The Bible in Its Traditions

2 Samuel 3:1–39

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Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David waxed stronger and stronger, but the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.

And there was war for a long time between the house of Saul and the house of David; and the house of David grew continually stronger; but the house of Saul grew continually weaker.

Then a long struggle occurred between the house of Saul and the house of David, with David prospering and growing ever stronger, but the house of Saul decreasing daily.

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And unto David were sons born in Hebron; and his first-born was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;

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and his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;

And after him, there was Chileab, from Abigail, the wife of Nabal of Carmel. Then the third was Absalom, the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, the king of Geshur.

and the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;

Then the fourth was Adonijah, the son of Haggith. And the fifth was Shephatiah, the son of Abital.

and the sixth, Ithream, of Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

Also, the sixth was Ithream, from Eglah, the wife of David. These were born to David at Hebron.

And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner showed himself strong in the house of Saul.

Then, while there was a battle between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner, the son of Ner, was reigning over the house of Saul.

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Now Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and Ish-bosheth said to Abner: 'Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father's concubine?'

And Saul had a concubine, Respha, the daughter of Jol; and Jebosthe the son of Saul said to Abenner, Why hast thou gone in to my father’s concubine?

Now Saul had a concubine named Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. And Ishbosheth said to Abner,

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Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ish-bosheth, and said: 'Am I a dog's head that belongeth to Judah? This day do I show kindness unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, and yet thou chargest me this day with a fault concerning this woman.

“Why did you enter to the concubine of my father?” But he, being exceedingly angry at the words of Ishbosheth, said: “Am I the head of a dog against Judah this day? I have shown mercy to the house of Saul, your father, and to his brothers and friends. And I have not delivered you into the hands of David. And yet today you have sought me, so that you might rebuke me over a woman?

God do so to Abner, and more also, if, as YHWH hath sworn to David, I do not even so to him;

May God do these things to Abner, and may he add these other things, if, in the same way that the Lord swore to David, I do not do so with him

10  to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beer-sheba.'

10  that the kingdom be transferred from the house of Saul, and that the throne of David be elevated over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.”

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11  And he could not answer Abner another word, because he feared him.

11  And he was not able to respond anything to him, because he was in fear of him.

11  And Ashbashul could not reply to Abner, because he feared him.

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12  And Abner sent messengers to David straightway, saying: 'Whose is the land?' saying also: 'Make thy league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring over all Israel unto thee.'

12  And Abenner sent messengers to David to Thaelam where he was, immediately, saying, Make thy covenant with me, and, behold, my hand is with thee to bring back to thee all the house of Israel.

12  Therefore, Abner sent messengers to David for himself, saying, “Whose is the land?” and so that they would say, “Make a friendship with me, and my hand will be with you, and I will lead back all of Israel to you.”

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13  And he said: 'Well; I will make a league with thee; but one thing I require of thee, that is, thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal Saul's daughter, when thou comest to see my face.'

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14  And David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth Saul's son, saying: 'Deliver me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to me for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.'

14  Then David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, saying, “Restore my wife Michal, whom I espoused to myself for one hundred foreskins of the Philistines.”

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15  And Ish-bosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Paltiel the son of Laish.

15  Therefore, Ishbosheth sent and took her from her husband Paltiel, the son of Laish.

15  And Ashbashul sent, and took her from her husband, Palti, the son of Laish of Gallim.

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16  And her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him: 'Go, return'; and he returned.

16  And her husband was following her, weeping, as far as Bahurim. And Abner said to him, “Go and return.” And he returned.

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17  And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying: 'In times past ye sought for David to be king over you;

17  And Abenner spoke to the elders of Israel, saying, In former days ye sought David to reign over you;

17  Likewise, Abner sent word to the elders of Israel, saying: “As much yesterday as the day before, you were seeking David, so that he might reign over you.

18  now then do it; for YHWH hath spoken of David, saying: By the hand of My servant David I will save My people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.'

18  and now perform it: for the Lord has spoken concerning David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save Israel out of the hand of all their enemies.

18  Therefore, accomplish it now. For the Lord has spoken to David, saying: ‘By the hand of my servant David, I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and of all their enemies.’ ”

19  And Abner also spoke in the ears of Benjamin; and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and to the whole house of Benjamin.

19  And Abenner spoke in the ears of Benjamin: and Abenner went to speak in the ears of David at Chebron, all that seemed good in the eyes of Israel and in the eyes of the house of Benjamin.

19  Then Abner also spoke to Benjamin. And he went away, so that he might speak to David in Hebron all that would be pleasing to Israel and to all of Benjamin.

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20  So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men that were with him a feast.

20  And Abenner came to David to Chebron, and with him twenty men: and David made for Abenner and his men with him a banquet of wine.

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21  And Abner said unto David: 'I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thy soul desireth.' And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.

21  And Abenner said to David, I will arise now, and go, and gather to my lord the king all Israel; and I will make with him a covenant, and thou shalt reign over all whom thy soul desires. And David sent away Abenner, and he departed in peace.

