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Abner’s Death

22 Just then Joab and David’s ·men [L servants] came from a ·battle [raid], bringing ·many valuable things they had taken from the enemy [L much plunder/spoil with them]. David had let Abner leave in peace, so he was not with David at Hebron. 23 When Joab and all his army arrived at Hebron, the army said to Joab, “Abner son of Ner came to King David, and David let him leave in peace.”

24 Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he’s gone. 25 You know Abner son of Ner! He came to ·trick [deceive] you! He came to learn about [L your movements/coming and going and] everything you are doing!”

26 After Joab left David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the ·well [cistern] of Sirah. But David did not know this. 27 When Abner arrived at Hebron, Joab took him aside into ·the gateway [an inner chamber]. He acted as though he wanted to talk with Abner in private, but Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and Abner died. ·Abner had killed Joab’s brother Asahel, so Joab killed Abner to pay him back [L …on account of/to revenge the blood/killing of Asahel his brother].

28 Later when David heard the news, he said, “My kingdom and I are innocent before the Lord forever of the ·death [L blood] of Abner son of Ner. 29 ·Joab and his family are responsible for this. [L May it/the guilt fall on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house.] May his family always have someone with [running] sores or ·with a skin disease [T leprosy; C the term covers a variety of skin diseases that would render a person ritually unclean; Lev. 13–14]. May they always have someone who must lean on a crutch. May ·some of his family be killed in war [L someone always fall by the sword]. May they always have someone without food to eat.”

30 (Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon [2:18–32].)

31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people with Joab, “Tear your clothes and put on ·rough cloth [sackcloth; burlap; C a sign of mourning or distress]. ·Cry […lament; mourn] for Abner.” King David himself followed the ·body of Abner [L bier]. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and David and all the people cried at Abner’s grave.

33 King David ·sang [chanted; intoned; or composed] this ·funeral song [lament] for Abner.

“·Did [Should] Abner ·die [have died] like a fool?
34 ·His [L Your] hands were not tied.
    ·His [L Your] feet were not ·in chains [fettered].
·He [L You] fell ·at the hands of [as one falls before] evil men.”

Then all the people cried again for Abner. 35 They came to ·encourage [persuade] David to eat while it was still day. But he made a ·promise [vow], saying, “May God ·punish me terribly [deal severely with me] if I ·eat [taste] bread or anything else before the sun sets!”

36 All the people ·saw what happened [took note], and ·they agreed with what the king was doing [it pleased them; L it was good in their eyes], just as they ·agreed [were pleased] with everything ·he [L the king] did. 37 That day all the ·people of Judah [L people; C likely a reference to the people of Judah] and Israel understood that David ·did not order [had no part in] the killing of Abner son of Ner.

38 David said to his ·officers [L servants], “[L Don’t…?] You know that a [L prince and a] great man died today in Israel. 39 Even though I am the ·appointed [anointed] king, I ·feel empty [am weak/powerless]. These sons of Zeruiah are too ·much [strong; difficult] for me. May the Lord ·give them the punishment they should have [L repay the evildoer as his evil deserves].”

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