2 Samuel 2 Good News Translation (GNT)
David Is Made King of Judah
2 After this, David asked the Lord, “Shall I go and take control of one of the towns of Judah?”
“Yes,” the Lord answered.
“Which one?” David asked.
“Hebron,” the Lord said. 2 So David went to Hebron, taking with him his two wives: Ahinoam, who was from Jezreel, and Abigail, Nabal's widow, who was from Carmel. 3 He also took his men and their families, and they settled in the towns around Hebron. 4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron and anointed David as king of Judah.
When David heard that the people of Jabesh in Gilead had buried Saul, 5 he sent some men there with the message: “May the Lord bless you for showing your loyalty to your king by burying him. 6 And now may the Lord be kind and faithful to you. I too will treat you well because of what you have done. 7 Be strong and brave! Saul your king is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me as their king.”
Ishbosheth Is Made King of Israel
8 The commander of Saul's army, Abner son of Ner, had fled with Saul's son Ishbosheth across the Jordan to Mahanaim. 9 There Abner made Ishbosheth king of the territories of Gilead, Asher,[a] Jezreel, Ephraim, and Benjamin, and indeed over all Israel. 10 He was forty years old when he was made king of Israel, and he ruled for two years.
But the tribe of Judah was loyal to David, 11 and he ruled in Hebron over Judah for seven and a half years.
War between Israel and Judah
12 Abner and the officials of Ishbosheth went from Mahanaim to the city of Gibeon. 13 Joab, whose mother was Zeruiah, and David's other officials met them at the pool, where they all sat down, one group on one side of the pool and the other group on the opposite side. 14 Abner said to Joab, “Let's have some of the young men from each side fight an armed contest.”
“All right,” Joab answered.
15 So twelve men, representing Ishbosheth and the tribe of Benjamin, fought twelve of David's men. 16 Each man caught his opponent by the head and plunged his sword into his opponent's side, so that all twenty-four of them fell down dead together. And so that place in Gibeon is called “Field of Swords.”
17 Then a furious battle broke out, and Abner and the Israelites were defeated by David's men. 18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel, who could run as fast as a wild deer, 19 started chasing Abner, running straight for him. 20 Abner looked back and said, “Is that you, Asahel?”
“Yes,” he answered.
21 “Stop chasing me!” Abner said. “Run after one of the soldiers and take what he has.” But Asahel kept on chasing him. 22 Once more Abner said to him, “Stop chasing me! Why force me to kill you? How could I face your brother Joab?” 23 But Asahel would not quit; so Abner, with a backward thrust[b] of his spear, struck him through the stomach so that the spear came out at his back. Asahel dropped to the ground dead, and everyone who came to the place where he was lying stopped and stood there.
24 But Joab and Abishai started out after Abner, and at sunset they came to the hill of Ammah, which is to the east of Giah on the road to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 The men from the tribe of Benjamin gathered around Abner again and took their stand on the top of a hill. 26 Abner called out to Joab, “Do we have to go on fighting forever? Can't you see that in the end there will be nothing but bitterness? We are your relatives. How long will it be before you order your men to stop chasing us?”
27 “I swear by the living God,” Joab answered, “that if you had not spoken, my men would have kept on chasing you until tomorrow morning.” 28 Then Joab blew the trumpet as a signal for his men to stop pursuing the Israelites; and so the fighting stopped.
29 Abner and his men marched through the Jordan Valley all that night; they crossed the Jordan River, and after marching all the next morning, they arrived back at Mahanaim.
30 When Joab gave up the chase, he gathered all his men and found that nineteen of them were missing, in addition to Asahel. 31 David's men had killed 360 of Abner's men from the tribe of Benjamin. 32 Joab and his men took Asahel's body and buried it in the family tomb at Bethlehem. Then they marched all night and at dawn arrived back at Hebron.
2 Samuel 2 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
David Anointed King of Judah
2 After this David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” The Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” He said, “To Hebron.” 2 So David went up there, along with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 3 David brought up the men who were with him, every one with his household; and they settled in the towns of Hebron. 4 Then the people of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.
When they told David, “It was the people of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” 5 David sent messengers to the people of Jabesh-gilead, and said to them, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord, and buried him! 6 Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you! And I too will reward you because you have done this thing. 7 Therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”
Ishbaal King of Israel
8 But Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ishbaal[a] son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim. 9 He made him king over Gilead, the Ashurites, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and over all Israel. 10 Ishbaal,[b] Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. 11 The time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
The Battle of Gibeon
12 Abner son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbaal[c] son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 Joab son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat on one side of the pool, while the other sat on the other side of the pool. 14 Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men come forward and have a contest before us.” Joab said, “Let them come forward.” 15 So they came forward and were counted as they passed by, twelve for Benjamin and Ishbaal[d] son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16 Each grasped his opponent by the head, and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim,[e] which is at Gibeon. 17 The battle was very fierce that day; and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten by the servants of David.
