1 Later David asked Jehovah: »Shall I go to the towns of Judah?« »Yes,« Jehovah answered. »Which one?« David asked. »Hebron,« Jehovah told him.
2 David went to Hebron. He took his two wives: Ahinoam from Jezreel, and Abigail, Nabals widow from Carmel with him.
3 He also took his men and their families. They settled in the towns around Hebron.
4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron. They anointed David as king of Judah. David heard that the people of Jabesh-gilead Jabesh in Gilead buried Saul.
5 He sent some men there with the message: »Jehovah blesses you for showing your loyalty to your king by burying him.
6 »May Jehovah always show you kindness. I also will be good to you because you did this.
7 »Be strong and courageous. Your master Saul is dead. Therefore the tribe of Judah has anointed me to be their king.«
8 Ners son Abner, commander of Sauls army, took Sauls son Ishbosheth and brought him to Mahanaim.
9 Abner made him king of Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, and Benjamin, that is, all Israel.
10 Sauls son Ishbosheth was forty years old when he became king of Israel. He ruled for two years. However the tribe of Judah followed David.
11 In Hebron David was king over the tribe of Judah for seven years and six months.
12 One time Abner and the soldiers of Ishbosheth left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon.
13 At that time Joab the son of Zeruiah was leading Davids soldiers. The two groups met at the pool in Gibeon. Abner and his men sat down on one side of the pool and Joab and his men sat on the other side.
14 Abner yelled to Joab: »Let some of our best soldiers get up and fight each other!« Joab agreed.
15 Twelve of Ishbosheths men from the tribe of Benjamin got up to fight twelve of Davids men.
16 Each one grabbed his opponent by the head. Then he stuck his sword into his opponents side, and they fell down together. That place in Gibeon is called the Field of Enemies.
17 Fierce fighting broke out that day. In the end, Davids men defeated Abner and the men of Israel.
18 Zeruiahs three sons were there: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel was as fast on his feet as a wild gazelle.
19 So Asahel started chasing Abner. He ran straight for him.
20 Abner looked behind and asked: »Are you Asahel?« He answered: »I am.«
21 Abner said: »Soldiers are all around us. Stop chasing me and fight one of them! Kill him and take his clothes and weapons for yourself.« But Asahel refused to stop.
22 Abner spoke again to Asahel: »If you do not turn back, I will have to kill you! Then I could never face your brother Joab again.«
23 However, Asahel would not turn back. So Abner struck him in the stomach with the back end of his spear. The spear went all the way through and came out of his back. Asahel fell down and died. Everyone who saw Asahel lying dead just stopped and stood still.
24 Joab and Abishai ran after Abner. It was sun down when they arrived at the hill of Ammah. This hill is near Giah on the road to the wilderness of Gibeon.
25 The men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They became united as one and stood on the top of a hill.
26 Then Abner called to Joab: Must the sword devour forever? Do you not understand it will be bitter to the end? How long before you command the people to return from chasing their brothers?
27 Joab said: »As God lives; if you had not spoken the men would have continued following their brothers.«
28 So Joab blew a rams horn and all the troops stopped. They did not chase or fight Israel anymore.
29 That night Abner and his men marched through the plains. They crossed the Jordan River and passed through the entire Bithron until they came to Mahanaim.
30 Joab returned from chasing Abner. He gathered the troops. Nineteen of Davids officers and Asahel were missing.
31 Davids men killed three hundred and sixty of the men of Benjamin under Abners command.
32 They buried Asahel in his fathers tomb in Bethlehem. Joab and his men marched all night. They arrived at Hebron at daybreak.