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2 Samuel 2:12-3:39; John 13:1-30; Psalms 119:1-16; Proverbs 15:29-30 (Good News Translation)

2 Samuel 2:12-3:39

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[a] 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.

The fighting between the forces supporting Saul's family and those supporting David went on for a long time. As David became stronger and stronger, his opponents became weaker and weaker.

David's Sons

The following six sons, in order of their birth, were born to David at Hebron: Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam, from Jezreel; Chileab, whose mother was Abigail, Nabal's widow, from Carmel; Absalom, whose mother was Maacah, the daughter of King Talmai of Geshur; Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith; Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital; Ithream, whose mother was Eglah. All of these sons were born in Hebron.

Abner Joins David

As the fighting continued between David's forces and the forces loyal to Saul's family, Abner became more and more powerful among Saul's followers.

One day Ishbosheth son of Saul accused Abner of sleeping with Saul's concubine Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. This made Abner furious. “Do you think that I would betray Saul? Do you really think I'm serving Judah?” he exclaimed. “From the very first I have been loyal to the cause of your father Saul, his brothers, and his friends, and I have kept you from being defeated by David; yet today you find fault with me about a woman! 9-10 The Lord promised David that he would take the kingdom away from Saul and his descendants and would make David king of both Israel and Judah, from one end of the country to the other. Now may God strike me dead if I don't make this come true!” 11 Ishbosheth was so afraid of Abner that he could not say a word.

12 Abner sent messengers to David, who at that time was at Hebron,[b] to say, “Who is going to rule this land? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you win all Israel over to your side.”

13 “Good!” David answered. “I will make an agreement with you on one condition: you must bring Saul's daughter Michal to me when you come to see me.” 14 And David also sent messengers to Ishbosheth to say, “Give me back my wife Michal. I paid a hundred Philistine foreskins in order to marry her.” 15 So Ishbosheth had her taken from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. 16 Paltiel followed her all the way to the town of Bahurim, crying as he went. But when Abner said, “Go back home,” he did.

17 Abner went to the leaders of Israel and said to them, “For a long time you have wanted David to be your king. 18 Now here is your chance. Remember that the Lord has said, ‘I will use my servant David to rescue my people Israel from the Philistines and from all their other enemies.’” 19 Abner spoke also to the people of the tribe of Benjamin and then went to Hebron to tell David what the people of Benjamin and of Israel had agreed to do.

20 When Abner came to David at Hebron with twenty men, David gave a feast for them. 21 Abner told David, “I will go now and win all Israel over to Your Majesty. They will accept you as king, and then you will get what you have wanted and will rule over the whole land.” David gave Abner a guarantee of safety and sent him on his way.

Abner Is Murdered

22 Later on Joab and David's other officials returned from a raid, bringing a large amount of loot with them. Abner, however, was no longer there at Hebron with David, because David had sent him away with a guarantee of safety. 23 When Joab and his men arrived, he was told that Abner had come to King David and had been sent away with a guarantee of safety. 24 So Joab went to the king and said to him, “What have you done? Abner came to you—why did you let him go like that? 25 He came here to deceive you and to find out everything you do and everywhere you go. Surely you know that!”

26 After leaving David, Joab sent messengers to get Abner, and they brought him back from Sirah Well; but David knew nothing about it. 27 When Abner arrived in Hebron, Joab took him aside at the gate, as though he wanted to speak privately with him, and there he stabbed him in the stomach. And so Abner was murdered because he had killed Joab's brother Asahel. 28 When David heard the news, he said, “The Lord knows that my subjects and I are completely innocent of the murder of Abner. 29 May the punishment for it fall on Joab and all his family! In every generation may there be some man in his family who has gonorrhea or a dreaded skin disease or is fit only to do a woman's work or is killed in battle or doesn't have enough to eat!” 30 So Joab and his brother Abishai took revenge on Abner for killing their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.

Abner Is Buried

31 Then David ordered Joab and his men to tear their clothes, wear sackcloth, and mourn for Abner. And at the funeral King David himself walked behind the coffin. 32 Abner was buried at Hebron, and the king wept aloud at the grave, and so did all the people. 33 David sang this lament for Abner:

“Why did Abner have to die like a fool?
34 His hands were not tied,
And his feet were not bound;
He died like someone killed by criminals!”

