New American Standard Bible

2 Samuel 3

The House of David Strengthened

1Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually.

Sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; and his second, Chileab, by Abigail the [a]widow of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; and the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; and the sixth, Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David at Hebron.

Abner Joins David

It came about while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David that Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul. Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and [b]Ish-bosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?” Then Abner was very angry over the words of Ish-bosheth and said, “Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show kindness to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hands of David; and yet today you charge me with a guilt concerning the woman. May God do so to Abner, and more also, if as the Lord has sworn to David, I do not accomplish this for him, 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba.” 11 And he could no longer answer Abner a word, because he was afraid of him.

12 Then Abner sent messengers to David in his place, saying, “Whose is the land? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring all Israel over to you.” 13 He said, “Good! I will make a covenant with you, but I demand one thing of you, [c]namely, you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see [d]me.” 14 So David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, to whom I was betrothed for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband, from [e]Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 But her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her as far as Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” So he returned.

17 Now Abner had [f]consultation with the elders of Israel, saying, “In times past you were seeking for David to be king over you. 18 Now then, do it! For the Lord has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of My servant David [g]I will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke in the hearing of Benjamin; and in addition Abner went to speak in the hearing of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel and to the whole house of Benjamin.

20 Then Abner and twenty men with him came to David at Hebron. And David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 Abner said to David, “Let me arise and go and gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may be king over all that your soul desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

22 And behold, the servants of David and Joab came from a raid and brought much spoil with them; but Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the army that was with him arrived, they told Joab, saying, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has sent him away, and he has gone in peace.” 24 Then Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you; why then have you sent him away and he is already gone? 25 You know Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive you and to learn of your going out and coming in and to find out all that you are doing.”

Joab Murders Abner

26 When Joab came out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David did not know it. 27 So when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the middle of the gate to speak with him privately, and there he struck him in the belly so that he died on account of the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 Afterward when David heard it, he said, “I and my kingdom are innocent before the Lord forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 May it [h]fall on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house; and may there not fail from the house of Joab one who has a discharge, or who is a leper, or who takes hold of a distaff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks bread.” 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner because he had put their brother Asahel to death in the battle at Gibeon.

David Mourns Abner

31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes and gird on sackcloth and lament before Abner.” And King David walked behind the bier. 32 Thus they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33 The king chanted a lament for Abner and said,

“Should Abner die as a fool dies?
34 “Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put in fetters;
As one falls before the [i]wicked, you have fallen.”

And all the people wept again over him. 35 Then all the people came to [j]persuade David to eat bread while it was still day; but David vowed, saying, “May God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down.” 36 Now all the people took note of it, and it [k]pleased them, just as everything the king did [l]pleased all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the will of the king to put Abner the son of Ner to death. 38 Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too difficult for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil.”

Footnotes

  1. 2 Samuel 3:3 Lit wife
  2. 2 Samuel 3:7 So some ancient mss and versions; M.T. he
  3. 2 Samuel 3:13 Lit saying
  4. 2 Samuel 3:13 Lit my face
  5. 2 Samuel 3:15 In 1 Sam 25:44, Palti
  6. 2 Samuel 3:17 Lit a word
  7. 2 Samuel 3:18 So many ancient mss and versions; M.T. he
  8. 2 Samuel 3:29 Lit whirl
  9. 2 Samuel 3:34 Lit sons of wickedness
  10. 2 Samuel 3:35 Lit cause
  11. 2 Samuel 3:36 Lit was good in their eyes
  12. 2 Samuel 3:36 Lit was good in the eyes of all

New International Reader's Version

2 Samuel 3

1The war between Saul’s royal house and David’s royal house lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger. But the royal house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.

Sons were born to David in Hebron.

His first son was Amnon. Amnon’s mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel.

His second son was Kileab. Kileab’s mother was Abigail. She was Nabal’s widow from Carmel.

The third son was Absalom. His mother was Maakah. She was the daughter of Talmai, the king of Geshur.

The fourth son was Adonijah. His mother was Haggith.

The fifth son was Shephatiah. His mother was Abital.

The sixth son was Ithream. His mother was David’s wife Eglah.

Those sons were born to David in Hebron.

Abner Goes Over to David’s Side

The fighting continued between David’s royal house and Saul’s royal house. Abner gained more and more power in the royal house of Saul. While Saul was still alive, he had a concubine named Rizpah. She was the daughter of Aiah. Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, “Why did you sleep with my father’s concubine?”

Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said. So Abner answered, “Do you think I’m only a dog’s head? Am I on Judah’s side? To this day I’ve been faithful to the royal house of your father Saul. I’ve been faithful to his family and friends. I haven’t handed you over to David. But now you claim that I’ve sinned with this woman! I will do for David what the Lord promised him. If I don’t, may God punish me greatly. 10 I’ll take the kingdom away from Saul’s royal house. I’ll set up the throne of David’s kingdom over Israel and Judah. He will rule from Dan all the way to Beersheba.” 11 Ish-Bosheth didn’t dare to say another word to Abner. He was much too afraid of him.

12 Then Abner sent messengers to David to speak for him. They said, “Who will rule over this land? Make a covenant with me. Then I’ll help you bring all the Israelites over to your side.”

13 “Good,” said David. “I will make a covenant with you. But there’s one thing I want you to do. Bring Saul’s daughter Michal to me. Don’t come to see me unless she’s with you.” 14 Then David sent messengers to Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth. He ordered them to say, “Give me my wife Michal. She was promised to me. I paid for her the price that was demanded. I paid for her with the skins of 100 circumcised Philistines.”

15 So Ish-Bosheth gave the order. He sent men who took Michal away from her husband Paltiel. Paltiel was the son of Laish. 16 But her husband followed her to Bahurim. He was crying all the way. Then Abner said to him, “Go back home!” So he did.

17 Abner talked with the elders of Israel. He said, “For some time you have wanted to make David your king. 18 Now do it! The Lord made a promise to David. He said, ‘I will rescue my people Israel from the power of the Philistines. I will also rescue them from all their enemies. I will rescue them through my servant David.’ ”

19 Abner also spoke to the people of Benjamin in person. Then he went to Hebron to tell David everything. He told him what Israel and all the people of Benjamin wanted to do. 20 Abner had 20 men with him. They came to David at Hebron. So David prepared a feast for Abner and his men. 21 Then Abner said to David, “Let me go right now. I’ll gather together all the Israelites for you. After all, you are now my king and master. The people can make a covenant with you. Then you can rule over everyone you want to.” So David sent Abner away. And he went in peace.

Joab Murders Abner

22 Just then David’s men and Joab came back from attacking their enemies. They brought with them the large amount of goods they had taken. But Abner wasn’t with David in Hebron anymore. That’s because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived. Then he was told that Abner, the son of Ner, had come to see the king. He was told that the king had sent Abner away. He was also told that Abner had gone in peace.

24 So Joab went to the king. He said, “What have you done? Abner came to you. Why did you let him get away? Now he’s gone! 25 You know what Abner, the son of Ner, is like. He came to trick you. He wanted to watch your every move. He came to find out everything you are doing.”

26 Then Joab left David. He sent messengers to get Abner. They brought Abner back from the well of Sirah. But David didn’t know about it. 27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him to one side. He brought him into an inside room. Joab acted as if he wanted to speak to him in private. But he really wanted to get even with him. That’s because Abner had spilled the blood of Joab’s brother Asahel. So Joab stabbed Abner in the stomach, and he died.

28 Later on, David heard about it. He said, “I and the people of my kingdom aren’t guilty of spilling the blood of Abner, the son of Ner. We are free of blame forever in the sight of the Lord. 29 May Joab and his whole family line be held accountable for spilling Abner’s blood! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has an open sore or skin disease. May his family never be without someone who has to use a crutch to walk. May his family never be without someone who gets killed by a sword. And may his family never be without someone who doesn’t have enough to eat.”

30 Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner. They did it because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.

31 David spoke to Joab and all the people with him. He said, “Tear your clothes. Put on the rough clothing people wear when they’re sad. Mourn when you walk in front of Abner’s body.” King David himself walked behind it. 32 Abner’s body was buried in Hebron. The king wept out loud at Abner’s tomb. So did the rest of the people.

33 King David sang a song of sadness over Abner. He said,

“Should Abner have died as sinful people do?
34     His hands were not tied.
    His feet were not chained.
He died as if he had been killed by evil people.”

All the people mourned over Abner again.

35 Then all of them came and begged David to eat something. They wanted him to eat while it was still day. But David made a promise. He said, “I won’t taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down. If I do, may God punish me greatly!”

36 All the people heard his promise and were pleased. In fact, everything the king did pleased them. 37 So on that day all the people there and all the Israelites understood. They knew that the king didn’t have anything to do with the murder of Abner, the son of Ner.

38 The king spoke to his men. He said, “Don’t you realize that a great commander has died in Israel today? 39 I’m the anointed king. But today I’m weak. These sons of Zeruiah are too powerful for me. May the Lord pay back the one who killed Abner! May he pay him back for the evil thing he has done!”