18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Now Asahel was as swift of foot as a wild gazelle. 19 Asahel pursued Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he followed him. 20 Then Abner looked back and said, “Is it you, Asahel?” He answered, “Yes, it is.” 21 Abner said to him, “Turn to your right or to your left, and seize one of the young men, and take his spoil.” But Asahel would not turn away from following him. 22 Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn away from following me; why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I show my face to your brother Joab?” 23 But he refused to turn away. So Abner struck him in the stomach with the butt of his spear, so that the spear came out at his back. He fell there, and died where he lay. And all those who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still.
24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. As the sun was going down they came to the hill of Ammah, which lies before Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 The Benjaminites rallied around Abner and formed a single band; they took their stand on the top of a hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab, “Is the sword to keep devouring forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter? How long will it be before you order your people to turn from the pursuit of their kinsmen?” 27 Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, the people would have continued to pursue their kinsmen, not stopping until morning.” 28 Joab sounded the trumpet and all the people stopped; they no longer pursued Israel or engaged in battle any further.
29 Abner and his men traveled all that night through the Arabah; they crossed the Jordan, and, marching the whole forenoon,[f] they came to Mahanaim. 30 Joab returned from the pursuit of Abner; and when he had gathered all the people together, there were missing of David’s servants nineteen men besides Asahel. 31 But the servants of David had killed of Benjamin three hundred sixty of Abner’s men. 32 They took up Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was at Bethlehem. Joab and his men marched all night, and the day broke upon them at Hebron.
2 Samuel 2 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
2 After this, David consulted Adonai; he asked, “Should I go up into any of the cities of Y’hudah?” Adonai said to him, “Go up.” David asked, “Where should I go up?” He said, “To Hevron.” 2 So David went up there with his two wives Achino‘am from Yizre‘el and Avigayil the widow of Naval from Karmel. 3 David brought the men up with him, each with his household; and they lived in the cities of Hevron.
4 Then the men of Y’hudah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Y’hudah. They informed David that the men of Yavesh-Gil‘ad were the ones who had buried Sha’ul. 5 So David sent messengers to the men of Yavesh-Gil‘ad with this message: “May you be blessed by Adonai, because you showed this kindness to your lord, Sha’ul, and buried him. 6 Now may Adonai show kindness and truth to you; and I too will show you favor because you have done this. 7 Be strong, and be brave. Sha’ul your lord is dead, but the house of Y’hudah have anointed me king over them.”
8 Avner the son of Ner, commander of Sha’ul’s army, had taken Ish-Boshet the son of Sha’ul, brought him over to Machanayim, 9 and made him king over Gil‘ad, the Ashuri, Yizre‘el, Efrayim, Binyamin and all Isra’el. 10 Ish-Boshet the son of Sha’ul was forty years old when he began to rule over Isra’el, and he ruled for two years. But the house of Y’hudah followed David. 11 David was king in Hevron over the house of Y’hudah for seven years and six months.
12 Avner the son of Ner and the servants of Ish-Boshet the son of Sha’ul went out from Machanayim to Giv‘on; 13 while Yo’av the son of Tz’ruyah and David’s servants also went out; and they met together by the pool at Giv‘on. One group sat down on one side of the pool and the other on the other side. 14 Avner said to Yo’av, “If it’s all right with you, let’s have the young men get up and fight it out between themselves, while we watch.” Yo’av said, “Yes, let them.” 15 So they got up and paired off, twelve for Binyamin and Ish-Boshet the son of Sha’ul, and twelve of David’s servants. 16 Each one grabbed his partner by the head and drove his sword into his side, so that they fell down together. For this reason that place was named Helkat-Hatzurim [field of blades]; it is in Giv‘on. 17 The battle that day was very fierce; Avner and the men of Isra’el were beaten by David’s servants.
18 The three sons of Tz’ruyah were there, Yo’av, Avishai and ‘Asah’el. ‘Asah’el was as fleet-footed as a gazelle in an open field. 19 ‘Asah’el chased Avner, going straight for him, veering neither right nor left. 20 Avner looked behind him and asked, “Is that you, ‘Asah’el?” “Yes, it is,” he answered. 21 Avner said to him, “Turn off to your right or your left, catch one of the young men and take his armor.” But ‘Asah’el wouldn’t turn aside and kept following him. 22 Avner said again to ‘Asah’el, “Turn aside and stop following me! Why should I kill you? If I did, how could I look your brother Yo’av in the eye?” 23 But he still refused to turn aside; so Avner stabbed him in the groin with the back end of the spear, so that the shaft protruded behind him. He fell down and died on the spot. Everyone who came to the place where ‘Asah’el lay dead stopped there.
