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2 Samuel 3:22-39Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

22 Just then David’s men and Yo’av returned from a raid, bringing a lot of plunder with them. But Avner was not with David in Hevron, because he had sent him off under safe conduct. 23 When Yo’av and all his army had arrived, Yo’av was told, “Avner the son of Ner came to the king, but he sent him off, and he has left under safe conduct.” 24 Yo’av went to the king and said, “What have you done? Here, Avner came to you, and you sent him away, and now he’s gone! Why? 25 You know Avner the son of Ner — he came only to deceive you, to learn what campaigns you’re planning and to find out everything you’re doing!”

26 After leaving David, Yo’av sent messengers after Avner, and they brought him back from the water cistern at Sirah without David’s knowledge. 27 Upon Avner’s return to Hevron, Yo’av took him aside into the space between the outer and inner city gates as if to speak with him privately; and there he struck him in the groin, so that he died — thus avenging the death of ‘Asah’el his brother.

28 Afterwards, when David heard of it, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent of the death of Avner the son of Ner. 29 Let it fall on the head of Yo’av and all his father’s family. May Yo’av’s family always have someone with a hemorrhage or tzara‘at, or who has to walk with a cane, or who dies by the sword or who lacks food.” 30 Thus Yo’av and Avishai his brother killed Avner, because he had killed their brother ‘Asah’el during the battle in Giv‘on. 31 But David said to Yo’av and all those with him, “Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn over Avner.” King David himself walked behind the body as it was carried. 32 They buried Avner at Hevron; the king wept aloud at Avner’s grave, and all the people wept. 33 The king sang this lament over Avner:

“Should Avner have died like a thug?
34 Your hands weren’t tied, your feet weren’t fettered;
you fell like one who falls at the hands
of criminals.”

Then all the people wept over him more than ever.

35 All the people came to David and tried to make him eat some bread while it was still daytime; but David swore, “May God bring terrible curses on me and worse ones yet if I taste bread or anything else until the sun goes down.” 36 All the people took note of this, and it pleased them; whatever the king did pleased all the people. 37 So that day, all the people and all Isra’el understood that the king had had no part in the killing of Avner the son of Ner. 38 The king said to his servants, “You realize that a leader, a great man, has fallen today in Isra’el. 39 Even though I have just been anointed king, I feel weak today; and these men, the sons of Tz’ruyah, are too brutal for me. May Adonai repay the criminal as his crime deserves!”

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

2 Samuel 3:22-39New King James Version (NKJV)

Joab Murders Abner

22 At that moment the servants of David and Joab came from a raid and brought much spoil with them. But Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the troops that were with him had come, they told Joab, saying, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he sent him away, and he has gone in peace.” 24 Then Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Look, Abner came to you; why is it that you sent him away, and he has already gone? 25 Surely you realize that Abner the son of Ner came to deceive you, to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you are doing.”

26 And when Joab had gone from David’s presence, he sent messengers after Abner, who brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 Now when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him privately, and there stabbed him in the stomach, so that he died for the blood of Asahel his brother.

28 Afterward, when David heard it, he said, “My kingdom and I are guiltless before the Lord forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 Let it rest on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house; and let there never fail to be in the house of Joab one who has a discharge or is a leper, who leans on a staff or falls by the sword, or who lacks bread.” 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.

David’s Mourning for Abner

31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes, gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn for Abner.” And King David followed the coffin. 32 So they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33 And the king sang a lament over Abner and said:

“Should Abner die as a fool dies?
34 Your hands were not bound
Nor your feet put into fetters;
As a man falls before wicked men, so you fell.”

Then all the people wept over him again.

35 And when all the people came to persuade David to eat food while it was still day, David took an oath, saying, “God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else till the sun goes down!” 36 Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, since whatever the king did pleased all the people. 37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king’s intent to kill Abner the son of Ner. 38 Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 And I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too harsh for me. The Lord shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.”

New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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