2 Samuel Chapter 1 to 3 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

Other Versions

David Learns About Saul’s Death

1 David went back to Ziklag after defeating the Amalekites. This was just after Saul had been killed. David had been there two days. 2Then, on the third day, a young soldier came to Ziklag. This man was from Saul’s camp. The man’s clothes were torn, and he had dirt on his head.* The man came to David and bowed with his face to the ground. 3David asked the man, “Where have you come from?” The man answered David, “I just came from the Israelite camp.” 4David said to the man, “Please tell me, who won the battle?” The man answered, “Our people ran away from the battle. Many of the people were killed in the battle. Even Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.” 5David said to the young soldier, “How do you know Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” 6The young soldier said, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa. I saw Saul leaning on his spear. The Philistine chariots and horse soldiers were coming closer and closer to Saul. 7Saul looked back and saw me. He called to me and I answered him. 8Then Saul asked me who I was. I told him that I was an Amalekite. 9Then Saul said, ‘Please kill me. I am hurt badly. And I am about to die anyway.’ 10He was hurt so bad that I knew he wouldn’t live. So I stopped and killed him. Then I took the crown from his head and the bracelet from his arm. And I brought them here to you, my lord.” 11Then David tore his clothes to show he was very sad. All the men with David did the same thing. 12They were very sad and cried. They did not eat until evening. They cried because Saul and his son Jonathan were dead. David and his men cried for the Lord’s people {that had been killed}, and they cried for Israel. They cried because Saul, his son Jonathan, and many Israelites had been killed in battle.

David Orders the Amalekite Killed

13Then David talked with the young soldier who had told him about Saul’s death. David asked, “Where are you from?” The young soldier answered, “I am the son of a foreigner. I am an Amalekite.” 14David said to the young soldier, “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s chosen king?” 15–16Then David told the Amalekite, “You are responsible for your own death. You said you killed the Lord’s chosen king, so your own words prove you are guilty.” Then David called one of his young servants and told him to kill the Amalekite. So the young Israelite killed the Amalekite.

David’s Song About Saul and Jonathan

17David sang a sad song about Saul and his son Jonathan. 18David told {his men} to teach the song to the people of Judah. {This song is called} The Bow. It is written in the Book of Jashar.* 19“Israel, your beauty was ruined on your hills. Oh, how those heroes fell! 20Don’t tell the news in Gath,* Don’t announce it in the streets of Ashkelon.* Those Philistine cities would be happy! Those foreigners* would be glad. 21I hope no rain or dew falls on the mountains of Gilboa. I hope there will be no offerings coming from those fields. The shields of the heroes rusted there. Saul’s shield was not rubbed with oil. 22Jonathan’s bow killed its share of enemies. And Saul’s sword killed its share! They have spilled the blood of men now dead. They cut into the fat of strong men. 23Saul and Jonathan loved and enjoyed each other in life, and even death did not separate them! They were faster than eagles and stronger than lions. 24Daughters of Israel, cry for Saul! Saul gave you beautiful red dresses and covered them with gold jewelry! 25Strong men have fallen in the battle. Jonathan is dead on Gilboa’s hills. 26Jonathan, my brother, I miss you so much! I enjoyed being with you so much. Your love for me was more wonderful than the love of women. 27Strong men have fallen in battle. The weapons of war are gone.”

clothes ... head This showed the man was very sad. Book of Jashar An ancient book about the wars of Israel. Gath The Philistine capital city. Ashkelon One of the five Philistine cities. foreigners Literally, “uncircumcised.” This shows the Philistines had not shared in Israel’s Agreement with God.

David and His Men Move to Hebron

2 Later David asked the Lord for advice. David said, “Should I take control* of any of the cities of Judah?” The Lord said to David, “Yes.” David asked, “Where should I go?” The Lord answered, “To Hebron.” 2So David and his two wives moved to Hebron. (His wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow* of Nabal from Carmel.) 3David also brought his men and their families. All of them made their homes in Hebron and the towns nearby.

David Thanks the People of Jabesh

4The men of Judah came to Hebron and anointed* David to be the king of Judah. Then they told David, “The men of Jabesh Gilead buried Saul.” 5David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead. These messengers told the men in Jabesh: “The Lord bless you, because you have shown kindness to your lord Saul by burying {his ashes}.* 6The Lord will be kind and true to you. And I will also be kind to you. 7Now be strong and brave. Your lord, Saul, is dead. But the family group of Judah has anointed* me to be their king.”

Ish Bosheth Becomes King

8Abner son of Ner was the captain of Saul’s army. Abner took Saul’s son Ish Bosheth to Mahanaim 9and made him king of Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and all of Israel.* 10Ish Bosheth was Saul’s son. Ish Bosheth was 40 years old when he began to rule over Israel. He ruled two years. But the family group of Judah followed David. 11David was king in Hebron. David ruled over the family group of Judah for seven years and six months.

