1 Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David grew stronger and stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
2 And sons were born to David in Hebron: and his first-born was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess,
3 and his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite, and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur,
4 and the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith, and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital,
5 and the sixth, Ithream, of Eglah, David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
6 And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong in the house of Saul.
7 Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. And [Ish-bosheth] said to Abner, Why have thou gone in to my father's concubine?
8 Then Abner was very angry for the words of Ish-bosheth, and said, Am I a dog's head that belongs to Judah? This day I show kindness to the house of Saul thy father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee i
9 God do so to Abner, and more also, if, as LORD has sworn to David, I do not even so to him,
10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba.
11 And he could not answer Abner another word because he feared him.
12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose is the land? [And] saying, Make thy league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee to bring about all Israel to thee.
13 And he said, Well! I will make a league with thee, but one thing I require of thee. That is, thou shall not see my face unless thou first bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when thou come to see my face.
14 And David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, saying, Deliver to me my wife Michal whom I betrothed to me for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.
15 And Ish-bosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Paltiel the son of Laish.
16 And her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, Go, return, and he returned.
17 And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, In times past ye sought for David to be king over you.
18 Now then do it, for LORD has spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.
19 And Abner also spoke in the ears of Benjamin. And Abner also went to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and to the whole house of Benjamin.
20 So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men who were with him a feast.
21 And Abner said to David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel to my lord the king that they may make a covenant with thee, and that thou may reign over all that thy soul desires. And David sent Abner away, and he went in
22 And, behold, the servants of David and Joab came from a foray, and brought in a great spoil with them, but Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace.
23 When Joab and all the army that was with him came, they told Joab, saying, Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has sent him away, and he has gone in peace.
24 Then Joab came to the king, and said, What have thou done? Behold, Abner came to thee. Why is it that thou have sent him away, and he is quite gone?
25 Thou know Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know all that thou do.
26 And when Joab came out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah, but David knew it not.
27 And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the midst of the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there in the body, so that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.
28 And afterward, when David heard it, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before LORD forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner.
29 Let it fall upon the head of Joab, and upon all his father's house. And let there not fail from the house of Joab one who has an issue, or who is a leper, or who leans on a staff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks bread.
30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.
31 And David said to Joab, and to all the people who were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David followed the bier.
32 And they buried Abner in Hebron. And the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept.
33 And the king lamented for Abner, and said, Should Abner die as a fool dies?
34 Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters. As a man falls before the sons of iniquity, so did thou fall. And all the people wept again over him.
35 And all the people came to cause David to eat bread while it was yet day, but David swore, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or anything else, till the sun is down.
36 And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them, as whatever the king did pleased all the people.
37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to kill Abner the son of Ner.
38 And the king said to his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?
39 And I am this day weak, though anointed king, and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me. LORD reward the evil-doer according to his wickedness.