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Abner Defects to David

There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.

Sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam of Jezreel;(A) his second was Chileab, of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; the third was Absalom son of Maacah, daughter of King Talmai of Geshur;(B) the fourth was Adonijah son of Haggith; the fifth was Shephatiah son of Abital;(C) and the sixth was Ithream, of David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.

While there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul. Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And Ishbaal[a] said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?”(D) The words of Ishbaal[b] made Abner very angry; he said, “Am I a dog’s head for Judah? Today I keep showing loyalty to the house of your father Saul, to his brothers, and to his friends and have not given you into the hand of David, yet you charge me now with a crime concerning this woman.(E) So may God do to Abner and so may he add to it! For just what the Lord has sworn to David, that will I accomplish for him:(F) 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beer-sheba.”(G) 11 And Ishbaal[c] could not answer Abner another word because he feared him.

12 Abner sent messengers to David where he was,[d] saying, “To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and I will give you my support to bring all Israel over to you.” 13 He said, “Good; I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require of you: you shall never appear in my presence unless you bring Saul’s daughter Michal when you come to see me.”(H) 14 Then David sent messengers to Saul’s son Ishbaal,[e] saying, “Give me my wife Michal, to whom I became engaged at the price of one hundred foreskins of the Philistines.”(I) 15 Ishbaal[f] sent and took her from her husband Paltiel the son of Laish.(J) 16 But her husband went with her, weeping as he walked behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go back home!” So he went back.(K)

17 Abner sent word to the elders of Israel, saying, “For some time past you have been seeking David as king over you. 18 Now then bring it about, for the Lord has promised David: Through my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from all their enemies.”(L) 19 Abner also spoke directly to the Benjaminites; then Abner went to tell David at Hebron all that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin were ready to do.(M)

20 When Abner came with twenty men to David at Hebron, David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 Abner said to David, “Let me go and rally all Israel to my lord the king, in order that they may make a covenant with you and that you may reign over all that your heart desires.” So David dismissed Abner, and he went away in peace.(N)

Abner Is Killed by Joab

22 Just then the servants of David arrived with Joab from a raid, bringing much spoil with them. But Abner was not with David at Hebron, for David[g] had dismissed him, and he had gone away in peace.(O) 23 When Joab and all the army that was with him came, it was told to Joab, “Abner son of Ner came to the king, and he has dismissed him, and he has gone away in peace.” 24 Then Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Abner came to you; why did you dismiss him, so that he got away? 25 You know that Abner son of Ner came to deceive you and to learn your comings and goings and to learn all that you are doing.”(P)

26 When Joab came out from David’s presence, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern of Sirah, but David did not know about it. 27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gateway to speak with him privately, and there he stabbed him in the stomach. So he died on account of the blood of Asahel, Joab’s[h] brother.(Q) 28 Afterward, when David heard of it, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever guiltless before the Lord for the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May the bloodguilt fall on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house, and may the house of Joab never be without one who has a discharge, or who has a defiling skin disease, or who holds a spindle, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks food!”(R) 30 So Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.(S)

31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn over Abner.” And King David followed the bier.(T) 32 They buried Abner at Hebron. The king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33 The king lamented for Abner, saying,

“Should Abner die as a fool dies?(U)
34 Your hands were not bound;
    your feet were not fettered;
as one falls before the wicked
    you have fallen.”