The Deadly Contest

12Abner son of Ner and the officers of Saul’s son Ish Bosheth left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. 13Joab, Zeruiah’s son, and the officers of David also went to Gibeon. They met Abner and Ish Bosheth’s officers at the pool of Gibeon. Abner’s group sat on one side of the pool. Joab’s group sat on the other side of the pool. 14Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have the young soldiers get up and have a contest here.” Joab said, “Yes, let’s have a contest.” 15So the young soldiers got up. The two groups counted their men for the contest. They chose twelve men from the family group of Benjamin to fight for Saul’s son Ish Bosheth. And they chose twelve men from David’s officers. 16Each of the men grabbed his opponent’s head and stabbed him in the side with his sword, and then they fell down together. That is why the place is called “The Field of the Sharp Knives.”* The place is in Gibeon.

Abner Kills Asahel

17That contest became a terrible battle and David’s officers defeated Abner and the Israelites that day. 18Zeruiah had three sons, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel was a fast runner. He was as fast as a wild deer. 19Asahel ran straight toward Abner and began chasing him. 20Abner looked back and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?” Asahel said, “Yes, it’s me.” 21{Abner didn’t want to hurt Asahel.} So Abner said to Asahel, “Stop chasing me—go after one of the young soldiers. You could easily take his armor* for yourself.” But Asahel refused to stop chasing Abner. 22Abner again said to Asahel, “Stop chasing me or I will have to kill you. Then I won’t be able to look your brother Joab in the face again.” 23But Asahel refused to stop chasing Abner. So Abner used the back end of his spear and pushed it into Asahel’s stomach. The spear went {deep into Asahel’s stomach and came} out of his back. Asahel died right there.

Joab and Abishai Chase Abner

Asahel’s body lay on the ground. All of the men that ran that way stopped {to look at Asahel}. 24But Joab and Abishai* continued chasing Abner. The sun was just going down when they came to Ammah Hill. (Ammah Hill is in front of Giah on the way to Gibeon Desert.) 25The men from the family group of Benjamin gathered around Abner at the top of the hill. 26Abner shouted to Joab and said, “Must we fight and kill each other forever? Surely you know that this will only end in sadness. Tell the people to stop chasing their own brothers.” 27Then Joab said, “It is a good thing you said that. As sure as God is alive, if you had not said something, then people would still be chasing their brothers in the morning.” 28So Joab blew a trumpet, and his people stopped chasing the Israelites. They did not try to fight the Israelites any more. 29Abner and his men marched all night through the Jordan Valley. They crossed the Jordan River and marched all day until they came to Mahanaim. 30Joab stopped chasing Abner and went back. Joab had gathered his men and learned that 19 of David’s officers were missing, including Asahel. 31But David’s officers had killed 360 of Abner’s men from the family group of Benjamin. 32David’s officers took Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father at Bethlehem. Joab and his men marched all night. The sun came up just as they reached Hebron.

take control Literally, “go up against.” widow A woman whose husband has died. anointed To pour olive oil on a person’s head to show he was chosen by God to be a king, priest, or prophet. his ashes The bodies of both Saul and Jonathan were burned. See 1 Sam. 31:12. Israel Sometimes this means the whole country, Judah and Israel. Here it means only the family groups that were not united with Judah. The Field of the Sharp Knives Or, “Helkath Hazzurim.” armor Clothing that had metal or hard things in it to protect the person wearing it in war. Joab and Abishai Brothers of Asahel, the man that Abner killed. See verse 18.

War Between Israel and Judah

3 There was war for a long time between Saul’s family and David’s family. David became stronger and stronger. And Saul’s family became weaker and weaker.

David’s Six Sons Born at Hebron

2David had these sons that were born at Hebron. The first son was Ammon. Ammon’s mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel. 3The second son was Kileab. Kileab’s mother was Abigail, the widow* of Nabal from Carmel. The third son was Absalom. Absalom’s mother was Maacah daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. 4The fourth son was Adonijah. Adonijah’s mother was Haggith. The fifth son was Shephatiah. Shephatiah’s mother was Abital. 5The sixth son was Ithream. Ithream’s mother was David’s wife Eglah. David had these {six sons} born at Hebron.

