1 Therefore after these things David counselled with the Lord, and said, Whether I shall go up into one of the cities of Judah? And the Lord said to him, Go thou up. And David said to the Lord, Whither shall I go up? And the Lord answered to him, Into Hebron.
2 Therefore David went up, and his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail, the wife of Nabal of Carmel.
3 But also David led the men that were with him, each man with his house; and they dwelled in the towns of Hebron.
4 And the men of Judah came, and anointed there David, that he should reign upon the house of Judah. And it was told to David, that [the] men of Jabesh of Gilead had buried Saul.
5 Therefore David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh of Gilead, and said to them, Blessed be ye of the Lord, that did this mercy with your lord Saul, and buried him.
6 And now soothly the Lord shall yield to you mercy and truth, but also I shall yield thanking, for ye did this word.
7 Your hands be comforted, and be ye the sons of strength; for though your lord Saul is dead, nevertheless the house of Judah hath anointed me king to him.
8 Forsooth Abner, the son of Ner, prince of the host of Saul, took Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, and led him about by the castles [or tents],
9 and made him king on Gilead, and on Ashurites, and on Jezreel, and on Ephraim, and on Benjamin, and on all Israel.
10 Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, was of forty years, when he began to reign upon Israel; and he reigned two years. Soothly the house alone of Judah pursued [or followed] David.
11 And the number of days, by which David dwelled reigning in Hebron on the house of Judah, was of seven years and six months.
12 And Abner, the son of Ner, went out, and the children or young men of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, from the castles [or tents] in[to] Gibeon.
13 And Joab, the son of Zeruiah, and the children of David, went out, and they came to them beside the cistern of Gibeon. And when they had come together into one place even against either other, these sat on one part of the cistern, and they on the tother.
14 And Abner said to Joab, The children rise, and play before us* That is, ‘show their strength and nobility’; and here ‘play’ is set for ‘slay’ either ‘fight’.. And Joab answered, Rise they up.
15 Then they rose up, and passed forth twelve in number of Benjamin, of the part of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul; and twelve of the servants of David.
16 And each man, when he had taken his fellow by the head, fixed his sword into the side of his adversary; and they felled down together. And the name of that place was called The Field of Men Slain Together, in Gibeon.
17 And full hard battle rose in that day; and Abner and the sons of Israel were driven away of the servants of David.
18 Forsooth three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel; and Asahel was a full swift runner, as one of the caprets that dwell in woods.
19 And Asahel pursued Abner, and he bowed neither to the right side, nor to the left side, ceasing to pursue Abner.
20 Therefore Abner beheld behind his back, and said, Whether thou art Asahel? Which answered, I am.
21 And Abner said to him, Go thou to the right side, either to the left side; and take one of the young men, and take to thee his spoils. But Asahel would not cease, that not he pursued him.
22 And again Abner spake to Asahel, Go thou away; do not thou pursue me, lest I be compelled to pierce thee into the earth, and I shall not be able to raise then my face to Joab, thy brother.
23 And Asahel despised to hear, and would not bow away. Therefore Abner smote him with the spear turned away, that is, turned against him, in the share-bone, that is, behind the maw, in the fifth rib, under which be the members of life, and pierced [him] through, and he was dead in the same place; and all men that passed by the place, in which place Asahel felled down, and was dead, stood still.
24 And while Joab and Abishai pursued Abner fleeing, the sun went down; and they came to the little hill of a water conduit, that is even against the valley, and the way of desert in Gibeon.
25 And the sons of Benjamin were gathered to Abner, and they were gathered together into one company, and they stood in the height of an heap of earth.
26 And Abner cried to Joab, and said, Whether thy sword shall be fierce unto slaying? Whether thou knowest not, that despair is perilous? How long sayest thou not to the people, that it cease to pursue his brethren?
27 And Joab said, The Lord liveth, for if thou haddest spoken thus early, the people pursuing his brother had gone away.
28 And Joab sounded with a clarion, and all the host stood still; and they pursued no further Israel, neither began battle.
29 And Abner and his men went from thence by the field places of Moab in all that night, and they passed [over] Jordan; and when all Bithron was compassed, they came to the castles [or tents].
30 And when Abner was left off, Joab turned again, and gathered together all his people; and ten men and nine, besides Asahel, failed of the servants of David.
31 Forsooth the servants of David smited of Benjamin, and of the men that were with Abner, three hundred men and sixty, which also were dead.
32 And they took Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father in Bethlehem. And Joab, and the men that were with him, went in all that night, and in that morrowtide they came into Hebron.
*CHAPTER 2:14 That is, ‘show their strength and nobility’; and here ‘play’ is set for ‘slay’ either ‘fight’.