April 6

2 Samuel 1:1 — 3:16

The Second of Samuel


1 And it came about after Saul’s death, and when David himself had returned from striking down the Amalekites, that David continued to dwell at Ziklag two days. 2 And it came about on the third day that, look! a man was coming from the camp, from Saul, with his garments ripped apart and dirt upon his head; and it came about that when he came to David, he at once fell down to the earth and prostrated himself.

3 And David proceeded to say to him: “Where do you come from?” at which he said to him: “From the camp of Israel I have escaped.” 4 And David went on to say to him: “How did the matter turn out? Tell me, please.” To this he said: “The people have fled from the battle and also many of the people have fallen so that they died, and even Saul and Jonathan his son have died.” 5 Then David said to the young man that was telling him: “How do you really know that Saul has died and also Jonathan his son?” 6 At this the young man that was telling him said: “I unexpectedly chanced to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul supporting himself upon his spear; and, look! the charioteers and the mounted men had caught up with him. 7 When he turned back and saw me, then he called me, and I said, ‘Here I am!’ 8 And he went on to say to me, ‘Who are you?’ at which I said to him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ 9 Then he said, ‘Stand, please, over me and definitely put me to death, for the cramp has seized me, because all my soul is yet in me.’ 10 So I stood over him and definitely put him to death, for I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. Then I took the diadem that was upon his head and the bracelet that was upon his arm, that I might bring them to my lord here.”

11 At this David took hold of his garments and ripped them apart, and so did all the men also that were with him. 12 And they began to wail and weep and fast until the evening over Saul and over Jonathan his son and over the people of Jehovah and over the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

13 David now said to the young man that was telling him: “Where are you from?” to which he said: “I am the son of an alien resident, an Amalekite.” 14 Then David said to him: “How was it that you did not fear to thrust your hand out to bring the anointed of Jehovah to ruin?” 15 With that David called one of the young men and said: “Go near. Smite him.” Accordingly he struck him down so that he died. 16 David then said to him: “The bloodguilt for you be upon your own head, because your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I myself definitely put the anointed of Jehovah to death.’”

17 And David proceeded to chant this dirge over Saul and Jonathan his son 18 and to say that the sons of Judah should be taught “The Bow.” Look! It is written in the book of Jashar:

19 “The beauty, O Israel, is slain upon your high places.

    How have the mighty men fallen!

20 Do not, YOU people, tell it in Gath;

          Do not announce it in the streets of Ashkelon,

    For fear that the daughters of the Philistines may rejoice,

    For fear that the daughters of the uncircumcised men may exult.

21 YOU mountains of Gilboa, let no dew, let no rain be upon YOU, nor let there be fields of holy contributions;

    Because there the shield of mighty ones was befouled,

    The shield of Saul, so that there was none anointed with oil.

22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of mighty ones,

    The bow of Jonathan did not turn back,

    And the sword of Saul would not return without success.

23 Saul and Jonathan, the lovable ones and the pleasant ones during their life,

          And in their death they were not separated.

    Swifter than the eagles they were,

    Mightier than the lions they were.

24 YOU daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,

    Who clothed YOU in scarlet with finery,

    Who put ornaments of gold upon YOUR clothing.

25 How have the mighty ones fallen in the midst of the battle!

    Jonathan slain upon your high places!

26 I am distressed over you, my brother Jonathan,

    Very pleasant you were to me.

    More wonderful was your love to me than the love from women.

27 How have the mighty ones fallen

    And the weapons of war perished

2 And it came about afterward that David proceeded to inquire of Jehovah, saying: “Shall I go up into one of the cities of Judah?” At this Jehovah said to him: “Go up.” And David went on to say: “Where shall I go up?” Then he said: “To Hebron.” 2 Accordingly David went up there and also his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 3 And the men that were with him David brought up, each with his household; and they took up dwelling in the cities of Hebron [territory]. 4 Then the men of Judah came and anointed David there as king over the house of Judah.

And they came telling David, saying: “The men of Jabesh-gilead were the ones that buried Saul.” 5 Hence David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them: “Blessed may YOU be of Jehovah, because YOU exercised this loving-kindness toward YOUR lord, toward Saul, in that YOU buried him. 6 And now may Jehovah exercise toward YOU loving-kindness and trustworthiness, and I too shall exercise to YOU this goodness because YOU have done this thing. 7 And now let YOUR hands strengthen themselves and prove yourselves valiant men, because YOUR lord Saul is dead, and it is even I whom the house of Judah have anointed as king over them.”

