1 And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And LORD said to him, Go up. And David said, Where shall I go up? And he said, To Hebron.
2 So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 3 And David brought up his men who were with him, every man with his household, and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. 4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, The men of Jabesh-gilead were those who buried Saul.
5 And David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said to them, Blessed be ye of LORD, that ye have shown this kindness to your lord, even to Saul, and have buried him. 6 And now LORD show loving kindness and truth to you. And I also will reward you this kindness because ye have done this thing. 7 Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be ye valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.
8 Now Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's army, had taken Ish-bosheth 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 Ish-bosheth, 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. 11 And the time 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 Ish-bosheth 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 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.
14 And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men, I pray thee, arise and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise.
15 Then they arose and went over by number: twelve for Benjamin, and for Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16 And each man caught his fellow 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.
17 And the battle was very severe that day. And Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David. 18 And the three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel. And Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe. 19 And Asahel pursued after Abner, and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Is it thou, Asahel? And he answered, It is I.
21 And Abner said to him, Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay hold on one of the young men, and take his armor. But Asahel would not turn aside from following him. 22 And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me. Why should I smite thee to the ground? How then would I hold up my face to Joab thy brother?
23 However he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him in the body, so that the spear came out behind him. And he fell down there, and died in the same place. And it came to pass, that as many 24 But Joab and Abishai pursued after Abner. And the sun went down when they came to the hill of Ammah that lays before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.
25 And the sons of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one band, and stood on the top of a hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? Know thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? How long shall it be then, before thou bid the people return from following their brothers?
27 And Joab said, As God lives unless thou had spoken, surely then in the morning the people would have gone up every man from followed his brother. 28 So Joab blew the trumpet. And all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither did they fight any more. 29 And Abner and his men went all that night through the Arabah, and they passed over the 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, there lacked of David's servants nineteen men and Asahel. 31 But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner's men, [so that] three hundred and sixty men died. 32 And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulcher of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and the day broke upon them at Hebron.