3:22 Now David’s soldiers31 and Joab were coming back from a raid, bringing a great deal of plunder with them. Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, for David32 had sent him away and he had left in peace. 3:23 When Joab and all the army that was with him arrived, Joab was told: “Abner the son of Ner came to the king; he sent him away, and he left in peace!”
3:24 So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Abner33 has come to you! Why would you send him away? Now he’s gone on his way!34 3:25 You know Abner the son of Ner! Surely he came here to spy on you and to determine when you leave and when you return35 and to discover everything that you are doing!”
3:26 Then Joab left David and sent messengers after Abner. They brought him back from the well of Sirah. (But David was not aware of it.) 3:27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside at the gate as if to speak privately with him. Joab then stabbed him36 in the abdomen and killed him, avenging the shed blood of his brother Asahel.37
3:28 When David later heard about this, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord of the shed blood of Abner son of Ner! 3:29 May his blood whirl over38 the head of Joab and the entire house of his father!39 May the males of Joab’s house40 never cease to have41 someone with a running sore or a skin disease or one who works at the spindle42 or one who falls by the sword or one who lacks food!”
3:30 So Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel in Gibeon during the battle.
3:31 David instructed Joab and all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes! Put on sackcloth! Lament before Abner!” Now King David followed43 behind the funeral bier. 3:32 So they buried Abner in Hebron. The king cried loudly44 over Abner’s grave and all the people wept too. 3:33 The king chanted the following lament for Abner:
“Should Abner have died like a fool?
3:34 Your hands45 were not bound,
and your feet were not put into irons.
You fell the way one falls before criminals.”
All the people46 wept over him again. 3:35 Then all the people came and encouraged David to eat food while it was still day. But David took an oath saying, “God will punish me severely47 if I taste bread or anything whatsoever before the sun sets!”
3:36 All the people noticed this and it pleased them.48 In fact, everything the king did pleased all the people. 3:37 All the people and all Israel realized on that day that the killing of Abner son of Ner was not done at the king’s instigation.49
3:38 Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not realize that a great leader50 has fallen this day in Israel? 3:39 Today I am weak, even though I am anointed as king. These men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too much for me to bear!51 May the Lord punish appropriately the one who has done this evil thing!”52
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