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2 Samuel 3

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 1 Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; but David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.

 2 Sons were born to David in Hebron; and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess.

 3 His second child was Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third child was Absalom, the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur.

 4 The fourth child was Adonijah, the son of Haggith; and the fifth child was Shephatiah, the son of Abital.

 5 And the sixth child was Ithream, by Eglah, David's wife. These were all born to David in Hebron.

 6 And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul.

 7 Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and Ishbosheth said to Abner, "Why have you gone into my father's concubine?"

 8 Then Abner was very angry for the words of Ishbosheth, and said, "Am I a dog's head, which against Judah shows kindness this day to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hand of David, that you charge me today with a fault concerning this woman?

 9 May God do so to Abner, and more also, except, as the LORD has sworn to David, even so I do to him;

 10 To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba."

 11 Ishbosheth could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.

 12 Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, "The land belongs to whom?" saying also, "Make your league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with you, to bring about all Israel to you."

 13 David replied, saying, "It is well; I will make a league with you; but one thing I require of you, which is you shall not see my face, unless you first bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come to see my face."

 14 David sent messengers to Saul's son Ishbosheth, saying, "Return to me my wife Michal, who I took in marriage by paying a hundred foreskins of the Philistines [to her father, Saul].

 15 So Ishbosheth had her taken from her husband, Phaltiel, the son of Laish.

 16 And her husband went along with her, weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, "Go, return." And he returned.

 17 Abner had communicated with the elders of Israel, saying, "You sought for David in times past to be king over you.

 18 Now then make him your king because the LORD has spoken of David, saying, 'By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.'"

 19 Abner also spoke to Benjamin. Then Abner went to tell David in Hebron that it [his also becoming king of Israel] seemed good to Israel, and that it seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin.

 20 So Abner and twenty men with him came to David to Hebron. David made a feast for Abner and the men that were with him.

 21 And Abner said to David, "I will arise and go, and I will gather all Israel to my lord the king, so that they may make a league with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires." And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.

 22 And, behold, the servants of David and Joab returned from pursuing a troop, and brought in a great spoil with them; but Abner was not with David in Hebron because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace.

 23 When Joab and all the host that was with him had come, they told Joab, saying, "Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has sent him away, and he is gone in peace."

 24 Then Joab came to the king, and said, "What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you; why is it that you have sent him away, and he is quite gone?

 25 You know Abner the son of Ner, came to deceive you, and to learn your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you do."

 26 So when Joab came out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, who brought him back again from the well of Sirah; but David did not know of it.

 27 When Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and stabbed him there under the fifth rib, so that he died as revenge for the blood of Asahel, Joab's brother.

 28 And afterward when David heard it, he said, "I and my kingdom are guiltless before the LORD forever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner.

 29 Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father's house; and from the house of Joab let there not fail to be one who has a discharge, or is a leper, or who leans on a staff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks food."1

 30 So Joab and his brother Abishai slew Abner because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.

 31 And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, "Tear your clothes, and clothe yourself with sackcloth, and mourn for Abner." And king David himself followed the funeral bier.

 32 They buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept.

 33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, "Abner died as a fool dies?

 34 Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put into fetters; as a man falls before wicked men, so you fell." And all the people wept again over him.

 35 And when all the people came to cause David to eat food while it was still day, David swore, saying, "May God so do to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or something else, until the sun is down."

 36 And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them; as whatever the king did pleased all the people.

 37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king's [will] to slay Abner the son of Ner.

 38 And the king said to his servants, "Do you not know not that there is a prince and a great man who has fallen this day in Israel?

 39  I am this day weak, though I have been anointed king, for these men the sons of Zeruiah [Joab and his brother Abishai] are too cruel for me; the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness."

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1 Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father's house; and from the house of Joab let there not fail to be one who has a discharge, or is a leper, or who leans on a staff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks food. David has issued a curiously huge curse on Joab and all the descendants of Joab; and yet Joab was probably the best friend of David's entire life; only the early friendship of Jonathan was equal. Joab served David with admirable courage, loyalty, friendship, and judgment up until the time of David's death. Yet, as David was dying, Joab allied himself with Adonijah, the king's eldest son, who had declared himself king; and since Solomon had been named by the Lord and by David to become his successor, both Adonijah and Joab were soon slain on Solomon's orders.


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