24 Yo’av and Avishai continued in pursuit of Avner; the sun went down when they arrived at Amah Hill, across from Giach along the Giv‘on Desert road. 25 The people of Binyamin gathered themselves together into a phalanx behind Avner and stood on top of a hill. 26 Then Avner called out to Yo’av, “Must the sword go on devouring forever? Don’t you know that in the end it can produce only bitterness? How long will it be, then, before you tell the people to quit pursuing their brothers?” 27 Yo’av said, “As God lives, if you hadn’t said something, there is no doubt that the people would have kept following their brothers all night long.” 28 Then Yo’av sounded the shofar, and with that the people halted. They stopped pursuing Isra’el, and they stopped fighting.
29 Avner and his men went through the ‘Aravah all that night; they crossed the Yarden, went through all of Bitron and arrived at Machanayim. 30 Yo’av returned from following Avner. When he brought the troops together for review, nineteen of David’s servants were missing, along with ‘Asah’el. 31 But David’s servants had killed 360 of Avner’s men of Binyamin. 32 They took ‘Asah’el and buried him in his father’s tomb in Beit-Lechem. Then Yo’av and his men marched all night, so that they reached Hevron at daybreak.
2 Samuel 2 The Message (MSG)
2 After all this, David prayed. He asked God, “Shall I move to one of the cities of Judah?”
God said, “Yes, move.”
“And to which city?”
2-3 So David moved to Hebron, along with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David’s men, along with their families, also went with him and made their home in and around Hebron.
4-7 The citizens of Judah came to Hebron, and then and there made David king over the clans of Judah.
A report was brought to David that the men of Jabesh Gilead had given Saul a decent burial. David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead: “God bless you for this—for honoring your master, Saul, with a funeral. God honor you and be true to you—and I’ll do the same, matching your generous act of goodness. Strengthen your resolve and do what must be done. Your master, Saul, is dead. The citizens of Judah have made me their king.”
8-11 In the meantime, Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, had taken Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth to Mahanaim and made him king over Gilead, over Asher, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, over Benjamin—king, as it turns out, over all Israel. Ish-Bosheth Saul’s son, was forty years old when he was made king over Israel. He lasted only two years. But the people of Judah stuck with David. David ruled the people of Judah from Hebron for seven and a half years.
12-13 One day Abner son of Ner set out from Mahanaim with the soldiers of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, headed for Gibeon. Joab son of Zeruiah, with David’s soldiers, also set out. They met at the Pool of Gibeon, Abner’s group on one side, Joab’s on the other.
14 Abner challenged Joab, “Put up your best fighters. Let’s see them do their stuff.”
Joab said, “Good! Let them go at it!”
15-16 So they lined up for the fight, twelve Benjaminites from the side of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve soldiers from David’s side. The men from each side grabbed their opponents’ heads and stabbed them with their daggers. They all fell dead—the whole bunch together. So, they called the place Slaughter Park. It’s right there at Gibeon.
17-19 The fighting went from bad to worse throughout the day. Abner and the men of Israel were beaten to a pulp by David’s men. The three sons of Zeruiah were present: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel, as fast as a wild antelope on the open plain, chased Abner, staying hard on his heels.
20 Abner turned and said, “Is that you, Asahel?”
“It surely is,” he said.
21 Abner said, “Let up on me. Pick on someone you have a chance of beating and be content with those spoils!” But Asahel wouldn’t let up.
22 Abner tried again, “Turn back. Don’t force me to kill you. How would I face your brother Joab?”
23-25 When he refused to quit, Abner struck him in the belly with the blunt end of his spear so hard that it came out his back. Asahel fell to the ground and died at once. Everyone who arrived at the spot where Asahel fell and died stood and gaped—Asahel dead! But Joab and Abishai kept up the chase after Abner. As the sun began to set, they came to the hill of Ammah that faced Giah on the road to the backcountry of Gibeon. The Benjaminites had taken their stand with Abner there, deployed strategically on a hill.
26 Abner called out to Joab, “Are we going to keep killing each other till doomsday? Don’t you know that nothing but bitterness will come from this? How long before you call off your men from chasing their brothers?”
27-28 “As God lives,” said Joab, “if you hadn’t spoken up, we’d have kept up the chase until morning!” Then he blew the ram’s horn trumpet and the whole army of Judah stopped in its tracks. They quit chasing Israel and called off the fighting.
29 Abner and his soldiers marched all that night up the Arabah Valley. They crossed the Jordan and, after a long morning’s march, arrived at Mahanaim.
30-32 After Joab returned from chasing Abner, he took a head count of the army. Nineteen of David’s men (besides Asahel) were missing. David’s men had cut down 360 of Abner’s men, all Benjaminites—all dead. They brought Asahel and buried him in the family tomb in Bethlehem. Joab and his men then marched all night, arriving in Hebron as the dawn broke.