Abner Decides to Join David

6Abner became more and more powerful in Saul’s army while the families of Saul and David fought each other. 7Saul had a woman servant* named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. Ish Bosheth said to Abner, “Why did you have sexual relations with my father’s servant woman?” 8Abner was very angry because of what Ish Bosheth said. Abner said, “I have been loyal to Saul and his family. I did not give you to David—{I did not let him defeat you}. I am not a traitor working for Judah.* But now you are saying that I did this bad thing. 9–10I make this promise—I will now make sure that the things God said will happen. The Lord said he would take the kingdom away from Saul’s family and give it to David. The Lord will make David king of Judah and Israel. He will rule from Dan to Beersheba.* And I hope God does bad things to me if I don’t make that happen!” 11Ish Bosheth could not say anything to Abner. Ish Bosheth was too afraid of him. 12Abner sent messengers to David. Abner said, “Who do you think should rule this country? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you become the ruler of all the people of Israel.” 13David answered, “Good! I will make an agreement with you. But I ask you only one thing: I will not meet with you until you bring Saul’s daughter Michal to me.”

David Gets His Wife Michal Back

14David sent messengers to Saul’s son Ish Bosheth. David said, “Give me my wife Michal. She was promised to me. I killed 100 Philistines to get her.”* 15Then Ish Bosheth told the men to go and take Michal from a man named Paltiel son of Laish. 16Michal’s husband {Paltiel} went with Michal. Paltiel was crying while he followed Michal to Bahurim. But Abner said to Paltiel, “Go back home.” So Paltiel went back home.

Abner Promises to Help David

17Abner sent this message to the leaders of Israel. He said, “You have been wanting to make David your king. 18Now do it! The Lord was talking about David when he said, ‘I will save my people the Israelites from the Philistines and all their other enemies. I will do this through my servant David.’” 19Abner said these things to David in Hebron. And he said these things to the people of the Benjamin family group. The things Abner said sounded good to the Benjamin family group and to all the people of Israel. 20Then Abner came up to David at Hebron. Abner brought 20 men with him. David gave a party for Abner and for all the men who came with him. 21Abner said to David, “My lord and king, let me go bring all the Israelites to you. Then they will make an agreement with you. And you will rule over all Israel, like you wanted.” So David let Abner leave. And Abner left in peace.

Abner’s Death

22Joab and David’s officers came back from battle. They had many valuable things that they had taken from the enemy. David had just let Abner leave in peace. So Abner was not there in Hebron with David. 23Joab and all his army arrived {at Hebron}. The army said to Joab, “Abner son of Ner came to King David, and David let Abner leave in peace.” 24Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Abner came to you, but you sent him away without hurting him! Why? 25You know Abner son of Ner. He came to trick you. He came to learn all about the things you are doing.” 26Joab left David and sent messengers to Abner at the well of Sirah. The messengers brought Abner back, but David did not know this. 27When Abner arrived at Hebron, Joab took him to one side in the middle of the gateway to talk with him in private. And then Joab stabbed Abner in the stomach, and Abner died. Abner had killed Joab’s brother Asahel. So now Joab killed Abner.

David Cries for Abner

28Later David heard the news. David said, “My kingdom and I are innocent of the death of Abner son of Ner. The Lord knows this. 29Joab and his family are responsible for this, and all his family are to be blamed. I hope many troubles will come to Joab’s family. I hope the people in his family will be sick with leprosy, and crippled, and killed in war, and not have enough food to eat!” 30Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because Abner had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon. 31–32David said to Joab and to all the people with Joab, “Tear your clothes and put on clothes of sadness. Cry for Abner.” They buried Abner in Hebron. David went to the funeral. King David and all the people cried at Abner’s grave. 33King David sang this sad song at Abner’s funeral: “Did Abner die like some foolish criminal? 34Abner, your hands were not tied. Your feet were not put in chains. No, Abner, evil men killed you!” Then all the people cried again for Abner. 35All day long people came to encourage David to eat food. But David had made a special promise. He said, “May God punish me and give me many troubles if I eat bread or any other food before the sun goes down.” 36All the people saw what happened, and they were pleased with what King David had done. 37All the people of Judah and Israel understood that King David had not killed Abner son of Ner. 38King David said to his officers, “You know that a very important leader died today in Israel. 39And it was on the very same day that I was anointed* to be the king. These sons of Zeruiah have caused me a lot of trouble. I hope the Lord gives these men the punishment they deserve.”

widow A woman whose husband has died. woman servant Or, “concubine,” a slave woman who was like a wife to a man. I am not a traitor working for Judah Literally, “Am I a dog’s head of Judah?” Dan to Beersheba This means the whole nation of Israel, north and south. Dan was a town in the northern part of Israel and Beersheba was in the southern part of Judah. I killed … to get her Literally, “I paid for her with 100 Philistine foreskins.” See 1 Sam. 18:20–30; 25:44.  anointed To pour olive oil on a person’s head to show he was chosen by God to be a king, priest, or prophet.

Other Versions