1 And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of HaShem, saying: 'Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?' And HaShem said unto him: 'Go up.' And David said: 'Whither shall I go up?' And He said: 'Unto Hebron.'
2 So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.
3 And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household; and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.
4 And the men of Judah came, and they there anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying: 'The men of Jabesh-gilead were they that buried Saul.'
5 And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said unto them: 'Blessed be ye of HaShem, that ye have shown this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him.
6 And now HaShem show kindness and truth unto you; and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing.
7 Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be ye valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.'
8 Now Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host, had taken Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim;
9 and he made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.
10 Ish-bosheth Saul's son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.
11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
12 And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out; and they met together by the pool of Gibeon, and sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.
14 And Abner said to Joab: 'Let the young men, I pray thee, arise and play before us.' And Joab said: 'Let them arise.'
15 Then they arose and passed over by number: twelve for Benjamin, and for Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.
16 And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow's side; so they fell down together; wherefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon.
17 And the battle was very sore that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.
18 And the three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel; and Asahel was as light of foot as one of the roes that are in the field.
19 And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner.
20 Then Abner looked behind him, and said: 'Is it thou, Asahel?' And he answered: 'It is I.'
21 And Abner said to him: 'Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take thee his armour.' But Asahel would not turn aside from following him.
22 And Abner said again to Asahel: 'Turn thee aside from following me; wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? how then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother?'
23 Howbeit he refused to turn aside; wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him in the groin, that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place; and it came to pass, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still.
24 But Joab and Abishai pursued after Abner; and the sun went down when they were come to the hill of Ammah, that lieth before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.
25 And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one band, and stood on the top of a hill.
26 Then Abner called to Joab, and said: 'Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren?'
32 And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Beth-lehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and the day broke upon them at Hebron.
Sources: Portions copyright © 1997 by Benyamin Pilant, All Rights Reserved