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2 Samuel Chapter 3 | Parsha:

1The war between the House of Saul and the House of David was long-drawn-out; but David kept growing stronger, while the House of Saul grew weaker.

2Sons were born to David in Hebron: His first-born was Amnon, by Ahinoam of Jezreel; 3his second was Chileab, by Abigail wife of Nabal the Carmelite; the third was Absalom son of Maacah, daughter of King Talmai of Geshur; 4the fourth was Adonijah son of Haggith; the fifth was Shephatiah son of Abital; 5and the sixth was Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.

6During the war between the House of Saul and the House of David, Abner supported the House of Saul. 7Now Saul had a concubine named Rizpah, daughter of Aiah; and [Ish-bosheth] said to Abner, “Why have you lain with my father’s concubine?” 8Abner was very upset by what Ish-bosheth said, and he replied, “Am I a dog’s head from Judah? Here I have been loyally serving the House of your father Saul and his kinsfolk and friends, and I have not betrayed you into the hands of David; yet this day you reproach me over a woman! 9May God do thus and more to Abner if I do not do for David as the Lord swore to him— 10to transfer the kingship from the House of Saul, and to establish the throne of David over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beer-sheba.” 11[Ish-bosheth] could say nothing more in reply to Abner, because he was afraid of him.

12Abner immediately sent messengers to David, saying, “To whom shall the land belong?” and to say [further], “Make a pact with me, and I will help you and bring all Israel over to your side.” 13He replied, “Good; I will make a pact with you. But I make one demand upon you: Do not appear before me unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come before me.” 14David also sent messengers to Ish-bosheth son of Saul, to say, “Give me my wife Michal, for whom I paid the bride-price of one hundred Philistine foreskins.” 15So Ish-bosheth sent and had her taken away from [her] husband, Paltiel son of Laish. 16Her husband walked with her as far as Bahurim, weeping as he followed her; then Abner ordered him to turn back, and he went back.

17Abner had conferred with the elders of Israel, saying, “You have wanted David to be king over you all along. 18Now act! For the Lord has said concerning David: I will deliver My people Israel from the hands of the Philistines and all its other enemies through My servant David.” 19Abner also talked with the Benjaminites; then Abner went and informed David in Hebron of all the wishes of Israel and of the whole House of Benjamin.

20When Abner came to David in Hebron, accompanied by twenty men, David made a feast for Abner and the men with him. 21Abner said to David, “Now I will go and rally all Israel to Your Majesty. They will make a pact with you, and you can reign over all that your heart desires.” And David dismissed Abner, who went away unharmed.

22Just then David’s soldiers and Joab returned from a raid, bringing much plunder with them; Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, for he had been dismissed and had gone away unharmed. 23When Joab and the whole force with him arrived, Joab was told that Abner son of Ner had come to the king, had been dismissed by him, and had gone away unharmed. 24Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Here Abner came to you; why did you let him go? Now he has gotten away! 25Don’t you know that Abner son of Ner came only to deceive you, to learn your comings and goings and to find out all that you are planning?” 26Joab left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern of Sirah; but David knew nothing about it. 27When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside within the gate to talk to him privately; there he struck him in the belly. Thus [Abner] died for shedding the blood of Asahel, Joab’s brother.

28Afterward, when David heard of it, he said, “Both I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord of shedding the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29May [the guilt] fall upon the head of Joab and all his father’s house. May the house of Joab never be without someone suffering from a discharge or an eruption, or a male who handles the spindle, or one slain by the sword, or one lacking bread.”— 30Now Joab and his brother Abishai had killed Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel during the battle at Gibeon.— 31David then ordered Joab and all the troops with him to rend their clothes, gird on sackcloth, and make lament before Abner; and King David himself walked behind the bier. 32And so they buried Abner at Hebron; the king wept aloud by Abner’s grave, and all the troops wept. 33And the king intoned this dirge over Abner,
“Should Abner have died the death of a churl?

34Your hands were not bound,
Your feet were not put in fetters;
But you fell as one falls
Before treacherous men!”
And all the troops continued to weep over him.

35All the troops came to urge David to eat something while it was still day; but David swore, “May God do thus to me and more if I eat bread or anything else before sundown.” 36All the troops took note of it and approved, just as all the troops approved everything else the king did. 37That day all the troops and all Israel knew that it was not by the king’s will that Abner son of Ner was killed. 38And the king said to his soldiers, “You well know that a prince, a great man in Israel, has fallen this day. 39And today I am weak, even though anointed king; those men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too savage for me. May the Lord requite the wicked for their wickedness!”

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