And all the people wept over him again. 35 Then all the people came to persuade David to eat something while it was still day, but David swore, saying, “So may God do to me and more, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down!”(V) 36 All the people took notice of it, and it pleased them, just as everything the king did pleased all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that the king had no part in the killing of Abner son of Ner. 38 And the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 Today I am powerless, even though anointed king; these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too violent for me. The Lord pay back the one who does wickedly in accordance with his wickedness!”(W)

Ishbaal Assassinated

When Saul’s son Ishbaal[i] heard that Abner had died at Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed.(X) Saul’s son had two captains of raiding bands; the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other was Rechab. They were sons of Rimmon, a Benjaminite from Beeroth, for Beeroth is considered to belong to Benjamin.(Y) (Now the people of Beeroth had fled to Gittaim and are there as resident aliens to this day.)(Z)

Saul’s son Jonathan had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, and in her haste to flee it happened that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.(AA)

Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ishbaal[j] while he was taking his noonday rest.(AB) They came inside the house as though to take wheat,[k] and they struck him in the stomach; then Rechab and his brother Baanah escaped.(AC) Now they had come into the house while he was lying on his couch in his bedchamber; they attacked him, killed him, and beheaded him. Then they took his head and traveled by way of the Arabah all night long. They brought the head of Ishbaal[l] to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbaal[m] son of Saul, your enemy who sought your life; the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.”(AD)

David answered Rechab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity,(AE) 10 when the one who told me, ‘See, Saul is dead,’ thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him at Ziklag—this was the reward I gave him for his news.(AF) 11 How much more, then, when wicked men have killed a righteous man on his bed in his own house! And now shall I not require his blood at your hand and destroy you from the earth?”(AG) 12 So David commanded the young men, and they killed them; they cut off their hands and feet and hung their bodies beside the pool at Hebron. But the head of Ishbaal[n] they took and buried in the tomb of Abner at Hebron.(AH)

David Anointed King of All Israel

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Look, we are your bone and flesh.(AI) For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The Lord said to you, ‘It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.’ ”(AJ) So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.(AK) David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.(AL) At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.(AM)

Jerusalem Made Capital of the United Kingdom

The king and his men marched to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here; even the blind and the lame will turn you back,” thinking, “David cannot come in here.”(AN) Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, which is now the city of David. David had said on that day, “Whoever would strike down the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack the lame and the blind, those whom David hates.”[o] Therefore it is said, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”(AO) David occupied the stronghold and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inward.(AP) 10 And David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts[p] was with him.(AQ)

11 King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar trees and carpenters and masons who built David a house.(AR) 12 David then perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

13 In Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, David took more concubines and wives, and more sons and daughters were born to David.(AS) 14 These are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon,(AT) 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.

Philistine Attack Repulsed

17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, all the Philistines went up in search of David, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold.(AU) 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the valley of Rephaim.(AV) 19 David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” The Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.”(AW) 20 So David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. He said, “The Lord has burst forth against my enemies before me like a bursting flood.” Therefore that place is called Baal-perazim.[q](AX) 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them away.(AY)

22 Once again the Philistines came up and were spread out in the valley of Rephaim.(AZ) 23 When David inquired of the Lord, he said, “You shall not go up; go around to their rear and come upon them opposite the balsam trees.(BA) 24 When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then be on the alert, for then the Lord has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.”(BB) 25 David did just as the Lord had commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines from Geba all the way to Gezer.(BC)


  1. 3.7 Heb And he
  2. 3.8 Gk: Heb Ish-bosheth
  3. 3.11 Heb And he
  4. 3.12 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  5. 3.14 Heb Ish-bosheth
  6. 3.15 Heb Ish-bosheth
  7. 3.22 Heb he
  8. 3.27 Heb his
  9. 4.1 Heb lacks Ishbaal
  10. 4.5 Heb Ish-bosheth
  11. 4.6 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  12. 4.8 Heb Ish-bosheth
  13. 4.8 Heb Ish-bosheth
  14. 4.12 Heb Ish-bosheth
  15. 5.8 Q ms Syr Tg: MT those who hate David
  16. 5.10 Q ms Gk: MT the Lord God of hosts
  17. 5.20 That is, lord of bursting forth

The Cost of Discipleship

25 Now large crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.(A) 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.(B) 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.(C)

About Salt

34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?[a](D) 35 It is useful neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; they throw it away. If you have ears to hear, then hear!”(E)

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  1. 14.34 Or how can it be used for seasoning?