The House of David Strengthened
1 Now there R61 was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually.
2 Sons R62 were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam R63 the Jezreelitess; 3 and his second, Chileab, by Abigail the widow F26 of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, R64 the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; R65 4 and the fourth, Adonijah R66 the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 and the sixth, Ithream, by David's wife Eglah. These were born to David at Hebron.
Abner Joins David
6 It came about while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David that Abner R67 was making himself strong in the house of Saul. 7 Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, R68 the daughter of Aiah; and Ish-bosheth F27 said to Abner, "Why have you gone in to my father's concubine?" 8 Then Abner was very angry over the words of Ish-bosheth and said, "Am R69 I a dog's head that belongs to Judah? Today I show kindness to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hands of David; and yet today you charge me with a guilt concerning the woman. 9 "May R70 God do so to Abner, and more also, if as R71 the LORD has sworn to David, I do not accomplish this for him, 10 to R72 transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from R73 Dan even to Beersheba." 11 And he could no longer answer Abner a word, because he was afraid of him.
12 Then Abner sent messengers to David in his place, saying, "Whose is the land? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring all Israel over to you." 13 He said, "Good! I will make a covenant with you, but I demand one thing of you, namely, F28 you R74 shall not see my face unless you first R75 bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come to see me." F29 14 So David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, saying, "Give me my wife Michal, to whom I was betrothed for R76 a hundred foreskins of the Philistines." 15 Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband, from Paltiel F30 the son of Laish. 16 But her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her as far as Bahurim. R77 Then Abner said to him, "Go, return." So he returned.
17 Now Abner had consultation F31 with the R78 elders of Israel, saying, "In times past you were seeking for David to be king over you. 18 "Now then, do it! For the LORD has spoken of David, saying, `By R79 the hand of My servant David I F32 will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.' " 19 Abner also spoke in the hearing of Benjamin; and in addition Abner went to speak in the hearing of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel and to the R80 whole house of Benjamin.
20 Then Abner and twenty men with him came to David at Hebron. And David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 Abner said to David, "Let me arise and go and gather R81 all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you R82 may be king over all that your soul desires." So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.
22 And behold, the R83 servants of David and Joab came from a raid and brought much spoil with them; but Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the army that was with him arrived, they told Joab, saying, "Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has sent him away, and he has gone in peace." 24 Then Joab came to the king and said, "What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you; why then have you sent him away and he is already gone? 25 "You know Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive you and to learn of your R84 going out and coming in and to find out all that you are doing."
Joab Murders Abner
26 When Joab came out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David did not know it. 27 So when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the middle of the gate to speak with him privately, and there he R85 struck him in the belly so that he died on account of the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 Afterward when David heard it, he said, "I and my kingdom are innocent before the LORD forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 "May R86 it fall F33 on the head of Joab and on all his father's house; and may there not fail from the house of Joab one R87 who has a discharge, or who is a leper, or who takes hold of a distaff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks bread." 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner because R88 he had put their brother Asahel to death in the battle at Gibeon.
David Mourns Abner
31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, "Tear R89 your clothes and gird on sackcloth and lament before Abner." And King David walked behind the bier. 32 Thus they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the R90 grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33 The R91 king chanted a lament for Abner and said,
"Should Abner die as a fool dies?
34 "Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put in fetters;
As one falls before the wicked, F34 you have fallen."
And all the people wept again over him. 35 Then all the people came to R92 persuade F35 David to eat bread while it was still day; but David vowed, saying, "May R93 God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else before R94 the sun goes down." 36 Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased F36 them, just as everything the king did pleased F37 all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the will of the king to put Abner the son of Ner to death. 38 Then the king said to his servants, "Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 "I am weak R95 today, though anointed king; and these men the R96 sons of Zeruiah are too difficult for me. May R97 the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil."
F26: Lit wife
F27: So some ancient mss and versions; M.T. he
F28: Lit saying
F29: Lit my face
F30: In 1+@Sam 25:44, Palti
F31: Lit a word
F32: So many ancient mss and versions; M.T. he
F33: Lit whirl
F34: Lit sons of wickedness
F35: Lit cause
F36: Lit was good in their eyes
F37: Lit was good in the eyes of all
R61: 1 Kings 14:30; Psalms 46:9
R62: 1 Chronicles 3:1-3
R63: 1 Samuel 25:42,43
R64: 1 Samuel 27:8; 1 Chronicles 3:2
R65: 2 Samuel 14:32; 15:8
R66: 1 Kings 1:5
R67: 2 Samuel 2:8,9
R68: 2 Samuel 21:8-11
R69: 1 Samuel 24:14; 2 Samuel 9:8
R70: 1 Kings 19:2
R71: 1 Samuel 15:28
R72: 1 Samuel 15:28
R73: 1 Samuel 3:20
R74: Genesis 43:3
R75: 1 Samuel 18:20; 19:11
R76: 1 Samuel 18:25,27
R77: 2 Samuel 16:5; 19:16
R78: 1 Samuel 8:4
R79: 1 Samuel 9:16; 15:28
R80: 1 Samuel 10:20,21; 1 Chronicles 12:29
R81: 2 Samuel 3:10,12
R82: 1 Kings 11:37
R83: 1 Samuel 27:8
R84: Deuteronomy 28:6; 1 Samuel 29:6; Isaiah 37:28
R85: 2 Samuel 2:23; 20:9,10; 1 Kings 2:5
R86: Deuteronomy 21:6-9; 1 Kings 2:31-33
R87: Leviticus 13:46
R88: 2 Samuel 2:23
R89: Genesis 37:34; Judges 11:35
R90: Job 1:31:28,29; Proverbs 24:17
R91: 2 Samuel 1:17; 2 Chronicles 35:25
R92: 2 Samuel 12:17
R93: 1 Samuel 3:17
R94: 2 Samuel 1:12
R95: 1 Chronicles 29:1; 2 Chronicles 13:7
R96: 2 Samuel 19:5-7
R97: 1 Kings 2:32-34