1 And so, after these things, David consulted the Lord, saying, “Shall I ascend to one of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Ascend.” And David said, “To where shall I ascend?” And he responded to him, “To Hebron.”
2 Therefore, David ascended with his two wives, Ahinoam, the Jezreelite, and Abigail, the wife of Nabal of Carmel.
3 And as for the men who were with him, David led forth each man with his household. And they stayed in the towns of Hebron.
4 And the men of Judah went and anointed David there, so that he would reign over the house of Judah. And it was reported to David that the men of Jabesh Gilead had buried Saul.
David Crowned King of Israel
5 Therefore, David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and he said to them: “Blessed are you to the Lord, who has accomplished this mercy with your lord Saul, so that you would bury him.
6 And now, certainly, the Lord will repay to you mercy and truth. But I also will act with favor, because you have accomplished this word.
7 Let your hands be strengthened, and be sons of fortitude. For even though your lord Saul has died, still the house of Judah has anointed me as king over them.”
8 Then Abner, the son of Ner, the leader of the army of Saul, took Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, and he led him around, throughout the camp.
9 And he appointed him as king over Gilead, and over Geshuri, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all of Israel.
10 Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, was forty years old when he had begun to rule over Israel. And he reigned for two years. For only the house of Judah followed David.
11 And the number of the days, during which David was staying and ruling in Hebron over the house of Judah, was seven years and six months.
12 And Abner, the son of Ner, and the youths of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, went out from the camp to Gibeon.
13 Therefore, Joab, the son of Zeruiah, and the youths of David, went out and met them beside the pool of Gibeon. And when they had convened together, they sat down opposite one another: these on one side of the pool, and those on the other side.
14 And Abner said to Joab, “Let the youths rise up and play before us.” And Joab answered, “Let them rise up.”
15 Therefore, they rose up and crossed over, twelve in number of Benjamin, from the side of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, and twelve of the youths of David.
16 And each one, taking hold of his peer by the head, fixed a sword into the side of his adversary, and they fell down together. And the name of that place was called: The Field of the Valiant in Gibeon.
17 And a very harsh war rose up on that day. And Abner, with the men of Israel, was put to flight by the youths of David.
18 Now the three sons of Zeruiah were in that place: Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel. And Asahel was a very swift runner, like one of the deer that lives in the forest.
19 And Asahel pursued Abner, and he did not turn aside to the right, nor to the left, to cease in the pursuit of Abner.
20 And so, Abner looked behind his back, and he said, “Are you not Asahel?” And he responded, “I am.”
21 And Abner said to him, “Go to the right, or to the left, and apprehend one of the youths, and take his spoils for yourself.” But Asahel was not willing to cease from pursuing him closely.
22 And again, Abner said to Asahel: “Withdraw, and do not choose to follow me. Otherwise, I will be compelled to stab you to the ground, and I will not be able to lift up my face before your brother, Joab.”
23 But he disdained to heed him, and he was not willing to turn aside. Therefore, turning, Abner struck him with his spear in the groin, and he pierced him through, and he died in the same place. And all those who would pass by the place, in which Asahel had fallen and died, would stand still.
24 Now while Joab and Abishai were pursuing Abner as he fled, the sun set. And they went as far as the Hill of the Aqueduct, which is opposite the valley on the way of the desert in Gibeon.
25 And the sons of Benjamin gathered themselves to Abner. And being joined in one battle line, they stood at the summit of a hill.
26 And Abner cried out to Joab, and he said: “Will your sword rage unto utter destruction? Are you ignorant that it is perilous to act in desperation? How long will you not tell the people to cease from the pursuit of their brothers?”
27 And Joab said: “As the Lord lives, if you had spoken in the morning, the people would have withdrawn from pursuing their brothers.”
28 Therefore, Joab sounded the trumpet, and the entire army stood still, and they did not pursue after Israel any more, and they did not engage in conflict.
29 Then Abner and his men went away, all that night, through the plains. And they crossed the Jordan, and having roamed throughout all of Beth-horon, they arrived in the camp.
30 But Joab, returning after he had released Abner, gathered together all the people. And of David’s youths, they were missing nineteen men, aside from Asahel.
31 But of Benjamin and of the men who were with Abner, the servants of David had struck three hundred and sixty, who also died.
32 And they took Asahel, and they buried him in the sepulcher of his father at Bethlehem. And Joab, and the men who were with him, walked throughout the night, and they arrived in Hebron at the very break of day.