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2 Samuel 1-2 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Responses to Saul’s Death

After the death of Saul, David returned from defeating the Amalekites and stayed at Ziklag two days. On the third day a man with torn clothes and dust on his head came from Saul’s camp. When he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage. David asked him, “Where have you come from?”

He replied to him, “I’ve escaped from the Israelite camp.”

“What was the outcome? Tell me,” David asked him.

“The troops fled from the battle,” he answered. “Many of the troops have fallen and are dead. Also, Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”

David asked the young man who had brought him the report, “How do you know Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”

“I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” he replied, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear. At that very moment the chariots and the cavalry were closing in on him. When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, so I answered: I’m at your service. He asked me, ‘Who are you?’ I told him: I’m an Amalekite. Then he begged me, ‘Stand over me and kill me, for I’m mortally wounded,[a] but my life still lingers.’ 10 So I stood over him and killed him because I knew that after he had fallen he couldn’t survive. I took the crown that was on his head and the armband that was on his arm, and I’ve brought them here to my lord.”

11 Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and all the men with him did the same. 12 They mourned, wept, and fasted until the evening for those who died by the sword—for Saul, his son Jonathan, the Lord’s people, and the house of Israel.

13 David inquired of the young man who had brought him the report, “Where are you from?”

“I’m the son of a resident alien,” he said. “I’m an Amalekite.”

14 David questioned him, “How is it that you were not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” 15 Then David summoned one of his servants and said, “Come here and kill him!” The servant struck him, and he died. 16 For David had said to the Amalekite, “Your blood is on your own head because your own mouth testified against you by saying, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed.’”

17 David sang the following lament for Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered that the Judahites be taught The Song of the Bow. It is written in the Book of Jashar:[b]

19 The splendor of Israel lies slain on your heights.
How the mighty have fallen!
20 Do not tell it in Gath,
don’t announce it in the marketplaces of Ashkelon,
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice,
and the daughters of the uncircumcised will celebrate.
21 Mountains of Gilboa,
let no dew or rain be on you,
or fields of offerings,[c]
for there the shield of the mighty was defiled
the shield of Saul, no longer anointed with oil.
22 Jonathan’s bow never retreated,
Saul’s sword never returned unstained,[d]
from the blood of the slain,
from the flesh[e] of the mighty.
23 Saul and Jonathan,
loved and delightful,
they were not parted in life or in death.
They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions.
24 Daughters of Israel, weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet, with luxurious things,
who decked your garments with gold ornaments.
25 How the mighty have fallen in the thick of battle!
Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan, my brother.
You were such a friend to me.
Your love for me was more wondrous
than the love of women.
27 How the mighty have fallen
and the weapons of war have perished!

David, King of Judah

Some time later, David inquired of the Lord: “Should I go to one of the towns of Judah?”

The Lord answered him, “Go.”

Then David asked, “Where should I go?”

“To Hebron,” the Lord replied.

So David went there with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail, the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. In addition, David brought the men who were with him, each one with his family, and they settled in the towns near Hebron. Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. They told David: “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.”

David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “The Lord bless you, because you have shown this kindness to Saul your lord when you buried him. Now, may the Lord show kindness and faithfulness to you, and I will also show the same goodness to you because you have done this deed. Therefore, be strong[f] and valiant, for though Saul your lord is dead, the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Saul’s son Ish-bosheth[g][h] and moved him to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin—over all Israel. 10 Saul’s son Ish-bosheth was forty years old when he became king over Israel; he reigned for two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David. 11 The length of time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

12 Abner son of Ner and soldiers of Ish-bosheth son of Saul marched out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 So Joab son of Zeruiah and David’s soldiers marched out and met them by the pool of Gibeon. The two groups took up positions on opposite sides of the pool.

14 Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have the young men get up and compete in front of us.”

“Let them get up,” Joab replied.

15 So they got up and were counted off—twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth son of Saul, and twelve from David’s soldiers. 16 Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his sword into his opponent’s side so that they all died together. So this place, which is in Gibeon, is named Field of Blades.[i]

17 The battle that day was extremely fierce, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by David’s soldiers. 18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel was a fast runner, like one of the wild gazelles. 19 He chased Abner and did not turn to the right or the left in his pursuit of him. 20 Abner glanced back and said, “Is that you, Asahel?”

“Yes it is,” Asahel replied.

21 Abner said to him, “Turn to your right or left, seize one of the young soldiers, and take whatever you can get from him.” But Asahel would not stop chasing him. 22 Once again, Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How could I ever look your brother Joab in the face?”

23 But Asahel refused to turn away, so Abner hit him in the stomach with the butt of his spear. The spear went through his body, and he fell and died right there. As they all came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, they stopped, 24 but Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. By sunset, they had gone as far as the hill of Ammah, which is opposite Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon.

25 The Benjaminites rallied to Abner; they formed a unit and took their stand on top of a hill. 26 Then Abner called out to Joab: “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize this will only end in bitterness? How long before you tell the troops to stop pursuing their brothers?”

27 “As God lives,” Joab replied, “if you had not spoken up, the troops wouldn’t have stopped pursuing their brothers until morning.” 28 Then Joab blew the ram’s horn, and all the troops stopped; they no longer pursued Israel or continued to fight. 29 So Abner and his men marched through the Arabah all that night. They crossed the Jordan, marched all morning,[j] and arrived at Mahanaim.

30 When Joab had turned back from pursuing Abner, he gathered all the troops. In addition to Asahel, nineteen of David’s soldiers were missing, 31 but they had killed 360 of the Benjaminites and Abner’s men. 32 Afterward, they carried Asahel to his father’s tomb in Bethlehem and buried him. Then Joab and his men marched all night and reached Hebron at dawn.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:9 LXX reads for terrible darkness has taken hold of me
  2. 1:18 Or of the Upright
  3. 1:21 LXX reads firstfruits
  4. 1:22 Lit empty
  5. 1:22 Lit fat
  6. 2:7 Lit Therefore, strengthen your hands
  7. 2:8 Some LXX mss read Ishbaal; 1Ch 8:33; 9:39
  8. 2:8 = Man of Shame
  9. 2:16 Or Helkath-hazzurim
  10. 2:29 Or marched through the Bithron
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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