The Second Book of Samuel

Chapter 2

David, by God's direction, with his company goes up to Hebron where he is made king of Judah, 1-4. He commends those of Jabesh-gilead for their kindness to Saul, 5-7. Abner makes Ish-bosheth king of Israel, 8-11. A mortal skirmish between twelve of Abner's and twelve of Joab's men, 12-17. Asahel is slain, 18-24. At Abner's motion, Joab sounds a retreat, 25-31. Asahel's burial, 32.

1 And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?" And the LORD said to him, "Go up." And David said, "Where shall I go up?" And he said, "To Hebron." 2 So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 3 And his men who were with him David brought up, every man with his household. And they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. 4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, "The men of Jabesh-gilead were those who buried Saul." 5 And David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, "Blessed are you of the LORD in that you have shown this kindness to your lord, even to Saul, and have buried him. 6 And now, may the LORD show kindness and truth to you. And I also will requite you this kindness because you have done this thing. 7 And now, let your hands be strengthened, and be valiant, for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them."

8 But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim, 9 And he made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, 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 met together by the pool of Gibeon. And they sat down, one on 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 now arise and compete before us." And Joab said, "Let them arise." 15 Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, who pertained to Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16 And they each caught his fellow by the head and thrust his sword in his fellow's side so that they fell down together. Therefore, that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon. 17 And there was a very severe battle that day. And Abner was defeated, along with the men of Israel, before the servants of David.

18 And there were three sons of Zeruiah there: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. And Asahel was as light of foot as a wild gazelle. 19 And Asahel pursued after Abner, and in going he did not turn to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind him and said, "Are you Asahel?" And he answered, "I am." 21 And Abner said to him, "Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, lay hold upon one of the young men, and take for yourself his armor." But Asahel would not turn aside from following him. 22 And Abner said again to Asahel, "Turn aside from following me. Why should I smite you to the ground? How then should I hold up my face to Joab your brother?" 23 But he refused to turn aside; therefore, Abner with the back end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib so that the spear came out behind him. And he fell down there and died in the same place. And it came to pass, that everyone stood still who came to the place where Asahel fell down and died.

24 Also, Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. And the sun went down when they had come to the hill of Ammah that lies before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 And the children of Benjamin assembled themselves after Abner, became one troop, and stood on the top of a hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab and said, "Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitterness in the latter end? How long shall it be then before you will bid the people return from following their brothers?" 27 And Joab said, "As God lives, unless you had spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up, each from following his brother." 28 So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still and no longer pursued Israel, neither did they fight anymore. 29 And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain. And they passed over the Jordan, went through all Bithron, and came to Mahanaim.

30 And Joab returned from following Abner. And when he had assembled all the people, there lacked of David's servants nineteen men and Asahel. 31 But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin and of Abner's men so that three hundred and sixty men died. 32 And they took up Asahel and buried him in the sepulcher of his father, which was in Beth-lehem. And Joab and his men went all night and came to Hebron at the break of day.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Samuel, Chapter 2[➚]