2 Samuel 3-5 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
3 This battle was the beginning of a long war between the followers of Saul and the followers of David. Saul’s power grew weaker, but David’s grew stronger.
David’s Sons Born in Hebron
2-5 Several of David’s sons were born while he was living in Hebron. His oldest son was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel. David’s second son was Chileab, whose mother was Abigail, who had been married to Nabal from Carmel. Absalom was the third. His mother was Maacah, the daughter of King Talmai of Geshur. The fourth was Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith. The fifth was Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital. The sixth was Ithream, whose mother was Eglah, another one of David’s wives.
Abner Decides To Help David
6 As the war went on between the families of David and Saul, Abner was gaining more power than ever in Saul’s family. 7 He had even slept with a wife[a] of Saul by the name of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah. But Saul’s son Ishbosheth[b] told Abner, “You shouldn’t have slept with one of my father’s wives!”
8 Abner was very angry at what Ishbosheth had said, and he told Ishbosheth:
Am I some kind of worthless dog from Judah? I’ve always been loyal to your father’s family and to his relatives and friends. I haven’t turned you over to David. And yet you talk to me as if I’ve committed a crime with this woman.
9 I ask God to punish me if I don’t help David get what the Lord promised him! 10 God said that he wouldn’t let anyone in Saul’s family ever be king again and that David would be king instead. He also said that David would rule both Israel and Judah, all the way from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.[c]
11 Ishbosheth was so afraid of Abner that he could not even answer.
12 Abner sent some of his men to David with this message: “You should be the ruler of the whole nation.[d] If you make an agreement with me, I will persuade everyone in Israel to make you their king.”
13 David sent this message back: “Good! I’ll make an agreement with you. But before I will even talk with you about it, you must get Saul’s daughter Michal back for me.”
14 David sent a few of his officials to Ishbosheth to give him this message: “Give me back my wife Michal! I killed a hundred Philistines so I could marry her.”[e]
15 Ishbosheth sent some of his men to take Michal away from her new husband, Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 Paltiel followed Michal and the men all the way to Bahurim, crying as he walked. But he went back home after Abner ordered him to leave.
17 Abner talked with the leaders of the tribes of Israel and told them, “You’ve wanted to make David your king for a long time now. 18 So do it! After all, God said he would use his servant David to rescue his people Israel from their enemies, especially from the Philistines.”
19 Finally, Abner talked with the tribe of Benjamin. Then he left for Hebron to tell David everything that the tribe of Benjamin and the rest of the people of Israel wanted to do. 20 Abner took twenty soldiers with him, and when they got to Hebron, David gave a big feast for them.
21 After the feast, Abner said, “Your Majesty, let me leave now and bring Israel here to make an agreement with you. You’ll be king of the whole nation, just as you’ve been wanting.”
David told Abner he could leave, and he left without causing any trouble.
Joab Kills Abner
22 Soon after Abner had left Hebron, Joab and some of David’s soldiers came back, bringing a lot of things they had taken from an enemy village. 23 Right after they arrived, someone told Joab, “Abner visited the king, and the king let him go. Abner even left without causing any trouble.”
24 Joab went to David and said, “What have you done? Abner came to you, and you let him go. Now he’s long gone! 25 You know Abner—he came to trick you. He wants to find out how strong your army is and to know everything you’re doing.”
26 Joab left David, then he sent some messengers to catch up with Abner. They brought him back from the well at Sirah,[f] but David did not know anything about it. 27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab pretended he wanted to talk privately with him. So he took Abner into one of the small rooms that were part of the town gate and stabbed him in the stomach. Joab killed him because Abner had killed Joab’s brother Asahel.
28 David heard how Joab had killed Abner, and he said, “I swear to the Lord that I am completely innocent of Abner’s death! 29 Joab and his family are the guilty ones. I pray that Joab’s family will always be sick with sores and other skin diseases. May they all be cowards,[g] and may they die in war or starve to death.”
30 Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.
31 David told Joab and everyone with him, “Show your sorrow by tearing your clothes and wearing sackcloth![h] Walk in front of Abner’s body and cry!”
David walked behind the stretcher on which Abner’s body was being carried. 32 Abner was buried in Hebron, while David and everyone else stood at the tomb and cried loudly. 33 Then the king sang a funeral song about Abner:
Abner, why should you
Everyone started crying again. 35 Then they brought some food to David and told him he would feel better if he had something to eat. It was still daytime, and David said, “I swear to God that I’ll not take a bite of bread or anything else until sunset!”
36 Everyone noticed what David did, and they liked it, just as they always liked what he did. 37 Now the people of Judah and Israel were certain that David had nothing to do with killing Abner.
38 David said to his officials, “Don’t you realize that today one of Israel’s great leaders has died? 39 I am the chosen king, but Joab and Abishai have more power than I do. So God will have to pay them back[j] for the evil thing they did.”
Ishbosheth Is Killed
4 Ishbosheth[k] felt like giving up after he heard that Abner had died in Hebron. Everyone in Israel was terrified.
2 Ishbosheth had put the two brothers Baanah and Rechab in charge of the soldiers who raided enemy villages. Rimmon was their father, and they were from the town of Beeroth, which belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. 3 The people who used to live in Beeroth had run away to Gittaim, and they still live[l] there.
