2 Samuel 2
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David Anointed King of Judah

1Some time later, David inquired of the LORD, “Should I go up to one of the towns of Judah?”

“Go up,” the LORD answered.

Then David asked, “Where should I go?”

“To Hebron,” replied the LORD.

2So David went there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 3David also took the men who were with him, each with his household, and they settled in the towns near Hebron.

4Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.”

5So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead to tell them, “The LORD bless you, because you have shown this kindness to Saul your lord when you buried him. 6Now may the LORD show you loving devotiona and faithfulness, and I will also show you the same favor because you have done this. 7Now then, be strong and courageous, for though Saul your lord is dead, the house of Judah has anointed me as their king.”

Ish-bosheth Made King of Israel

8Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, took Saul’s son Ish-bosheth, moved him to Mahanaim, 9and made him king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin—over all Israel.

10Saul’s son Ish-bosheth was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned for two years.

The house of Judah, however, followed David. 11And the length of time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

War Between the Houses of David and Saul
(Judges 20:18-23)

12One day Abner son of Ner and the servants of Ish-bosheth son of Saul marched out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13So Joab son of Zeruiah, along with the servants of David, marched out and met them by the pool of Gibeon. And the two camps took up positions on opposite sides of the pool.

14Then Abner said to Joab, “Let us have the young men get up and compete before us.”

“Let them get up,” Joab replied.

15So they got up and were counted off—twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David. 16Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his sword into his opponent’s side, and they all fell together. So this place, which is in Gibeon, is called the Field of Swords.b

17The battle that day was intense, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the servants of David.

18The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Now Asahel was fleet of foot like a wild gazelle, 19and he chased Abner, not turning to the right or to the left in his pursuit. 20And Abner glanced back and said, “Is that you, Asahel?”

“It is,” Asahel replied.

21So Abner told him, “Turn to your right or to your left, seize one of the young men, and take his equipment for yourself.”

But Asahel would not stop chasing him.

22Once again, Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How could I show my face to your brother Joab?”

23But Asahel refused to turn away; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into his stomach, and it came out his back, and he fell dead on the spot. And every man paused when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died. 24But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. By sunset, they had gone as far as the hill of Ammah opposite Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon.

25The Benjamites rallied to Abner, formed a single unit, and took their stand atop a hill. 26Then Abner called out to Joab: “Must the sword devour forever? Do you not realize that this will only end in bitterness? How long before you tell the troops to stop pursuing their brothers?”

27“As surely as God lives,” Joab replied, “if you had not spoken up, the troops would have continued pursuing their brothers until morning.”

28So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the troops stopped; they no longer pursued Israel or continued to fight. 29And all that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, marched all morning,c and arrived at Mahanaim.

30When Joab returned from pursuing Abner, he gathered all the troops.

In addition to Asahel, nineteen of David’s servants were missing, 31but they had struck down 360 men of Benjamin and Abner. 32Later, they took Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb in Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and reached Hebron at daybreak.

Footnotes:

6 a Forms of the Hebrew chesed are translated here and in most cases throughout the Scriptures as loving devotion; the range of meaning includes love, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and mercy, as well as loyalty to a covenant
16 b Hebrew Helkath-hazzurim
29 c See LXX; Hebrew marched all through Bithron

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