2 Samuel 2

The people anoint David as king over Israel

1 After some time, David asked the LORD, ‘Should I go up to any town in Judah?’

The LORD said to him, ‘Go up.’

David asked, ‘Where should I go?’

‘To Hebron’, the LORD replied.

2 So David went up there with his two wives. They were Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, Nabal's widow from Carmel. 3 David also brought with him the men who were with him. Each man took his family. They all stayed in Hebron and in its towns. 4 Then the men in the tribe called Judah came to Hebron. And they anointed David as king over Judah. People told David that the men from Jabesh Gilead had buried Saul's dead body.

David says that the men from Jabesh Gilead are good men

5 So David sent men to them with a message. The message was, ‘You were kind to Saul your master; you buried his dead body. So I pray that the LORD will bless you. 6 I pray that the LORD will be kind to you. I pray that he will help you. I too will be kind to you because you have done that. 7 Now be strong and brave because Saul, your master, is dead. And the people of Judah have chosen me as king over them.’

David and his men fight with Saul's descendants

8 Abner, son of Ner, was the ruler of Saul's army. He took Ish-Bosheth, Saul's son, to Mahanaim. 9 He caused him to rule over Gilead, Asher and Jezreel. He also caused him to rule over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.

10 Ish-Bosheth, Saul's son, was 40 years old when he became king over Israel. And he ruled Israel for two years. But Judah's people let David rule over them. 11 David remained in Hebron as king of Judah for 7 years and 6 months.

12 Then Abner, son of Ner, left Mahanaim and he brought the servants of Saul's son, Ish-Bosheth to Gibeon. 13 Joab, Zeruiah's son, went with David's men to meet them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat on one side of the pool while the other group sat on the other side.

14 Then Abner spoke to Joab. ‘I think that some of the young men should stand up. And they should fight in front of us’, he said.

‘Yes, they can do that’, said Joab.

15 So they stood up. They counted 12 men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth, Saul's son, and 12 men for David. 16 Then each man took hold of his enemy's head and pushed his sharp knife into his side. So they fell down together. So people called that place, which is in Gibeon, Helkath Hazzurim.

2:16Helkath Hazzurim means ‘the field of sharp knives’.

17 They fought very strongly on that day. And David's men won the fight with Abner's men from Israel.

Abner kills Asahel

18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there. They were Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Asahel could run as fast as the fastest wild animal. 19 He ran after Abner and he did not turn away from him. He did not turn to the right or to the left. 20 Abner looked behind him and he asked, ‘Is that you, Asahel?’

‘It is’, he answered.

21 Then Abner said to him, ‘Turn away to the right or to the left and follow a young man. If you do that, you can take his arms.’ But Asahel would not stop running after Abner.

22 Abner spoke again. ‘Stop running after me. I do not want to knock you down to the ground and kill you. I would never be able to look at your brother Joab again!’

23 But Asahel refused to stop following Abner. So Abner pushed the end of his spear into Asahel's stomach and the spear came out of his back. He fell and he died there in that place. When each man came to that place, he stopped.

The end of the fight

24 But Joab and Abishai continued to run after Abner. They came to the hill of Ammah near Giah when it was almost the end of the day. That was near to the desert of Gibeon. 25 Then Benjamin's men came to be with Abner and they all became one group. And they stood together at the top of a hill.

26 Abner shouted to Joab, ‘We might continue to kill like this for all time! The end of this will only make us all very sad. Surely you should tell your men that they must stop killing their brothers now.’

27 ‘God lives!’ Joab replied. ‘If you had not spoken, our men would have stopped following yours in the morning.’

28 So Joab caused the trumpet to make a loud noise. Then all his men stopped where they were. They did not run after Israel or fight after that.

29 Abner and his men marched all that night through the Arabah and they crossed the River Jordan. They continued to march through the valley to Mahanaim.

2:29Arabah means a very flat place.

30 Then Joab returned and he brought all his men together. And Asahel and 19 other servants of David were not there because they were dead. 31 But David's men had killed 360 men from Benjamin who were with Abner. 32 They took Asahel's dead body and they buried it next to his father's dead body at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and they arrived at Hebron at sunrise.