2After this, David asked the LORD, "Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?" "Yes," the LORD replied. Then David asked, "Which town should I go to?" "To Hebron," the LORD answered.H310H1732H7592H3068H559H5927H259H5892H3063H3068H559H5927H1732H559H5927H559H2275 2David's two wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. So David and his wivesH1732H5927H8147H802H293H3159H26H5037H802H3761 3and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron.H582H1732H5927H376H1004H3427H5892H2275 4Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah. When David heard that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul,H582H3063H935H4886H1732H4428H1004H3063H5046H1732H559H582H3003H1568H6912H7586 5he sent them this message: "May the LORD bless you for being so loyal to your master Saul and giving him a decent burial.H1732H7971H4397H582H3003H1568H559H1288H3068H6213H2617H113H7586H6912 6May the LORD be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love! And I, too, will reward you for what you have done.H3068H6213H2617H571H6213H2896H6213H1697 7Now that Saul is dead, I ask you to be my strong and loyal subjects like the people of Judah, who have anointed me as their new king."H3027H2388H1121H2428H113H7586H4191H1004H3063H4886H4428 8But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul's army, had already gone to Mahanaim with Saul's son Ishbosheth.H74H1121H5369H8269H7586H6635H3947H378H1121H7586H5674H4266 9There he proclaimed Ishbosheth king over Gilead, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, the land of the Ashurites, and all the rest of Israel.H4427H1568H805H3157H669H1144H3478 10Ishbosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he became king, and he ruled from Mahanaim for two years. Meanwhile, the people of Judah remained loyal to David.H378H7586H1121H705H8141H1121H4427H3478H4427H8147H8141H1004H3063H310H1732 11David made Hebron his capital, and he ruled as king of Judah for seven and a half years.H4557H3117H1732H4428H2275H1004H3063H7651H8141H8337H2320 12One day Abner led Ishbosheth's troops from Mahanaim to Gibeon.H74H1121H5369H5650H378H1121H7586H3318H4266H1391 13About the same time, Joab son of Zeruiah led David's troops out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. The two groups sat down there, facing each other from opposite sides of the pool.H3097H1121H6870H5650H1732H3318H6298H3162H1295H1391H3427H1295H1295 14Then Abner suggested to Joab, "Let's have a few of our warriors fight hand to hand here in front of us." "All right," Joab agreed.H74H559H3097H5288H6965H7832H6440H3097H559H6965 15So twelve men were chosen to fight from each side—twelve men of Benjamin representing Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve representing David.H6965H5674H4557H8147H6240H1144H378H1121H7586H8147H6240H5650H1732 16Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other's side so that all of them died. So this place at Gibeon has been known ever since as the Field of Swords.H2388H376H7453H7218H2719H7453H6654H5307H3162H4725H7121H2521H1391 17A fierce battle followed that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the forces of David.H3966H7186H4421H3117H74H5062H582H3478H6440H5650H1732 18Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David's forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle,H7969H1121H6870H3097H52H6214H6214H7031H7272H259H7704H6643 19and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything.H6214H7291H310H74H3212H5186H3225H8040H310H74 20When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, "Is that you, Asahel?" "Yes, it is," he replied.H74H6437H310H559H6214H559 21"Go fight someone else!" Abner warned. "Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons." But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner.H74H559H5186H3225H8040H270H259H5288H3947H2488H6214H14H5493H310 22Again Abner shouted to him, "Get away from here! I don't want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?"H74H559H3254H6214H5493H310H5221H776H5375H6440H3097H251 23But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrust the butt end of his spear through Asahel's stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there.H3985H5493H74H310H2595H5221H413H2570H2595H3318H310H5307H4191H8478H935H4725H6214H5307H4191H5975 24When Joab and Abishai found out what had happened, they set out after Abner. The sun was just going down as they arrived at the hill of Ammah near Giah, along the road to the wilderness of Gibeon.H3097H52H7291H310H74H8121H935H935H1389H522H6440H1520H1870H4057H1391 25Abner's troops from the tribe of Benjamin regrouped there at the top of the hill to take a stand.H1121H1144H6908H310H74H259H92H5975H7218H1389 26Abner shouted down to Joab, "Must we always be killing each other? Don't you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?"H74H7121H3097H559H2719H398H5331H3045H4751H314H559H5971H7725H310H251 27Then Joab said, "God only knows what would have happened if you hadn't spoken, for we would have chased you all night if necessary."H3097H559H430H2416H3884H1696H1242H5971H5927H376H310H251 28So Joab blew the ram's horn, and his men stopped chasing the troops of Israel.H3097H8628H7782H5971H5975H7291H310H3478H3898H3254 29All that night Abner and his men retreated through the Jordan Valley. They crossed the Jordan River, traveling all through the morning, and didn't stop until they arrived at Mahanaim.H74H582H1980H3915H6160H5674H3383H3212H1338H935H4266 30Meanwhile, Joab and his men also returned home. When Joab counted his casualties, he discovered that only 19 men were missing in addition to Asahel.H3097H7725H310H74H6908H5971H6908H6485H1732H5650H8672H6240H376H6214 31But 360 of Abner's men had been killed, all from the tribe of Benjamin.H5650H1732H5221H1144H74H582H7969H3967H8346H376H4191 32Joab and his men took Asahel's body to Bethlehem and buried him there in his father's tomb. Then they traveled all night and reached Hebron at daybreak.H5375H6214H6912H6913H1H1035H3097H582H3212H3915H2275H215
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