Saul and Jonathan Are DeadNow it happened after the death of Saul, that David returned from striking down the Amalekites. Then David remained two days in Ziklag. 2 Now it happened that on the third day, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul. And his clothes were torn and dust was on his head. And it happened when he came to David, that he fell to the ground and prostrated himself. 3 Then David said to him, “From where do you come?” And he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” 4 And David said to him, “How did things go? Tell me now.” And he said, “The people have fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.” 5 So David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” 6 And the young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and behold, Saul was leaning on his spear. And behold, the chariots and the horsemen pursued him closely. 7 Then he turned to look behind him, and he saw me and called to me. And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 8 And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ And I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ 9 Then he said to me, ‘Please stand beside me and put me to death, for agony has seized me because my life still lingers in me.’ 10 So I stood beside him and put him to death, because I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown which was on his head and the bracelet which was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.” 11 Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so also did all the men who were with him. 12 And they lamented and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan and for the people of Yahweh and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 13 And David said to the young man who told him, “Where are you from?” And he answered, “I am the son of a sojourner, an Amalekite.” 14 Then David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to send forth your hand to destroy the anointed of Yahweh?” 15 And David called one of the young men and said, “Approach and fall upon him.” So he struck him and he died. 16 And David said to him, “Your blood is on your head, for your mouth has answered against you, saying, ‘I have put the anointed of Yahweh to death.’”
David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan17 Then David chanted with this funeral lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar. 19
“Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places!
How have the mighty fallen! 20
Tell it not in Gath,
Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
Lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised exult. 21
O mountains of Gilboa,
Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings;
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. 22
From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty,
The bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
And the sword of Saul did not return empty. 23
Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life,
And in their death they were not separated;
They were swifter than eagles,
They were mightier than lions. 24
O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet,
Who put ornaments of gold on your clothing. 25
How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!
Jonathan is slain on your high places. 26
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
You have been very pleasant to me.
Your love to me was more wonderful
Than the love of women. 27
How have the mighty fallen,
And the weapons of war perished!”
David Anointed King of JudahNow it happened afterwards that David asked of Yahweh, saying, “Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah?” And Yahweh said to him, “Go up.” So David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “To Hebron.” 2 So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 3 And David brought up his men who were with him, each with his household; and they lived in the cities of Hebron. 4 Then the men of Judah came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.” 5 And David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said to them, “May you be blessed of Yahweh because you have shown this lovingkindness with your lord, with Saul, and have buried him. 6 So now, may Yahweh show lovingkindness and truth to you; and I also will show this goodness to you, because you have done this thing. 7 So now, let your hands be strong and be valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”
Ish‑bosheth Made King over Israel8 Now Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. 9 And he made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, even over all Israel. 10 Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he was king for two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David. 11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
Abner Defeated Before David12 Now Abner the son of Ner, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon with the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul. 13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met them by the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, one on the one side of the pool and the other on the other side of the pool. 14 Then Abner said to Joab, “Now let the young men arise and hold a contest before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.” 15 So they arose and went over by count, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16 And each one of them seized his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon. 17 And that day the battle was very severe, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated before the servants of David. 18 Now the three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab and Abishai and Asahel; and Asahel was as swift-footed as one of the gazelles which is in the field. 19 And Asahel pursued Abner and did not turn to the right or to the left from following Abner. 20 Then Abner turned to look behind him and said, “Is that you, Asahel?” And he answered, “It is I.” 21 So Abner said to him, “Turn to your right or to your left, and seize one of the young men for yourself, and take for yourself his spoil.” But Asahel was not willing to turn aside from following him. 22 And Abner repeated again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother Joab?” 23 However, he refused to turn aside; therefore Abner struck him in the belly with the butt end of the spear, so that the spear came out at his back. And he fell there and died on the spot. And it happened that all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still. 24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. Now the sun was going down, and they came to the hill of Ammah, which is in front of Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 And the sons of Benjamin gathered together behind Abner and became one band, and they stood on the top of a certain hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab and said, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitter in the end? How long will you refrain from telling the people to turn back from following their brothers?” 27 And Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely then the people would have only gone away in the morning, each from following his brother.” 28 So Joab blew the trumpet; and all the people stood still and pursued Israel no longer, nor did they continue to fight anymore. 29 But Abner and his men then went through the Arabah all that night; so they crossed the Jordan, walked all morning, and came to Mahanaim. 30 Now Joab returned from following Abner. And he had gathered all the people together, and nineteen of David’s servants besides Asahel were missing. 31 But the servants of David had struck down many of Benjamin and Abner’s men, so that 360 men died. 32 And they took up Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb which was in Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men went all night until the day dawned at Hebron.
