1 Now there was a long war between Saul’s people and David’s people; and David became stronger and stronger, but those on Saul’s side became more and more feeble.
2 While David was in Hebron he became the father of sons: the oldest was Amnon, son of Ahinoam of Jezreel;
3 And the second, Chileab, whose mother was Abigail, the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom, 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, whose mother was David’s wife Eglah. These were the sons of David, whose birth took place in Hebron.
6 Now while there was war between Saul’s people and David’s people, Abner was making himself strong among the supporters of Saul.
7 Now Saul had among his wives a woman named Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, Why have you taken my father’s wife?
8 And Abner was very angry at the words of Ish-bosheth, and he said, Am I a dog’s head of Judah? I am this day doing all in my power for the cause of your father Saul and for his brothers and his friends, and have not given you up into the hands of David, and now you say I have done wrong with a woman.
9 May God’s punishment be on Abner, if I do not for David as the Lord in his oath has said,
10 And if I do not take away the kingdom from the family of Saul and make David ruler over Israel and Judah from Dan as far as Beer-sheba!
11 And so great was Ish-bosheth’s fear of Abner that he was not able to say a word in answer.
12 And Abner sent men to David at Hebron, saying, Make an agreement with me, and I will give you my support in getting all Israel on your side.
13 And he said, It is well; I will make an agreement with you, but on one condition, which is, that when you come before me, Saul’s daughter Michal is to come with you; till she comes you will not see my face.
14 And David sent men to Saul’s son Ish-bosheth, saying, Give me back Michal, my wife, whom I made mine for the price of the private parts of a hundred Philistines.
15 So Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband Paltiel, the son of Laish.
16 And her husband went with her as far as Bahurim, weeping while he went. Then Abner said to him, Go back. And he went back.
17 Then Abner had a talk with the chief men of Israel, saying, In the past it was your desire to make David your king: so now, do it:
18 For the Lord has said of David, By the hand of my servant David I will make my people Israel safe from the Philistines, and from all who are against them.
19 And Abner said the same things to Benjamin: and he went to David in Hebron to make clear to him what seemed good to Israel and to all the people of Benjamin.
20 So Abner, with twenty men, came to Hebron, to David. And David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him.
21 And Abner said to David, Now I will go, and make all Israel come to my lord the king, so that they may make an agreement with you, and your kingdom may be as wide as your heart’s desire. Then David sent Abner away and he went in peace.
22 Now the servants of David and Joab had been out attacking a band of armed men, and they came back with a great store of goods taken in the fight: but Abner was no longer in Hebron with David, for he had sent him away and he had gone in peace.
23 When Joab and his men came, news was given them that Abner, the son of Ner, had come to the king, who had let him go away again in peace.
24 Then Joab came to the king, and said, What have you done? when Abner came to you why did you send him away and let him go?
25 Is it not clear to you that Abner, the son of Ner, came with deceit to get knowledge of your going out and your coming in and of all you are doing?
26 And when Joab had come out from David, he sent men after Abner, and they overtook him at the water-spring of Sirah, and made him come back with them: but David had no knowledge of it.
27 And when Abner was back in Hebron, Joab took him on one side by the doorway of the town to have a word with him quietly, and there he gave him a wound in the stomach, causing his death in payment for the death of his brother Asahel.
28 And when David had word of it he said, May I and my kingdom be clear for ever in the eyes of the Lord from the blood of Abner, the son of Ner:
29 May it come on the head of Joab and all his father’s family: among the men of Joab’s family may there ever be some who are diseased or lepers, or who do the work of women, or are put to the sword, or are wasted from need of food!
30 So Joab and Abishai his brother put Abner to death, because he had put to death their brother Asahel in the fight at Gibeon.
31 And David said to Joab and all the people who were with him, Go in grief and put haircloth about you, in sorrow for Abner. And King David went after the dead body.
32 And they put Abner’s body to rest in Hebron; and the king and all the people were weeping loudly by the resting-place of Abner’s body.
33 And the king made a song of grief for Abner and said, Was the death of Abner to be like the death of a foolish man?
34 Your hands were free, your feet were not chained: like the downfall of a man before evil men, so was your fall. And the weeping of the people over him went on again.
35 And the people came to make David take food, while it was still day, but David with an oath said, May God’s punishment be on me if I take a taste of bread or any other thing till the sun has gone down!
36 And all the people took note of it and were pleased: like everything the king did, it was pleasing to the people.
37 So it was clear to Israel and to all the people on that day that the king was not responsible for the death of Abner, the son of Ner.
38 And the king said to his servants, Do you not see that a chief and a great man has come to his end today in Israel?
39 While I, though I am crowned king, have little strength, and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are out of my control: may the Lord give to the evil-doer the reward of his evil-doing!