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2 Samuel 3 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Civil War

The war between the house of Saul and the house of David was long and drawn out, with David growing stronger and the house of Saul becoming weaker.

Sons were born to David in Hebron:

his firstborn was Amnon,
by Ahinoam the Jezreelite;
his second was Chileab,
by Abigail, the widow of Nabal the Carmelite;
the third was Absalom,
son of Maacah the daughter of King Talmai of Geshur;
the fourth was Adonijah,
son of Haggith;
the fifth was Shephatiah,
son of Abital;
the sixth was Ithream,
by David’s wife Eglah.

These were born to David in Hebron.

During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner kept acquiring more power in the house of Saul. Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah daughter of Aiah, and Ish-bosheth questioned Abner, “Why did you sleep with my father’s concubine?”

Abner was very angry about Ish-bosheth’s accusation. “Am I a dog’s head[a] who belongs to Judah?” he asked. “All this time I’ve been loyal to the house of your father Saul, to his brothers, and to his friends and haven’t handed you over to David, but now you accuse me of wrongdoing with this woman! May God punish Abner and do so severely if I don’t do for David what the Lord swore to him: 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish the throne of David over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beer-sheba.” 11 Ish-bosheth could not answer Abner because he was afraid of him.

12 Abner sent messengers as his representatives to say to David, “Whose land is it? Make your covenant with me, and you can be certain I am on your side to hand all Israel over to you.”

13 David replied, “Good, I will make a covenant with you. However, there’s one thing I require of you: Do not appear before me unless you bring Saul’s daughter Michal here when you come to see me.”

14 Then David sent messengers to say to Ish-bosheth son of Saul, “Give me back my wife, Michal. I was engaged to her for the price of 100 Philistine foreskins.”

15 So Ish-bosheth sent someone to take her away from her husband, Paltiel son of Laish. 16 Her husband followed her, weeping all the way to Bahurim. Abner said to him, “Go back.” So he went back.

The Assassination of Abner

17 Abner conferred with the elders of Israel: “In the past you wanted David to be king over you. 18 Now take action, because the Lord has spoken concerning David: ‘Through My servant David I will save My people Israel from the power of the Philistines and the power of all Israel’s enemies.’”

19 Abner also informed the Benjaminites and went to Hebron to inform David about all that was agreed on by Israel and the whole house of Benjamin. 20 When Abner and 20 men came to David at Hebron, David held a banquet for him and his men.

21 Abner said to David, “Let me now go and I will gather all Israel to my lord the king. They will make a covenant with you, and you will rule over all you desire.” So David dismissed Abner, and he went in peace.

22 Just then David’s soldiers and Joab returned from a raid and brought a large amount of plundered goods with them. Abner was not with David in Hebron because David had dismissed him, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all his army arrived, Joab was informed, “Abner son of Ner came to see the king, the king dismissed him, and he went in peace.”

24 Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Look here, Abner came to you. Why did you dismiss him? Now he’s getting away. 25 You know that Abner son of Ner came to deceive you and to find out about your activities and everything you’re doing.” 26 Then Joab left David and sent messengers after Abner. They brought him back from the well[b] of Sirah, but David was unaware of it. 27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab pulled him aside to the middle of the gateway, as if to speak to him privately, and there Joab stabbed him in the stomach. So Abner died in revenge for the death of Asahel,[c] Joab’s brother.

28 David heard about it later and said: “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May it hang over Joab’s head and his father’s whole house, and may the house of Joab never be without someone who has a discharge or a skin disease, or a man who can only work a spindle,[d] or someone who falls by the sword or starves.” 30 Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because he had put their brother Asahel to death in the battle at Gibeon.

31 David then ordered Joab and all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn over Abner.” And King David walked behind the funeral procession.[e]

32 When they buried Abner in Hebron, the king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb. All the people wept, 33 and the king sang a lament for Abner:

Should Abner die as a fool dies?
34 Your hands were not bound,
your feet not placed in bronze shackles.
You fell like one who falls victim to criminals.

And all the people wept over him even more.

35 Then they came to urge David to eat bread while it was still day, but David took an oath: “May God punish me and do so severely if I taste bread or anything else before sunset!” 36 All the people took note of this, and it pleased them. In fact, everything the king did pleased them. 37 On that day all the troops and all Israel were convinced that the king had no part in the killing of Abner son of Ner.

38 Then the king said to his soldiers, “You must know that a great leader has fallen in Israel today. 39 As for me, even though I am the anointed king, I have little power today. These men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too fierce for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil!”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Samuel 3:8 = a despised person
  2. 2 Samuel 3:26 Or cistern
  3. 2 Samuel 3:27 Lit And he died for the blood of Asahel
  4. 2 Samuel 3:29 LXX reads who uses a crutch
  5. 2 Samuel 3:31 Or the bier; lit the bed

2 Samuel 3 New International Version (NIV)

The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.

Sons were born to David in Hebron:

His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel;

his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel;

the third, Absalom the son of Maakah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;

the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith;

the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;

and the sixth, Ithream the son of David’s wife Eglah.

These were born to David in Hebron.

Abner Goes Over to David

During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner had been strengthening his own position in the house of Saul. Now Saul had had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, “Why did you sleep with my father’s concubine?”

Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said. So he answered, “Am I a dog’s head—on Judah’s side? This very day I am loyal to the house of your father Saul and to his family and friends. I haven’t handed you over to David. Yet now you accuse me of an offense involving this woman! May God deal with Abner, be it ever so severely, if I do not do for David what the Lord promised him on oath 10 and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David’s throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 Ish-Bosheth did not dare to say another word to Abner, because he was afraid of him.

12 Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to say to David, “Whose land is it? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you bring all Israel over to you.”

13 “Good,” said David. “I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me.” 14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins.”

15 So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. 16 Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go back home!” So he went back.

17 Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, “For some time you have wanted to make David your king. 18 Now do it! For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’”

19 Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person. Then he went to Hebron to tell David everything that Israel and the whole tribe of Benjamin wanted to do. 20 When Abner, who had twenty men with him, came to David at Hebron, David prepared a feast for him and his men. 21 Then Abner said to David, “Let me go at once and assemble all Israel for my lord the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may rule over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

Joab Murders Abner

22 Just then David’s men and Joab returned from a raid and brought with them a great deal of plunder. But Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived, he was told that Abner son of Ner had come to the king and that the king had sent him away and that he had gone in peace.

24 So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone! 25 You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing.”

26 Joab then left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern at Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into an inner chamber, as if to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died.

28 Later, when David heard about this, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy[a] or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food.”

30 (Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.)

31 Then David said to Joab and all the people with him, “Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and walk in mourning in front of Abner.” King David himself walked behind the bier. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb. All the people wept also.

33 The king sang this lament for Abner:

“Should Abner have died as the lawless die?
34     Your hands were not bound,
    your feet were not fettered.
You fell as one falls before the wicked.”

And all the people wept over him again.

35 Then they all came and urged David to eat something while it was still day; but David took an oath, saying, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets!”

36 All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them. 37 So on that day all the people there and all Israel knew that the king had no part in the murder of Abner son of Ner.

38 Then the king said to his men, “Do you not realize that a commander and a great man has fallen in Israel this day? 39 And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Samuel 3:29 The Hebrew for leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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