1 Afterward David inquired of Jehovah, saying: “Should I go up into one of the cities of Judah?” Jehovah said to him: “Go up.” David then asked: “Where should I go?” He replied: “To Hebʹron.”
2 So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinʹoam of Jezʹreel and Abʹigail the widow of Naʹbal the Carʹmelite.
3 David also brought the men who were with him, each with his household, and they settled in the cities around Hebʹron.
4 Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David as king over the house of Judah. They told David: “The men of Jaʹbesh-gilʹead were the ones who buried Saul.”
5 So David sent messengers to the men of Jaʹbesh-gilʹead and said to them: “May you be blessed by Jehovah, because you showed loyal love to your lord Saul by burying him.
6 May Jehovah show loyal love and faithfulness to you. I will also show you kindness because you have done this.
7 Now let your hands be strong and be courageous men, for your lord Saul is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me as king over them.”
8 But Abʹner the son of Ner, the chief of Saul’s army, had taken Saul’s son Ish-boʹsheth and brought him across to Mahanaʹim
9 and made him king over Gilʹead, the Ashʹurites, Jezʹreel, Eʹphraim, Benjamin, and over all Israel.
10 Ish-boʹsheth, Saul’s son, was 40 years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned for two years. The house of Judah, however, supported David.
11 The time that David was king in Hebʹron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
12 In time Abʹner the son of Ner and the servants of Ish-boʹsheth, Saul’s son, went out from Mahanaʹim to Gibʹeon.
13 Joʹab the son of Zeruʹiah and the servants of David also went out and encountered them at the pool of Gibʹeon; and one group sat on this side of the pool, and the other group on that side of the pool.
14 Finally Abʹner said to Joʹab: “Let the young men get up and engage in combat before us.” To this Joʹab said: “Let them get up.”
15 So they got up and crossed over by number, 12 for Benjamin and Saul’s son Ish-boʹsheth and 12 from the servants of David.
16 They grabbed one another by the head and each of them thrust his sword into the side of his opponent, and they all fell down together. So that place, which is in Gibʹeon, was called Helʹkath-hazzuʹrim.
17 The fighting that ensued was extremely fierce that day, and Abʹner and the men of Israel were finally defeated before the servants of David.
18 Now the three sons of Zeruʹiah were there—Joʹab, Abishʹai, and Asʹahel; and Asʹahel was as swift on his feet as a gazelle in the open field.
19 Asʹahel chased after Abʹner, and he would not veer to the right or to the left in his pursuit of Abʹner.
20 When Abʹner looked behind, he asked, “Is that you, Asʹahel?” to which he replied, “Yes, it is.”
21 Then Abʹner said to him: “Veer to your right or to your left and capture one of the young men, and take whatever you strip off him for yourself.” But Asʹahel did not want to stop chasing him.
22 So Abʹner said to Asʹahel once again: “Stop chasing me. Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joʹab in the face?”
23 But he kept refusing to stop, so Abʹner struck him in the abdomen with the butt end of the spear, and the spear came out from his back; and he fell there and died on the spot. Everyone who came to the place where Asʹahel fell and died would stop and pause there.
24 Then Joʹab and Abishʹai went in pursuit of Abʹner. As the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Amʹmah, which faces Giʹah on the way to the wilderness of Gibʹeon.
25 There the Benʹjaminites gathered together behind Abʹner, and they formed one company and made a stand on the top of a certain hill.
26 Then Abʹner called out to Joʹab: “Is the sword going to devour endlessly? Do you not know that the outcome will only be bitterness? How long, then, will it be before you tell the people to turn back from pursuing their brothers?”
27 At that Joʹab said: “As surely as the true God is living, if you had not spoken, then only by the morning would the people have stopped pursuing their brothers.”
28 Joʹab now blew the horn, and his men stopped chasing after Israel, and the fighting ceased.
29 Abʹner and his men then marched through the Arʹabah all that night and crossed the Jordan and marched through the entire ravine and finally came to Mahanaʹim.
30 After Joʹab turned back from pursuing Abʹner, he gathered all the people together. Of David’s servants, 19 were missing, in addition to Asʹahel.
31 But the servants of David had defeated the Benʹjaminites and the men of Abʹner, and 360 of their men had died.
32 They took Asʹahel and buried him in his father’s tomb, which is at Bethʹlehem. Then Joʹab and his men marched all night long, and they reached Hebʹron at daybreak.