8 As for Abner the son of Ner the chief of the army that had belonged to Saul, he took Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, and proceeded to bring him across to Mahanaim, 9 and to make him king over Gilead and the Ashurites and Jezreel and over Ephraim and Benjamin and over Israel, all of it. 10 Forty years old Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, was when he became king over Israel, and for two years he ruled as king. Only the house of Judah proved themselves followers of David. 11 And the number of the days that David proved to be king in Hebron over the house of Judah came to be seven years and six months.

12 In time Abner the son of Ner and the servants of Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 As for Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David, they went out and later met together by the pool of Gibeon; and they kept sitting, these on this side of the pool and those on that side of the pool. 14 Finally Abner said to Joab: “Let the young men rise up, please, and let them put on a combat before us.” To this Joab said: “Let them rise up.” 15 So they rose up and went across by number, twelve belonging to Benjamin and Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, and twelve from the servants of David. 16 And they began grabbing hold of one another by the head, with the sword of each one in the side of the other, so that they fell down together. And that place came to be called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon.

17 And the fighting came to be extremely hard on that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were finally defeated before the servants of David. 18 Now the three sons of Zeruiah happened to be there, Joab and Abishai and Asahel; and Asahel was swift on his feet, like one of the gazelles that are in the open field. 19 And Asahel went chasing after Abner, and he did not incline to go to the right or to the left from following Abner. 20 At length Abner looked behind him and said: “Is this you, Asahel?” to which he said: “It is I.” 21 Then Abner said to him: “Veer to your right or to your left and seize one of the young men as yours and take what you strip off him as yours.” And Asahel did not want to turn aside from following him. 22 So Abner said to Asahel yet again: “Turn your course aside from following me. Why should I strike you down to the earth? How, then, could I raise my face to Joab your brother?” 23 But he kept refusing to turn aside; and Abner got to strike him in the abdomen with the butt end of the spear, so that the spear came out from his back; and he fell there and died where he was. And it came about that all those who came to the place where Asahel fell and then died would stand still.

24 And Joab and Abishai went chasing after Abner. As the sun was setting they themselves came to the hill of Ammah, which is in front of Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 And the sons of Benjamin went collecting together behind Abner, and they came to be one company and kept standing upon the top of one hill. 26 And Abner began to call to Joab and say: “Is the sword going to eat endlessly? Do you not really know that bitterness is what will develop at last? How long, then, will it be before you say to the people to turn back from following their brothers?” 27 At that Joab said: “As the [true] God is living, if you had not spoken, then only by the morning would the people have been withdrawn, each one from following his brother.” 28 Joab now blew the horn, and all the people came to a halt and did not continue chasing after Israel anymore, and they did not renew the fighting anymore.

29 As for Abner and his men, they marched through the Arabah all that night and went crossing the Jordan and marching through the entire gully and finally came to Mahanaim. 30 As for Joab, he turned back from following Abner and began to collect all the people together. And there were missing from the servants of David nineteen men and Asahel. 31 And the servants of David, for their part, had struck down those of Benjamin and of the men of Abner—there were three hundred and sixty men that died. 32 And they proceeded to carry Asahel and bury him in the burial place of his father, which is at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men went marching on all night long, and it became daylight for them at Hebron.

3 And the war between the house of Saul and the house of David came to be long drawn out; and David kept getting stronger, and the house of Saul kept declining more and more.

2 Meantime, sons were born to David in Hebron, and his firstborn came to be Amnon by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess. 3 And his second was Chileab by Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite, and the third was Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai the 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 the ones born to David in Hebron.

6 And it came about that while the war between the house of Saul and the house of David kept up, Abner himself was continually strengthening his position in the house of Saul. 7 Now Saul had had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. Later Ish-bosheth said to Abner: “Why was it that you had relations with the concubine of my father?” 8 And Abner got very angry at the words of Ish-bosheth and went on to say: “Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I keep exercising loving-kindness toward the house of Saul your father, to his brothers and his personal friends, and I have not let you find yourself in the hand of David; and yet you call me to account for an error concerning a woman today. 9 So may God do to Abner and so may he add to it, if, just as Jehovah swore to David, that is not the way that I shall do to him, 10 so as to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah from Dan to Beer-sheba.” 11 And he was not able to say one word more in reply to Abner because of being afraid of him.

12 Accordingly Abner sent messengers to David on the spot, saying: “To whom does the land belong?” adding: “Do conclude your covenant with me, and, look! my hand will be with you to turn to your side the whole of Israel.” 13 To this he said: “Good! I myself shall conclude a covenant with you. Only one thing there is that I am asking of you, saying, ‘You may not see my face except first you bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.’” 14 Further, David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, saying: “Do give over my wife Michal, whom I engaged to myself for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 So Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband, Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 But her husband kept walking with her, weeping as he walked after her as far as Bahurim. Then Abner said to him: “Go, return!” At that he returned.