New International Reader's Version

2 Samuel 2:1-32

David Is Anointed to Be King Over Judah

1After Saul and Jonathan died, David asked the Lord for advice. “Should I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked.

The Lord said, “Go up.”

David asked, “Where should I go?”

“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.

2So David went up there with his two wives. Their names were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail from Carmel. Abigail was Nabal’s widow. 3David also took his men and their families with him. They made their homes in Hebron and its towns. 4Then the men of Judah came to Hebron. There they anointed David to be king over the people of Judah.

David was told that the men from Jabesh Gilead had buried Saul’s body. 5So he sent messengers to them to speak for him. The messengers said, “You were kind to bury the body of your master Saul. May the Lord bless you for that. 6And may he now be kind and faithful to you. David will treat you well for being kind to Saul’s body. 7Now then, be strong and brave. Your master Saul is dead. And the people of Judah have anointed David to be king over them.”

The Armies of David and Saul Fight Each Other

8Abner, the son of Ner, was commander of Saul’s army. Abner had brought Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth to Mahanaim. 9There Abner made Ish-Bosheth king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel. He also made him king over Ephraim, Benjamin and other areas of Israel.

10Ish-Bosheth was 40 years old when he became king over Israel. He ruled for two years. But the people of Judah remained faithful to David. 11David was king in Hebron over the people of Judah for seven and a half years.

12Abner, the son of Ner, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. The men of Ish-Bosheth, the son of Saul, went with him. 13Joab, the son of Zeruiah, and David’s men also went out. All of them met at the pool in Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool. The other group sat on the other side.

14Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight. Let’s tell them to fight hand to hand in front of us.”

“All right. Let them do it,” Joab said.

15So the young men stood up and were counted off. There were 12 on the side of Benjamin and Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth. And there were 12 on David’s side. 16Each man grabbed one of his enemies by the head. Each one stuck his dagger into the other man’s side. And all of them fell down together and died. So that place in Gibeon was named Helkath Hazzurim.

17The fighting that day was very heavy. Abner and the Israelites lost the battle to David’s men.

18The three sons of Zeruiah were there. Their names were Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Asahel was as quick on his feet as a wild antelope. 19He chased Abner. He didn’t turn to the right or the left as he chased him. 20Abner looked behind him. He asked, “Asahel, is that you?”

“It is,” he answered.

21Then Abner said to him, “Turn to the right or the left. Fight one of the young men. Take his weapons away from him.” But Asahel wouldn’t stop chasing him.

22Again Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me! If you don’t, I’ll strike you down. Then how could I look your brother Joab in the face?”

23But Asahel refused to give up the chase. So Abner drove the dull end of his spear into Asahel’s stomach. The spear came out through his back. He fell and died right there on the spot. Every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.

24But Joab and Abishai chased Abner. As the sun was going down, they came to the hill of Ammah. It was near Giah on the way to the dry and empty land close to Gibeon. 25The men of Benjamin gathered in a group around Abner. They took their stand on top of a hill.

26Abner called out to Joab, “Do you want our swords to keep on killing us off? Don’t you know that all this fighting will end in bitter feelings? How long will it be before you order your men to stop chasing their fellow Israelites?”

27Joab answered, “It’s a good thing you spoke up. If you hadn’t, the men would have kept on chasing them until morning. And that’s just as sure as God is alive.”

28So Joab blew a trumpet. All the troops stopped. They didn’t chase Israel anymore. They didn’t fight anymore either.

29All that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah Valley. They went across the Jordan River. All morning long they kept on going. Finally, they came to Mahanaim.

30Then Joab stopped chasing Abner. He gathered together the whole army. Besides Asahel, only 19 of David’s men were missing. 31But David’s men had killed 360 men from Benjamin who were with Abner. 32They got Asahel’s body and buried it in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night. They arrived at Hebron at sunrise.

King James Version

2 Samuel 2:1-32

1And it came to pass after this, that David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron. 2So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal’s wife the Carmelite. 3And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. 4And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabesh-gilead were they that buried Saul.

5¶ And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the LORD, that ye have shewed this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him. 6And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing. 7Therefore now let your hands be strengthened, and be ye valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.2.7 be ye…: Heb. be ye the sons of valour

8¶ But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim;2.8 Saul’s host: Heb. the host which was Saul’s2.8 Ish-bosheth: or, Esh-baal 9And made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel. 10Ish-bosheth Saul’s son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. 11And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.2.11 time: Heb. number of days

12¶ And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out, and met together by the pool of Gibeon: and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.2.13 together: Heb. them together 14And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise. 15Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which pertained to Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side; so they fell down together: wherefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon.2.16 Helkath-hazzurim: that is, The field of strong men 17And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.

18¶ And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe.2.18 of foot: Heb. of his feet2.18 as a wild…: Heb. as one of the roes that is in the field 19And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner.2.19 from…: Heb. from after Abner 20Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Art thou Asahel? And he answered, I am. 21And Abner said to him, Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take thee his armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from following of him.2.21 armour: or, spoil 22And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me: wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? how then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother? 23Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place: and it came to pass, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still. 24Joab also and Abishai pursued after Abner: and the sun went down when they were come to the hill of Ammah, that lieth before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.

25¶ And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill. 26Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren? 27And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother.2.27 in the…: Heb. from the morning2.27 gone…: or, gone away 28So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more. 29And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and they came to Mahanaim. 30And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel. 31But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner’s men, so that three hundred and threescore men died.

32¶ And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Beth-lehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.