Chapter 1

  1. Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David had returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites and David had stayed two days in Ziklag, it came even to pass on the third day that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent and earth upon his head. And so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth and paid respect. And David said unto him, From where do you come? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped. And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray you, tell me. And he answered that the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead, and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.
  2. And David said unto the young man that told him, How do you know that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead? And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon Mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear, and behold, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I. And he said unto me, Who are you? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. He said unto me again, Stand, I pray you, upon me, and slay me; for anguish has come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. So I stood upon him and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after he was fallen. And I took the crown that was upon his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here unto my lord.
  3. Then David took hold on his clothes and rent them, and likewise all the men that were with him. And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until evening for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel, because they were fallen by the sword. And David said unto the young man that told him, Where are you from? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. And David said unto him, How were you not afraid to stretch forth your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed? And David called one of the young men and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. And David said unto him, Your blood is upon your head, for your mouth has testified against you, saying, I have slain the Lord’s anointed.
  4. And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son (also he bid them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jasher): The beauty of Israel is slain upon your high places. How are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
  5. You mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you, nor fields of offerings; for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
  6. You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!
  7. O Jonathan, you were slain in your high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been unto me. Your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
  8. And it came to pass after this that David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the Lord said unto him, Go up. And David said, Where shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron. So David went up there, and his two wives also: Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail, Nabal’s wife, the Carmelite. And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household, and they dwelled in the cities of Hebron.
  9. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying that the men of Jabesh-Gilead were they that buried Saul. And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabesh-Gilead and said unto them, Blessed be you of the Lord, that you have shown this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him. And now the Lord show kindness and truth unto you, and I also will repay you this kindness, because you have done this thing. Therefore, now let your hands be strengthened, and be valiant, for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.
  10. But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim, and made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel. Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
  11. And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. And Joab, the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David went out and met together 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. And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise. Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin who pertained to Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side, so they fell down together. Wherefore, that place was called Helkath-Hazzurim, which is in Gibeon. And there was a very severe battle that day, and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.
  12. And there were three sons of Zeruiah there — Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel. And Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe. And Asahel pursued after Abner, and in going, he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. Then Abner looked behind himself and said, Are you Asahel? And he answered, I am. And Abner said to him, Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, and lay hold on one of the young men, and take his armor. But Asahel would not turn aside from following him. And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn aside from following me. Why should I smite you to the ground? How then should I hold up my face to Joab your brother? Nevertheless, he refused to turn aside. Wherefore, Abner, with the rear end of the spear, smote him under the fifth rib that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there and died in the same place.
  13. And it came to pass that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still. Joab also, and Abishai, pursued after Abner. And 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. And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner and became one troop, and stood on the top of a hill.
  14. Then Abner called to Joab and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? Do you not know that it will be bitterness in the latter end? How long shall it be then before you bid the people return from following their brethren? And Joab said, As God lives, unless you had spoken, surely then in the morning the people would have gone up every one from following his brother. So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they anymore.
  15. And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron; and they came to Mahanaim. And Joab returned from following Abner. And when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel. But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner’s men, so that three hundred sixty men died. And they took up Asahel and buried him in the sepulcher of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
  16. Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David, but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker. And unto David were sons born in Hebron. And his first born was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess. And his second, Chileab, of Abigail, the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur. And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith. And the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital. And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah, David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
  17. 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. And Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. And Ishbosheth said to Abner, Why have you gone in unto my father’s concubine? Then was Abner very angry for the words of Ishbosheth, and said, Am I a dog’s head, which against Judah does show kindness this day unto the house of Saul your father, to his brethren 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? So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the Lord has sworn to David, even so I do to him — to transfer 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. And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.
  18. And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose is the land? Saying also, Make your league with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you, to bring about all Israel unto you. And he said, Well; I will make a league with you. But one thing I require of you: that is, you shall not see my face except you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.
  19. And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to me for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines. And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Paltiel the son of Laish. And her husband went with her along, weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return. And he returned.
  20. And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, You sought for David in times past to be king over you. Now then do it, for 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. And Abner also spoke in the ears of Benjamin. And Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and that seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin.
  21. So Abner came to David, to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men that were with him a feast. And Abner said unto David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, 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 came from pursuing a troop, and brought in a great spoil with them. But Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace. 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. Then Joab came to the king and said, What have you done? Behold, Abner came unto you; why is it that you have sent him away, and he is quite gone? You know Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive you, and to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you do.
  23. And when Joab had come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, who brought him again from the well of Sirah; but David knew it not. And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died for the blood of Asahel his brother.
  24. And afterward, when David heard it, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner. Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house. And let there not fail from the house of Joab one that has a discharge, or that is a leper, or that leans on a staff, or that falls on the sword, or that lacks bread. So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.
  25. And David said to Joab and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier. And they buried Abner in Hebron, and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner. And all the people wept. And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Did Abner die as a fool dies? Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put into fetters. As a man falls before wicked men, so fell you. And all the people wept again over him.
  26. And when all the people came to cause David to eat food while it was yet day, David swore, saying, So do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else until the sun be down. And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them, as whatever the king did pleased all the people. For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner. And the king said unto his servants, Do you not know that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? And I am this day weak, though anointed king. And these men, the sons of Zeruiah, be too hard for me. The Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.
  27. And when Saul’s son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled. And Saul’s son had two men that were captains of bands; the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other, Rechab — the sons of Rimmon, a Beerothite of the children of Benjamin (for Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin. And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and were sojourners there until this day).
  28. And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled. And it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
  29. And the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who lay on a bed at noon. And they came there into the heart of the house as though they would have fetched wheat. And they smote him under the fifth rib, and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. For when they came into the house, he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and got themselves away through the plain all night. And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David, to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul your enemy, who sought your life. And the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.
  30. And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said unto them, As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of all adversity, when one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, — thinking to have brought good tidings — I took hold of him and slew him in Ziklag who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings. How much more when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? Shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand and take you away from the earth?
  31. And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hung them up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the sepulcher of Abner in Hebron.
  32. Then came all the tribes of Israel to David, unto Hebron, and spoke, saying, Behold, we are your bone and your flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were he that led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, You shall feed my people Israel, and you shall be a captain over Israel.
  33. So all the elders of Israel came to the king, to Hebron, and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.