1. And it came to pass after this, David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the LORD said to him, “Go up!” And David said, “Where shall I go?” And He said, “To Hebron.”
2. And David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s former wife.
3. And David brought up his men with him, each man with his household. And they lived in the cities of Hebron.
4. And the men of Judah came, and they anointed David king over the house of Judah there. And they told David, saying, “The men of Jabesh Gilead buried Saul.”
5. And David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead. And he said to them, “Blessed are you of the LORD that you have shown this kindness to your lord, to Saul, and have buried him.
6. And now may the LORD do kindness and truth to you. And I will also do good to you because you have done this thing.
7. And now let your hands be strengthened and be brave, for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”
8. But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim.
9. And he made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.
10. Ishbosheth, 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.
11. And it came to pass, the number of days that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
12. And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
13. And Joab, the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met by the pool of Gibeon and sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.
14. And Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men now arise and compete before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.”
15. And they arose and went over by number, twelve for Benjamin and for Ishbosheth the son of Saul; and twelve of the servants of David.
16. And each one lay hold on the head of his opponent and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side, so that they fell together. And one called that place The Field of Swords, which is in Gibeon.
17. And there was a very grievous battle that day. And Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.
18. And there were three sons of Zeruiah there: Joab and Abishai and Asahel. And
Asahel was swift with his feet, like one of the gazelles in the field.
19. And Asahel ran after Abner, and in going he did not turn to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner.
20. And Abner looked behind him and said, “Are you Asahel?” And he answered, “I am.”
21. And Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, and lay hold on one of the young men, and take for yourself.” But Asahel would not turn aside from following him.
22. And Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then should I hold up my face to Joab your brother?”
23. However he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner struck him with the blunt end of the spear in the belly, and the spear came out behind him. And he fell down there, and died in the same place. And it came to pass that everyone who came to the place where Asahel fell down and died, stood still.
24. And Joab and Abishai ran after Abner. And the sun went down when they had come to the hill of Ammah, which lies before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.
25. And the sons of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of a hill.
26. Then Abner called to Joab and said, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitter in the end? How long shall it be then before you command the people to return from chasing their brothers?”
27. And Joab said, “As God lives, unless you had spoken, the people would have continued pursuing their brothers until morning.”
28. And Joab blew a ram’s horn, and all the people stood still and did not pursue after Israel any more, nor did they fight any more.
29. And Abner and his men went all that night through the plain and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron and came to Mahanaim.
30. And Joab returned from following Abner. And when he had gathered all the people together, nineteen men and Asahel were missing from David’s servants.
31. But the servants of David had stricken three hundred and sixty men of Benjamin and of Abner’s men who died.
32. And they took up Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at the break of day.
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