1 And there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. But David [became] stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.
2 And sons were born to David in Hebron. And his first-born [was] Amnon, [the son of] Ahinoam of Jezreel.
3 And his second was Chileab, of Abigail of Carmel, the former wife of Nabal. And the third [was] Absalom, the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur.
4 And the fourth [was] Adonijah, the son of Haggith. And the fifth [was] Shephatiah, the son of Abital.
5 And the sixth [was] Ithream, by Eglah, David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
6 And it happened, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul.
7 And Saul had a concubine whose name [was] Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. And [Ishbosheth] said to Abner, Why have you gone in to my father's concubine?
8 And Abner was very angry over the words of Ishbosheth, and said, [Am] I a dog's head, who shows kindness against Judah this day to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hand of David? [Am] I a dog's head that you charge me today with a fault concerning this woman today?
9 So may God do to Abner, and more also, if I do not do to David as the LORD has sworn,
10 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 Beer-sheba.
11 And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.
12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose [is] the land? He said, Cut your covenant with me, and, behold, my hand [shall be] with you, to bring about all Israel to you.
13 And he said, Good! I will cut a covenant with you, but one thing I ask of you, saying, You shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come to see my face.
14 And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul's son, saying, Deliver my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to me for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.
15 And Ishbosheth sent and took her from [her] husband, from Phaltiel the son of Laish.
16 And her husband went along with her, weeping behind her, to Bahurim. And Abner said to him, Go, return! And he returned.
17 The word of Abner was with the elders of Israel, saying, You sought for David in times past [to be] king over you.
18 And 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.
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 to Israel, and all that seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin.
20 And Abner came to David at Hebron, and twenty men came with him. And David made a feast for Abner and the men who [were] with him.
21 And Abner said to David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel to my lord the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, and so 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 had gone in peace.
23 And Joab and all the army with him came, 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 And Joab came to the king and said, What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you. Why [is] this, [that] you have sent him away, and he has already gone?
25 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.
26 And Joab left David and sent messengers after Abner, who brought him again from the well of Sirah. But David did not know.
27 And Abner returned to Hebron. And Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him privately. And [he] struck him there in the belly, and he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.
28 And afterward David heard, and said, My kingdom and I [are] guiltless before the LORD forever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner.
29 Let it whirl about the head of Joab, and on all his father's house. And let there not fail from the house of Joab one who has an issue, or who is a leper, or who leans on a staff, or who falls on the sword, or who lacks bread.
30 And Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.
31 And David said to Joab and to all the people with him, Tear your clothes and gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David followed 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 mourned over Abner and said, Did Abner die like a fool dies?
34 Your hands [were] not bound, nor your feet put into fetters; as a man falls before wicked men, so you fell. And all the people wept again over him.
35 And all the people came to cause David to eat food while it was still day; David swore, saying, So let God do to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else until the sun is down.
36 And all the people took notice, and it pleased them, as whatever the king did pleased all the people.
37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to kill Abner the son of Ner.
38 And the king said to his servants, Do you not know that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?
39 And I [am] weak this day, though anointed king. And these men, the sons of Zeruiah, [are] too hard for me. The LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.