4 Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth,[m] who had not been able to walk since he was five years old. It happened when someone from Jezreel told his nurse that Saul and Jonathan had died.[n] She hurried off with the boy in her arms, but he fell and injured his legs.
5 One day about noon, Rechab and Baanah went to Ishbosheth’s house. It was a hot day, and he was resting 6-7 in his bedroom. The two brothers went into the house, pretending to get some flour. But once they were inside, they stabbed Ishbosheth in the stomach and killed him. Then they cut off his head and took it with them.
Rechab and Baanah walked through the Jordan River valley all night long. 8 Finally they turned west and went to Hebron. They went in to see David and told him, “Your Majesty, here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of your enemy Saul who tried to kill you! The Lord has let you get even with Saul and his family.”
9 David answered:
I swear that only the Lord rescues me when I’m in trouble! 10 When a man came to Ziklag and told me that Saul was dead, he thought he deserved a reward for bringing good news. But I grabbed him and killed him.
11 You evil men have done something much worse than he did. You’ve killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed. I’ll make you pay for that. I’ll wipe you from the face of the earth!
12 Then David said to his troops, “Kill these two brothers! Cut off their hands and feet and hang their bodies by the pool in Hebron. But bury Ishbosheth’s head in Abner’s tomb near Hebron.” And they did.
David Becomes King of Israel
5 Israel’s leaders met with David at Hebron and said, “We are your relatives. 2 Even when Saul was king, you led our nation in battle. And the Lord promised that someday you would rule Israel and take care of us like a shepherd.”
3 During the meeting, David made an agreement with the leaders and asked the Lord to be their witness. Then the leaders poured olive oil on David’s head to show that he was now the king of Israel.
4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he ruled for forty years. 5 He lived in Hebron for the first seven and a half years and ruled only Judah. Then he moved to Jerusalem, where he ruled both Israel and Judah for thirty-three years.
How David Captured Jerusalem
6 The Jebusites lived in Jerusalem, and David led his army there to attack them. The Jebusites did not think he could get in, so they told him, “You can’t get in here! We could run you off, even if we couldn’t see or walk!”
7-9 David told his troops, “You will have to go up through the water tunnel to get those Jebusites. I hate people like them who can’t walk or see.”[o]
That’s why there is still a rule that says, “Only people who can walk and see are allowed in the temple.”[p]
David captured the fortress on Mount Zion, then he moved there and named it David’s City. He had the city rebuilt, starting with the landfill to the east. 10 David became a great and strong ruler, because the Lord All-Powerful was on his side.
11 King Hiram of Tyre sent some officials to David. Carpenters and stone workers came with them, and they brought cedar logs so they could build David a palace.
12 David knew that the Lord had made him king of Israel and that he had made him a powerful ruler for the good of his people.
David’s Sons Born in Jerusalem
13 After David left Hebron and moved to Jerusalem, he married many women[q] from Jerusalem,[r] and he had a lot of children. 14 His sons who were born there were Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada,[s] and Eliphelet.
David Fights the Philistines
17 The Philistines heard that David was now king of Israel, and they came into the hill country to try and capture him. But David found out and went into his fortress.[t] 18 So the Philistines camped in Rephaim Valley.[u]
19 David asked the Lord, “Should I attack the Philistines? Will you let me win?”
The Lord told David, “Attack! I will let you win.”
20 David attacked the Philistines and defeated them. Then he said, “I watched the Lord break through my enemies like a mighty flood.” So he named the place “The Lord Broke Through. “[v] 21 David and his troops also carried away the idols that the Philistines had left behind.
22 Some time later, the Philistines came back into the hill country and camped in Rephaim Valley. 23 David asked the Lord what he should do, and the Lord answered:
Don’t attack them from the front. Circle around behind and attack from among the balsam[w] trees. 24 Wait until you hear a sound like troops marching through the tops of the trees. Then attack quickly! That sound will mean I have marched out ahead of you to fight the Philistine army.
25 David obeyed the Lord and defeated the Philistines. He even chased them all the way from Geba to the entrance to Gezer.
Luke 14:25-35 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Being a Disciple
25 Large crowds were walking along with Jesus, when he turned and said:
26 You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life.
27 You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me.
28 Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it? 29 Otherwise, you will start building the tower, but not be able to finish. Then everyone who sees what is happening will laugh at you. 30 They will say, “You started building, but could not finish the job.”
31 What will a king do if he has only ten thousand soldiers to defend himself against a king who is about to attack him with twenty thousand soldiers? Before he goes out to battle, won’t he first sit down and decide if he can win? 32 If he thinks he won’t be able to defend himself, he will send messengers and ask for peace while the other king is still a long way off. 33 So then, you cannot be my disciple unless you give away everything you own.
Salt and Light
34 Salt is good, but if it no longer tastes like salt, how can it be made to taste salty again? 35 It is no longer good for the soil or even for the manure pile. People simply throw it out. If you have ears, pay attention!
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