2 Samuel 2

The people anoint David as king over Israel

1 After some time, David asked the Lord, ‘Should I go up to one of Judah's towns?’

The Lord said to him, ‘Go up.’

David asked, ‘Where should I go?’

The Lord replied, ‘Go to Hebron.’

2 So David went up to Hebron. He took his two wives with him. They were Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, Nabal's widow, from Carmel. 3 David also took the men who had been with him. Each man took his family. They lived in Hebron and in the towns near there. 4 Then the men of Judah's tribe came to Hebron. They anointed David as king over Judah's people.

David thanks the people of Jabesh Gilead

David heard that the people from Jabesh Gilead had buried Saul's body. 5 So David sent men to them with a message. He said, ‘You were kind to Saul, your master, when you buried his body. So I pray that the Lord will bless you. 6 I pray that the Lord will keep you safe with his faithful love. I too will do good things for you, because of what you have done. 7 Saul, your master, is dead, so you must continue to be strong and brave. The people of Judah have now chosen me to rule them as king.’

David and his men fight against Saul's army

8 Ner's son Abner was the leader of Saul's army. He took Saul's son Ish-Bosheth to Mahanaim. 9 Abner gave Ish-Bosheth authority to rule as king over Gilead, Asher and Jezreel, as well as the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin. So Ish-Bosheth became king of all Israel.

10 Saul's son, Ish-Bosheth, was 40 years old when he became king over Israel. He ruled Israel for two years. But Judah's people were faithful to David as their king. 11 David remained in Hebron as king of Judah for seven and a half years.

12 Then Ner's son, Abner, left Mahanaim and he went to Gibeon. He took with him the men who served Saul's son, Ish-Bosheth. 13 Zeruiah's son, Joab, took David's men to meet Abner's men 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 said to Joab, ‘Some young men from each of our groups should fight against each other. Then we can watch them.’ Joab agreed.

15 So they chose 12 men to fight on behalf of Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth. They also chose 12 of David's men to fight against them. 16 As they fought, each man took hold of his enemy's head. And each man pushed his sword into his enemy's side. So they all fell down together and they were dead. So people called that place ‘The Field of Swords’. It is in Gibeon.

17 That day, the two groups fought a great battle against each other. David's men won the fight against Abner and the men of Israel.

18 Zeruiah's three sons were there. They were Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Asahel could run as fast as a wild deer. 19 He chased after Abner. He ran straight after him. He did not turn to the right or to the left. 20 Abner looked behind him and he asked, ‘Is that you, Asahel?’

‘Yes, it is,’ he answered.

21 Then Abner said to him, ‘Turn away from me to the right or to the left. Then you can chase one of the young soldiers and you can take his weapons.’ But Asahel would not stop chasing after Abner.

22 Abner said again to Asahel, ‘Stop chasing after me. I do not want to knock you down to the ground. If I kill you, I will never be able to show myself to your brother Joab again!’

23 But Asahel refused to stop chasing Abner. So Abner pushed the stick of his spear behind him into Asahel's stomach. It went through his body and came out of his back. Asahel fell to the ground immediately and he died there. When anyone came to that place, they stopped to look at Asahel's body.

24 But Joab and Abishai continued to chase after Abner. When the sun was going down, they reached Ammah hill, near Giah. That was on the road to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 Then the men of Benjamin's tribe joined with Abner. They were all ready to fight as one group. They stood together at the top of a hill.

26 Abner shouted to Joab, ‘We should stop fighting. We do not want to continue killing one another for ever. In the end, we would all be very sad. Please tell your men to stop chasing after their brothers.’

27 Joab replied, ‘As surely as God lives, I agree! If you had not spoken, our men would have chased you all through the night. They would not have stopped until the morning.’

28 So Joab made a loud noise with the trumpet. Then all his men stopped where they were. They did not continue to chase after the men of Israel. They stopped fighting.

2:28They used a trumpet to tell soldiers what to do when they were fighting a battle.

29 Abner and his men marched all that night through the Jordan Valley. They crossed over the Jordan River. They continued to march all the next morning until they arrived back at Mahanaim.

30 Joab left the battle and he returned with David's men. They counted all the soldiers. Asahel had died, as well as 19 other men. 31 But David's soldiers had killed 360 men of Benjamin's tribe who were fighting in Abner's army.

32 They took Asahel's body from the place where he died. They buried him in his father's grave at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night. They arrived home at Hebron at dawn.