New Heart English Bible
1It happened after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?" The LORD said to him, "Go up." David said, "Where shall I go up?" He said, "To Hebron." 2So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 3David brought up his men who were with him, every man with his household. They lived in the cities of Hebron. 4The men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. They told David, saying, "The men of Jabesh Gilead were those who buried Saul." 5David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and said to them, "Blessed are you by the LORD, that you have shown this kindness to your lord, even to Saul, and have buried him. 6Now may the LORD show loving kindness and truth to you. I also will reward you for this kindness, because you have done this thing. 7Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them."
8Now Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, had taken Ishbaal the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim; 9and he made him king over Gilead, and over the Geshurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel. 10Ishbaal, Saul's son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. 11The time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
12Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbaal the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out, and met them by the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. 14Abner said to Joab, "Please let the young men arise and play before us." Joab said, "Let them arise." 15Then they arose and went over by number: twelve of the sons of Benjamin of Ishbaal the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16They each caught his opponent by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow's side; so they fell down together: therefore that place was called Helkath Hazzurim, which is in Gibeon. 17The battle was very severe that day: and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.
18The three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild gazelle. 19Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he did not turn to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. 20Then Abner looked behind him, and said, "Is it you, Asahel?" He answered, "It is I." 21Abner said to him, "Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, and grab one of the young men, and take his armor." But Asahel would not turn aside from following him. 22Abner 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?" 23However he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner with the back end of the spear struck him in the body, so that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place. It happened, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still.
24But Joab and Abishai pursued after Abner: and the sun went down when they had come to the hill of Ammah, that lies before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon. 25The sons of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one band, and stood on the top of a hill. 26Then Abner called to Joab, and said, "Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitterness in the latter end? How long shall it be then, before you ask the people to return from following their brothers?" 27Joab said, "As the LORD lives, if you had not spoken, surely then in the morning the people would have gone away, and not each followed his brother." 28So Joab blew the trumpet; and all the people stopped, and no longer chased after Israel, and they no longer fought. 29Abner and his men went all that night through the Arabah; and they passed over the Jordan, and marched the whole morning, and came to Mahanaim.
30Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David's servants nineteen men and Asahel. 31But the servants of David had struck of the children of Benjamin, from the men of Abner, three hundred and sixty men who died. 32They took up Asahel, and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was in Bethlehem. Joab and his men went all night, and the day broke on them at Hebron.