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2 Samuel Chapter 2 | Parsha:

1Sometime afterward, David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” The Lord answered, “Yes.” David further asked, “Which one shall I go up to?” And the Lord replied, “To Hebron.” 2So David went up there, along with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 3David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in the towns about Hebron. 4The men of Judah came and there they anointed David king over the House of Judah.
David was told about the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.
5So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed of the Lord because you performed this act of faithfulness to your lord Saul and buried him. 6May the Lord in turn show you true faithfulness; and I too will reward you generously because you performed this act. 7Now take courage and be brave men; for your lord Saul is dead and the House of Judah have already anointed me king over them.”

8But Abner son of Ner, Saul’s army commander, had taken Ish-bosheth son of Saul and brought him across to Mahanaim 9and made him king over Gilead, the Ashurites, Jezreel, Ephraim, and Benjamin—over all Israel. 10Ish-bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king of Israel, and he reigned two years. But the House of Judah supported David. 11The length of time that David reigned in Hebron over the House of Judah was seven years and six months.

12Once Abner son of Ner and the soldiers of Ish-bosheth son of Saul marched out from Mahanaim to Gibeon, 13and Joab son of Zeruiah and the soldiers of David [also] came out. They confronted one another at the pool of Gibeon: one group sat on one side of the pool, and the other group on the other side of the pool. 14Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men come forward and sport before us.” “Yes, let them,” Joab answered. 15They came forward and were counted off, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth son of Saul, and twelve of David’s soldiers. 16Each one grasped his opponent’s head [and thrust] his dagger into his opponent’s side; thus they fell together. That place, which is in Gibeon, was called Helkath-hazzurim.

17A fierce battle ensued that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were routed by David’s soldiers. 18The three sons of Zeruiah were there—Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel was swift of foot, like a gazelle in the open field. 19And Asahel ran after Abner, swerving neither right nor left in his pursuit of Abner. 20Abner looked back and shouted, “Is that you, Asahel?” “Yes, it is,” he called back. 21Abner said to him, “Turn to the right or to the left, and seize one of our boys and strip off his tunic.” But Asahel would not leave off. 22Abner again begged Asahel, “Stop pursuing me, or I’ll have to strike you down. How will I look your brother Joab in the face?” 23When he refused to desist, Abner struck him in the belly with a backward thrust of his spear and the spear protruded from his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And all who came to the place where Asahel fell and died halted; 24but Joab and Abishai continued to pursue Abner. And the sun was setting as they reached the hill of Ammah, which faces Giah on the road to the wilderness of Gibeon.

25The Benjaminites rallied behind Abner, forming a single company; and they took up a position on the top of a hill. 26Abner then called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? You know how bitterly it’s going to end! How long will you delay ordering your troops to stop the pursuit of their kinsmen?” 27And Joab replied, “As God lives, if you hadn’t spoken up, the troops would have given up the pursuit of their kinsmen only the next morning.” 28Joab then sounded the horn, and all the troops halted; they ceased their pursuit of Israel and stopped the fighting. 29Abner and his men marched through the Arabah all that night and, after crossing the Jordan, they marched through all of Bithron until they came to Mahanaim. 30After Joab gave up the pursuit of Abner, he assembled all the troops and found nineteen of David’s soldiers missing, besides Asahel. 31David’s soldiers, on the other hand, defeated the Benjaminites and the men under Abner and killed three hundred and sixty men. 32They bore Asahel away and buried him in his father’s tomb in Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night; day broke upon them in Hebron.

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