Abner Joins David
3 There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.
2 vAnd sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, of wAhinoam of Jezreel; 3 and his second, Chileab, of wAbigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah xthe daughter of Talmai king of yGeshur; 4 and the fourth, zAdonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 and the sixth, Ithream, of Eglah, David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
6 While there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul. 7 Now Saul had a concubine whose name was aRizpah, the daughter of Aiah. And Ish-bosheth said to Abner, b“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 I ca dog’s head of Judah? To this day I keep showing steadfast love to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not given you into the hand of David. And yet you charge me today with a fault concerning a woman. 9 dGod do so to Abner and more also, if I do not accomplish for David ewhat the Lord has sworn to him, 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, ffrom Dan to Beersheba.” 11 And Ish-bosheth could not answer Abner another word, because he feared him.
12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf,1 saying, “To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring over all Israel to you.” 13 And he said, “Good; I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require of you; that is, gyou shall not see my face unless you first bring hMichal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” 14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, ifor whom I paid the bridal price of a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 And Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 But her husband went with her, weeping after her all the way to jBahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” And he returned.
17 And Abner conferred with the elders of Israel, saying, “For some time past you have been seeking David as king over you. 18 Now then bring it about, kfor the Lord has promised David, saying, ‘By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines, and from the hand of all their enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke to lBenjamin. And then Abner went to tell David at Hebron all that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin thought good to do.
20 When Abner came with twenty men to David at Hebron, David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 And Abner said to David, “I will arise and go and mwill gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may nreign over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.
22 Just then the servants of David arrived with Joab from a raid, bringing much spoil with them. But Abner was not with David at Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the army that was with him came, it was told Joab, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has let him go, and he has gone in peace.” 24 Then Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you. Why is it that you have sent him away, so that he is gone? 25 You know that Abner the son of Ner came to deceive you and to know oyour going out and your coming in, and to know all that you are doing.”
Joab Murders Abner
26 When Joab came out from David’s presence, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern of Sirah. But David did not know about it. 27 And when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the midst of the gate to speak with him privately, pand there he struck him qin the stomach, so that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 Afterward, when David heard of it, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever guiltless before the Lord for the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 rMay it fall upon the head of Joab and upon all his father’s house, and may the house of Joab never be without sone who has a discharge or who is tleprous or who holds a spindle or who falls by the sword or who lacks bread!” 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because uhe 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, v“Tear your clothes and wput on sackcloth and mourn before Abner.” And King David followed the bier. 32 They buried Abner at Hebron. And the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33 And the king xlamented for Abner, saying,
34 Your hands were not bound;
your feet were not fettered;
as one falls before the wicked
you have fallen.”
And all the people wept again over him. 35 Then all the people came ato persuade David to eat bread while it was yet day. But David swore, saying, b“God do so to me and more also, if I taste bread or anything else ctill the sun goes down!” 36 And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them, as everything that the king did pleased all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king’s will to put to death Abner the son of Ner. 38 And the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 And I was gentle today, though anointed king. dThese men, the sons of Zeruiah, are more severe than I. eThe Lord repay the evildoer according to his wickedness!”
4 When Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, heard that Abner had died at Hebron, fhis courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed. 2 Now Saul’s son had two men who were captains of raiding bands; the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon a man of Benjamin from Beeroth (gfor Beeroth also is counted part of Benjamin; 3 hthe Beerothites fled ito Gittaim and have been sojourners there to this day).
4 jJonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan kcame from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
5 Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ish-bosheth as he was taking his noonday rest. 6 And they came into the midst of the house as if to get wheat, and they stabbed him lin the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.2 7 When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedroom, they struck him and put him to death and beheaded him. They took his head and went by the way of mthe Arabah all night, 8 and brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, nwho sought your life. The Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.” 9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, o“As the Lord lives, pwho has redeemed my life out of every adversity, 10 qwhen one told me, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, rI seized him and killed him at Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now srequire his blood at your hand and destroy you from the earth?” 12 And David commanded his young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hanged them beside the pool at Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it tin the tomb of Abner at Hebron.
David Anointed King of Israel
5 Then all the tribes of Israel ucame to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, vwe are your bone and flesh. 2 In times past, when Saul was king over us, wit was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, x‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince3 over Israel.’” 3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, yand King David made a covenant with them at Hebron zbefore the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. 4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and ahe reigned forty years. 5 aAt Hebron he reigned over Judah bseven years and six months, and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.4
6 cAnd the king and his men went to Jerusalem dagainst the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off”—thinking, “David cannot come in here.” 7 Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, ethat is, the city of David. 8 And David said on that day, “Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack ‘the lame and the blind,’ who are hated by David’s soul.” Therefore it is said, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.” 9 And David lived in the stronghold and called it ethe city of David. And David built the city all around from the fMillo inward. 10 And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.
11 gAnd hHiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, also carpenters and masons who built David a house. 12 And David knew that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
13 And David took more iconcubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to David. 14 jAnd these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.
David Defeats the Philistines
17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. But David heard of it and went down kto the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in lthe Valley of Rephaim. 19 And David minquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” 20 And David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. And he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood.” nTherefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim.5 21 And the Philistines left their idols there, and David and his men carried them away.
22 And the Philistines came up yet again oand spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. 23 pAnd when David inquired of the Lord, he said, “You shall not go up; go around to their rear, and come against them opposite the balsam trees. 24 And qwhen you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then rouse yourself, rfor then the Lord has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” 25 And David did as the Lord commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba sto Gezer.
The Cost of Discipleship
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 n“If anyone comes to me and odoes not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, pyes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 qWhoever does not rbear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not sfirst sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not tsit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 uSo therefore, any one of you who vdoes not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Salt Without Taste Is Worthless
34 w“Salt is good, xbut if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. yHe who has ears to hear, let him hear.”