David’s Army Clashes with the Army of Saul
2:8 Now Abner son of Ner, the general in command of Saul’s army, had taken Saul’s son Ish-bosheth10 and had brought him to Mahanaim. 2:9 He appointed him king over Gilead, the Geshurites,11 Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and all Israel. 2:10 Ish-bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he began to rule over Israel. He ruled two years. However, the people12 of Judah followed David. 2:11 David was king in Hebron over the people of Judah for seven and a half years.13
2:12 Then Abner son of Ner and the servants of Ish-bosheth son of Saul went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 2:13 Joab son of Zeruiah and the servants of David also went out and confronted them at the pool of Gibeon. One group stationed themselves on one side of the pool, and the other group on the other side of the pool. 2:14 Abner said to Joab, “Let the soldiers get up and fight14 before us.” Joab said, “So be it!”15
2:15 So they got up and crossed over by number: twelve belonging to Benjamin and to Ish-bosheth son of Saul, and twelve from the servants of David. 2:16 As they grappled with one another, each one stabbed his opponent with his sword and they fell dead together.16 So that place is called the Field of Flints;17 it is in Gibeon.
2:17 Now the battle was very severe that day; Abner and the men of Israel were overcome by David’s soldiers.18 2:18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there—Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. (Now Asahel was as quick on his feet as one of the gazelles in the field.) 2:19 Asahel chased Abner, without turning to the right or to the left as he followed Abner.
2:20 Then Abner turned and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?” He replied, “Yes it is!” 2:21 Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right or to your left. Capture one of the soldiers19 and take his equipment for yourself!” But Asahel was not willing to turn aside from following him. 2:22 So Abner spoke again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me! I do not want to strike you to the ground.20 How then could I show21 my face in the presence of Joab your brother?” 2:23 But Asahel22 refused to turn aside. So Abner struck him in the abdomen with the back end of his23 spear. The spear came out his back; Asahel24 collapsed on the spot and died there right before Abner.25 Everyone who now comes to the place where Asahel fell dead pauses in respect.26
2:24 So Joab and Abishai chased Abner. At sunset they came to the hill of Ammah near Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. 2:25 The Benjaminites formed their ranks27 behind Abner and were like a single army, standing at the top of a certain hill.
2:26 Then Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will turn bitter in the end? When will you tell the people to turn aside from pursuing their brothers?” 2:27 Joab replied, “As surely as God lives, if you had not said this, it would have been morning before the people would have abandoned pursuit28 of their brothers!” 2:28 Then Joab blew the ram’s horn and all the people stopped in their tracks.29 They stopped chasing Israel and ceased fighting.30 2:29 Abner and his men went through the Arabah all that night. They crossed the Jordan River31 and went through the whole region of Bitron32 and came to Mahanaim.
2:30 Now Joab returned from chasing Abner and assembled all the people. Nineteen of David’s soldiers were missing, in addition to Asahel. 2:31 But David’s soldiers had slaughtered the Benjaminites and Abner’s men—in all, 360 men had died! 2:32 They took Asahel’s body and buried him in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem.33 Joab and his men then traveled all that night and reached Hebron by dawn. 3:1 However, the war was prolonged between the house of Saul and the house of David. David was becoming steadily stronger, while the house of Saul was becoming increasingly weaker.
3:2 Now sons were born to David in Hebron. His firstborn was Amnon, born to Ahinoam the Jezreelite. 3:3 His second son1 was Kileab, born to Abigail the widow2 of Nabal the Carmelite. His third son was Absalom, the son of Maacah daughter of King Talmai of Geshur. 3:4 His fourth son was Adonijah, the son of Haggith. His fifth son was Shephatiah, the son of Abitail. 3:5 His sixth son was Ithream, born to David’s wife Eglah. These sons3 were all born to David in Hebron.
About The NET Bible
Biblical Studies Press.