of all their enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke [n]to Benjamin; and in addition Abner went to speak [o]to David in Hebron everything that seemed good to Israel and to (T)the entire house of Benjamin.

20 Then Abner and twenty men with him came to David at Hebron. And David held a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 Abner said to David, “Let me set out and go and (U)gather all Israel to my lord the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, and that (V)you may be king over all that your soul desires.” So David let Abner go, and he went in peace.

22 And behold, (W)the servants of David and Joab came from a raid and brought a large amount of plunder with them; but Abner was not with David in Hebron, since he had let him go, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the army that was with him arrived, they informed Joab, saying, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has let him go on his way, 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 then have you let him go, so that he is already gone? 25 You know Abner the son of Ner, that he came to gain your confidence, and to learn of (X)your [p]going out and coming in and to find out everything that you are doing.”

Joab Murders Abner

26 When Joab left David’s presence, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David did not know about it. 27 So when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the middle of the gate to speak with him privately, and there (Y)he struck him in the belly, so that he died on account of the blood of his brother Asahel. 28 Afterward, when David heard about this, he said, “I and my kingdom are innocent before the Lord forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 (Z)May it turn upon the head of Joab and on all his father’s house; and may there not be eliminated from the house of Joab (AA)someone who suffers a discharge, or has leprosy, or [q]holds the spindle, or falls by the sword, or lacks bread.” 30 So Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner (AB)because he had put their brother Asahel to death in the battle at Gibeon.

David Mourns Abner

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

“Should Abner die as a fool dies?
34 Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put in bronze shackles;
As one falls before the [r]wicked, you have fallen.”

And all the people wept over him again. 35 Then all the people came (AF)to provide [s]food for David in his distress while it was still day; but David vowed, saying, “(AG)May God do so to me, and more so, if I taste bread or anything else (AH)before the sun goes down.” 36 Now all the people took note of David’s vow, and it [t]pleased them, just as everything that the king did [u]pleased all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood on that day that it had not been the desire 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 leader and a great man has fallen in Israel this day? 39 And I am (AI)weak today, though anointed king; and these men, (AJ)the sons of Zeruiah, are too difficult for me. (AK)May the Lord repay the evildoer in proportion to his evil.”

Footnotes

  1. 2 Samuel 3:3 Lit wife
  2. 2 Samuel 3:6 Or remaining faithful to
  3. 2 Samuel 3:7 As in some mss and ancient versions; MT he
  4. 2 Samuel 3:8 Lit words
  5. 2 Samuel 3:8 Lit the
  6. 2 Samuel 3:9 Lit Abner
  7. 2 Samuel 3:13 Lit saying
  8. 2 Samuel 3:13 Lit my face
  9. 2 Samuel 3:15 Lit took her
  10. 2 Samuel 3:15 In 1 Sam 25:44, Palti
  11. 2 Samuel 3:16 Lit after her
  12. 2 Samuel 3:17 Lit a word
  13. 2 Samuel 3:18 As in many mss and ancient versions; MT he
  14. 2 Samuel 3:19 Lit in the ears of
  15. 2 Samuel 3:19 Lit in the ears of
  16. 2 Samuel 3:25 I.e., daily business
  17. 2 Samuel 3:29 I.e., an effeminate man; LXX holds on to a staff (prob. a crutch)
  18. 2 Samuel 3:34 Lit sons of wickedness
  19. 2 Samuel 3:35 Lit bread
  20. 2 Samuel 3:36 Lit was good in their eyes
  21. 2 Samuel 3:36 Lit was good in the eyes of all

Ish-bosheth Murdered

Now when [a]Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, heard that (A)Abner had died in Hebron, [b](B)his courage failed, and all Israel was horrified. And Saul’s son had two men who were commanders of troops: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the sons of Benjamin (for (C)Beeroth is also considered (D)part of Benjamin, and the Beerothites fled to (E)Gittaim and have lived there as strangers until this day).

Now (F)Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was disabled in both feet. He was five years old when the (G)news of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse picked him up and fled. But it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and could no longer walk. And his name was [c](H)Mephibosheth.

So the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, departed and came to the house of (I)Ish-bosheth in the heat of the day, while he was taking his midday rest. [d]And they came to the interior of the house as if [e]to get wheat, and (J)they struck him in the belly; and Rechab and his brother Baanah escaped. Now when they had come into the house, as he was lying on his bed in his bedroom, they struck him and killed him, and they beheaded him. And they took his head and [f](K)traveled by way of the Arabah all night. Then they brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, “Behold, the head of Ish-bosheth (L)the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; so the Lord has given my lord the king vengeance this day on Saul and his [g]descendants.”

But David replied to Rechab and his brother Baanah, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As the Lord lives, (M)who has redeemed my life from all distress, 10 (N)when the one who informed me, saying, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ also [h]viewed himself as the bearer of good news, I seized him and killed him in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now (O)require his blood from your hands and eliminate you both from the earth?” 12 Then (P)David commanded the young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet, and hung them up beside the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth (Q)and buried it in the grave of Abner in Hebron.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Samuel 4:1 As in some mss; MT he
  2. 2 Samuel 4:1 Lit his hands dropped
  3. 2 Samuel 4:4 In 1 Chr 8:34 and 9:40, Merib-baal
  4. 2 Samuel 4:6 Lit And here they
  5. 2 Samuel 4:6 Lit takers of wheat
  6. 2 Samuel 4:7 Lit went
  7. 2 Samuel 4:8 Lit seed
  8. 2 Samuel 4:10 Lit was as a bearer of good news in his own eyes