The House of David StrengthenedNow the war between the house of Saul and the house of David was long; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually. 2 And sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3 and his second, Chileab, by Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; 4 and the fourth, Adonijah 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 Cuts a Covenant with David6 Now it happened, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David that Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul. 7 Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and Ish-bosheth 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 I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show lovingkindness 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 God do so to Abner, and more also, if as Yahweh has sworn to David, I do not do this for him, 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba.” 11 And he could no longer respond a word to Abner, because he was afraid of him. 12 Then Abner sent messengers to David in his place, saying, “Whose is the land? Cut your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to turn all Israel over to you.” 13 And he said, “Good! I will cut a covenant with you, but I ask one thing of you, namely, you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” 14 So David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, to whom I was betrothed for one hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 And Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband, from Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 But her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her as far as Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” So he returned. 17 Now Abner had consultation with the elders of Israel, saying, “In times past you were seeking for David to be king over you. 18 So now, do it! For Yahweh has spoken of 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 in the hearing of Benjamin; and in addition Abner went to speak in the hearing of David in Hebron all that was good in the sight of Israel and in the sight of the 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 And Abner said to David, “Let me arise and go and gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may cut a covenant with you, and that you may be king over all that your soul desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace. 22 And behold, the 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 Now Joab and all the army that was with him arrived, and 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 know of your going out and your coming in and to know all that you are doing.”
Joab Strikes Abner26 Then Joab came out from David and 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 struck him in the belly so that he died on account of the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 Afterward David heard it, so he said, “I and my kingdom are innocent before Yahweh forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 May it whirl on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house; and may one who has a discharge, or who is a leper, or who takes hold of a spindle, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks bread not be cut off from the house of Joab.” 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner because he had put their brother Asahel to death in the battle at Gibeon.
David’s Lament for Abner31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear 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 grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33 And the king chanted a lament for Abner and said,
“Should Abner die as a wicked fool dies? 34
Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put in fetters;
As one falls before the unrighteous, you have fallen.”And all the people continued to weep over him. 35 Then all the people came to persuade David to eat bread while it was still day; but David swore an oath, saying, “May God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down.” 36 Now all the people took note of it, and it was good in their sight, just as everything the king did was good in the sight of all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel knew 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 Thus I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too difficult for me. May Yahweh repay the evildoer according to his evil.”
Ish‑bosheth Put to DeathThen Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son heard that Abner had died in Hebron. And he lost courage, and all Israel was dismayed. 2 Now Saul’s son had two men who were commanders of bands: the name of the one was Baanah and the name of the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the sons of Benjamin (for Beeroth is also considered part of Benjamin, 3 and the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been sojourners there until this day). 4 Now Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the report of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth. 5 So the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went forth and came to the house of Ish-bosheth in the heat of the day while he was taking his midday rest. 6 They came to the middle of the house as if to get wheat, and they struck him in the belly; and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. 7 Thus they came into the house, as he was lying on his bed in his bedroom, and they struck him and put him to death and beheaded him. And they took his head and went on the way leading to the Arabah all night. 8 Then they brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Behold, the head of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; thus Yahweh has given my lord the king vengeance this day on Saul and his seed.” 9 And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As Yahweh lives, who has redeemed my life from all distress, 10 when one told me, saying, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him in 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 require his blood from your hand and purge you from the earth?” 12 Then David commanded the young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hung them up beside the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it in the grave of Abner in Hebron.