1After this, David enquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” The LORD said to him, “Go up.” David said, “Where shall I go up?” He said, “To Hebron.”
2So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.
3David brought up his men who were with him, every man with his household. They lived in the cities of Hebron.
4The men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. They told David, “The men of Jabesh Gilead were those who buried Saul.”
5David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and said to them, “Blessed are you by the LORD, that you have shown this kindness to your lord, even to Saul, and have buried him.
6Now may the LORD show loving kindness and truth to you. I also will reward you for this kindness, because you have done this thing.
7Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.”
8Now Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s army, had taken Ishbosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim.
9He made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, over Benjamin, and over all Israel.
10Ishbosheth, 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.
11The time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
12Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
13Joab the son of Zeruiah and David’s servants 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.
14Abner said to Joab, “Please let the young men arise and compete before us!” Joab said, “Let them arise!”
15Then they arose and went over by number: twelve for Benjamin and for Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of David’s servants.
16They each caught his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.
17The battle was very severe that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before David’s servants.
18The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel was as light of foot as a wild gazelle.
19Asahel pursued Abner. He didn’t turn to the right hand or to the left from following Abner.
20Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Is that you, Asahel?” He answered, “It is.”
21Abner said to him, “Turn away to your right hand or to your left, and grab one of the young men, and take his armour.” But Asahel would not turn away from following him.
22Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn away from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I look Joab your brother in the face?”
23However, he refused to turn away. Therefore Abner with the back end of the spear struck him in the body, so that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there and died in the same place. As many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still.
24But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. The sun went down when they had come to the hill of Ammah, that lies before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.
25The children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner and became one band, and stood on the top of a hill.
26Then Abner called to Joab, and said, “Shall the sword devour forever? Don’t you know that it will be bitterness in the latter end? How long will it be then, before you ask the people to return from following their brothers?”
27Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely then in the morning the people would have gone away, and not each followed his brother.”
28So Joab blew the shofar; and all the people stood still and pursued Israel no more, and they fought no more.
29Abner 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.
30Joab returned from following Abner; and when he had gathered all the people together, nineteen men of David’s and Asahel were missing.
31But David’s servants had struck Benjamin Abner’s men so that three hundred and sixty men died.
32They took up Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was in Bethlehem. Joab and his men went all night, and the day broke on them at Hebron.