21  And Abner said to David, “I will rise up, so that I may gather all of Israel to you, my lord the king, and so that I may enter into a pact with you, and so that you may reign over all, just as your soul desires.” Then, when David had led Abner away, and he had departed in peace,

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22  And, behold, the servants of David and Joab came from a foray, and brought in a great spoil with them; but Abner was not with David in Hebron; for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace.

22  immediately the servants of David and of Joab arrived, after having slain robbers, with exceedingly great spoils. But Abner was not with David in Hebron. For by then he had sent him away, and he had set out in peace.

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23  When Joab and all the host that was with him were come, they told Joab, saying: 'Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he hath sent him away, and he is gone in peace.'

23  And Joab and all his army came, and it was reported to Joab, saying, Abenner the son of Ner is come to David, and David has let him go, and he has departed in peace.

23  And Joab, and the entire army that was with him, had arrived afterward. And so, it was reported to Joab, explaining that Abner, the son of Ner, went to the king, and he dismissed him, and he went away in peace.

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24  Then Joab came to the king, and said: 'What hast thou done? behold, Abner came unto thee; why is it that thou hast sent him away, and he is quite gone?

24  And Joab entered to the king, and he said: “What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you. Why did you dismiss him, so that he has gone and departed?

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25  Thou knowest Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know all that thou doest.'

25  Do you not know, about Abner, the son of Ner, that he came to you for this, so that he might deceive you, and might know of your departure and your return, and so that he might know all that you do?”

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26  And when Joab was come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from Bor-sirah; but David knew it not.

26  And Joab returned from David, and sent messengers to Abenner after him; and they bring him back from the well of Seiram: but David knew it not.

26  And so, Joab, going out from David, sent messengers after Abner, and he brought him back from the cistern of Sirah, without David knowing.

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27  And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the midst of the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there in the groin, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.

27  And he brought back Abenner to Chebron, and Joab caused him to turn aside from the gate to speak to him, laying wait for him: and he smote him there in the loins, and he died for the blood of Asael the brother of Joab.

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28  And afterward when David heard it, he said: 'I and my kingdom are guiltless before YHWH for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner;

28  And David heard of it afterwards, and said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord even for ever of the blood of Abenner the son of Ner.

28  And when David had heard of it, now that the matter was done, he said: “I and my kingdom are clean before the Lord, even forever, of the blood of Abner, the son of Ner.

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29  let it fall upon the head of Joab, and upon all his father's house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff, or that falleth by the sword, or that lacketh bread.'

29  And may it fall upon the head of Joab, and upon the entire house of his father. And may there not fail to be, in the house of Joab, one who suffers from a flow of seed, or one who is leprous, or one who is effeminate, or one who falls by the sword, or one who is in need of bread.”

29  Let it rest on the head of Joab and on the head of all his father's house; and let there never fail to be in the house of Joab one who has a discharge or who is a leper or who is a beggar holding a bowl or who falls by the sword or who lacks bread.

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30  So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.

30  For Joab and Abessa his brother laid wait continually for Abenner, because he slew Asael their brother at Gabaon in the battle.

30  And so, Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon, during the battle.

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31  And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him: 'Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and wail before Abner.' And king David followed the bier.

31  Then David said to Joab, and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your garments, and gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn before the funeral procession of Abner.” Moreover, king David himself was following the casket.

32  And they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept.

32  And when they had buried Abner in Hebron, king David lifted up his voice, and he wept over the burial mound of Abner. And all the people also wept.

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33  And the king lamented for Abner, and said: Should Abner die as a churl dieth?

33  And the king mourned over Abenner, and said, Shall Abenner die according to the death of Nabal?

33  And the king, mourning and lamenting Abner, said: “By no means has Abner died the way that cowards usually die.

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34  Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters; as a man falleth before the children of iniquity, so didst thou fall. And all the people wept again over him.

34  Your hands are not bound, and your feet are not weighed down with fetters. But just as men often fall before the sons of iniquity, so you have fallen.” And while repeating this, all the people wept over him.

34  Your hands were not bound nor were your feet put into fetters; as one falls before the wicked men, so have you fallen. And all the people wept again over him.

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35  And all the people came to cause David to eat bread while it was yet day; but David swore, saying: 'God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or aught else, till the sun be down.'

35  And all the people assembled to weep for him. And all the people came to cause David to eat bread while it was yet day: and David swore, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if I eat bread or any thing else before the sun goes down.

35  And when the entire multitude had arrived to take food with David, while it was still broad daylight, David swore, saying, “May God do these things to me, and may he add these other things, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets.”

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36  And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them; whatsoever the king did, pleased all the people.

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37  So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner.

37  And every common person, and all of Israel, realized on that day that the killing of Abner, the son of Ner, had not been done by the king.

38  And the king said unto his servants: 'Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?

38  The king also said to his servants: “Could you be ignorant that a leader and a very great man has fallen today in Israel?

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39  And I am this day weak, and just anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me; YHWH reward the evildoer according to his wickedness.'

39  And that I am this day a mere kinsman of his, and as it were a subject; but these men the sons of Saruia are too hard for me: the Lord reward the evil-doer according to his wickedness.

39  But I am still tender, and yet anointed king. And these men of the sons of Zeruiah are too harsh for me. May the Lord repay whoever does evil in accord with his malice.”