1 And the war lasted a long time between the house of Saul and the house of David; but David became continually stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul became continually weaker and weaker.
2 And there were born unto David sons in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Achinoam the Yizreelitess;
3 And his second was Kilab, of Abigayil the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Abshalom, the son of Maachah the daughter of Talmai the king of Geshur;
4 And the fourth, Adoniyah, the son of Chaggith; and the fifth, Shephatyah, the son of Abital;
5 And the sixth, Yithream, by Eglah, Davids wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
6 And it came to pass, while the war lasted between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner upheld with all his strength the house of Saul.
7 And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Ayah: and Ishbosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my fathers concubine?
8 And Abner became very wroth because of the words of Ishbosheth, and said, Am I the chief of the dogs which belong to Judah? unto this day have I shown kindness unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David; and yet thou chargest me today with a wrong committed with this woman?
9 May God do so to Abner, and continue to do yet more to him, that, as the Lord hath sworn to David, even so will I surely do to 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 not answer Abner a word more in reply, because of his fear of him.
12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose is the land? saying also, Make thy covenant with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring round unto thee all Israel.
13 And he said, Well: I will indeed make a covenant with thee; but one thing I require of thee, namely, Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal, Sauls daughter, when thou comest to see my face.
14 And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, saying, Give up to me my wife Michal, whom I espoused to me for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.
15 And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from the man, from Paltiel the son of Layish.
16 And her husband went with her going along and weeping behind her as far as Bachurim: when Abner said unto him, Go, return. And he returned.
17 And Abner had used these words with the elders of Israel, saying, Already yesterday and even before ye have been desiring David as king over you:
18 And now do it; for the Lord hath said of David thus, By the hand of my servant David will I save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.
19 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 in the eyes of Israel, and in the eyes of the whole house of Benjamin.
20 And Abner came to David to Hebron, and with him were twenty men; and David made for Abner and for the men that were with him a feast.
21 And Abner said unto David, I will now arise and go, and I will assemble unto my Lord the king all Israel, that they may make a covenant with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thy soul longeth for. And David dismissed Abner: and he went in peace.
22 And, behold, the servants of David and Joab came from a predatory excursion, and brought in much booty with them; but Abner was no more with David in Hebron; for he had dismissed him, and he was gone in peace.
23 When Joab and all the army that was with him were come, they told Joab, saying, Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he hath dismissed him, and he is gone in peace.
24 Then came Joab to the king, and said, What hast thou done? behold, Abner came unto thee: why is it that thou hast dismissed him, that he went freely away?
25 Thou knowest Abner the son of Ner, that to deceive thee did he come, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know all that thou art doing.
26 And Joab went out from David, and he sent messengers after Abner, who brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David knew it not.
27 And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him in private; and he smote him there under the fifth rib, and he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.
28 And when David heard it afterward, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord for ever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner:
29 May it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his fathers house; and may there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a crutch, or that falleth by the sword, or that lacketh bread.
30 But Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibon in the battle.
31 And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird yourselves with sackcloth, and go mourning before Abner. And king David walked behind the bier.
32 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.
33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, O, that Abner had to die, as the worthless dieth!
34 Thy hands were not bound, and thy feet were not put into fetters: as one falleth before men of wickedness art thou fallen. And all the people wept again over him.
35 And all the people came to cause David to eat food while it was yet day; but David swore, saying, So do God to me, and thus may he continue, if before the sun be down I taste bread, or the least else.
36 And all the people took notice of it, and it was pleasing in their eyes: as whatsoever the king did was pleasing in the eyes of all the people.
37 And all the people and all Israel understood on that day that it had not been of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner.
38 And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that a prince and a great man hath fallen this day in Israel?
39 And I am this day yet weak, and just anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruyah, are too strong for me: may the Lord pay the doer of evil according to his wickedness.