And the people wept for him again.

35 All day long the people tried to get David to eat something, but he made a solemn promise, “May God strike me dead if I eat anything before the day is over!” 36 They took note of this and were pleased. Indeed, everything the king did pleased the people. 37 All of David's people and all the people in Israel understood that the king had no part in the murder of Abner. 38 The king said to his officials, “Don't you realize that this day a great leader in Israel has died? 39 Even though I am the king chosen by God, I feel weak today. These sons of Zeruiah are too violent for me. May the Lord punish these criminals as they deserve!”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Samuel 2:23 Probable text with a backward thrust; Hebrew unclear.
  2. 2 Samuel 3:12 One ancient translation at Hebron; Hebrew where he (Abner) was.
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John 13:1-30

Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet

13 It was now the day before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. He had always loved those in the world who were his own, and he loved them to the very end.

Jesus and his disciples were at supper. The Devil had already put into the heart of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, the thought of betraying Jesus.[a] Jesus knew that the Father had given him complete power; he knew that he had come from God and was going to God. So he rose from the table, took off his outer garment, and tied a towel around his waist. Then he poured some water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Are you going to wash my feet, Lord?”

Jesus answered him, “You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later.”

Peter declared, “Never at any time will you wash my feet!”

“If I do not wash your feet,” Jesus answered, “you will no longer be my disciple.”

Simon Peter answered, “Lord, do not wash only my feet, then! Wash my hands and head, too!”

10 Jesus said, “Those who have taken a bath are completely clean and do not have to wash themselves, except for their feet.[b] All of you are clean—all except one.” (11 Jesus already knew who was going to betray him; that is why he said, “All of you, except one, are clean.”)

12 After Jesus had washed their feet, he put his outer garment back on and returned to his place at the table. “Do you understand what I have just done to you?” he asked. 13 “You call me Teacher and Lord, and it is right that you do so, because that is what I am. 14 I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another's feet. 15 I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you. 16 I am telling you the truth: no slaves are greater than their master, and no messengers are greater than the one who sent them. 17 Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice!

18 “I am not talking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the scripture must come true that says, ‘The man who shared my food turned against me.’ 19 I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe that ‘I Am Who I Am.’ 20 I am telling you the truth: whoever receives anyone I send receives me also; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

21 After Jesus had said this, he was deeply troubled and declared openly, “I am telling you the truth: one of you is going to betray me.”

22 The disciples looked at one another, completely puzzled about whom he meant. 23 One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was sitting next to Jesus. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him and said, “Ask him whom he is talking about.”

25 So that disciple moved closer to Jesus' side and asked, “Who is it, Lord?”

26 Jesus answered, “I will dip some bread in the sauce and give it to him; he is the man.” So he took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Hurry and do what you must!” 28 None of the others at the table understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas was in charge of the money bag, some of the disciples thought that Jesus had told him to go and buy what they needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor.

30 Judas accepted the bread and went out at once. It was night.

Footnotes:

  1. John 13:2 The Devil … betraying Jesus; or The Devil had already decided that Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, would betray Jesus.
  2. John 13:10 Some manuscripts do not have except for their feet.
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Psalm 119:1-16

The Law of the Lord

119 Happy are those whose lives are faultless,
    who live according to the law of the Lord.
Happy are those who follow his commands,
    who obey him with all their heart.
They never do wrong;
    they walk in the Lord's ways.
Lord, you have given us your laws
    and told us to obey them faithfully.
How I hope that I shall be faithful
    in keeping your instructions!
If I pay attention to all your commands,
    then I will not be put to shame.
As I learn your righteous judgments,
    I will praise you with a pure heart.
I will obey your laws;
    never abandon me!

Obedience to the Law of the Lord

How can young people keep their lives pure?
    By obeying your commands.
10 With all my heart I try to serve you;
    keep me from disobeying your commandments.
11 I keep your law in my heart,
    so that I will not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O Lord;
    teach me your ways.
13 I will repeat aloud
    all the laws you have given.
14 I delight in following your commands
    more than in having great wealth.
15 I study your instructions;
    I examine your teachings.
16 I take pleasure in your laws;
    your commands I will not forget.

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Proverbs 15:29-30

29 When good people pray, the Lord listens, but he ignores those who are evil.

30 Smiling faces make you happy, and good news makes you feel better.

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