David becomes king of Judah
And it came to pass after this, that David enquired of the LORD, saying,
Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him,
Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron.
So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the
Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal's wife the Carmelite.
And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his
household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.
And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the
house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead
were they that buried Saul.
And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabeshgilead, and said unto
them, Blessed be ye of the LORD, that ye have shewed this kindness unto your
lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him.
And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite
you this kindness, because ye have done this thing.
Therefore now let your hands be strengthened, and be ye valiant: for your
master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over
Now that king Saul was dead, David figured it might be time to stop hiding out with the Philistines.
But, just to be sure, he asked God, saying,
Should I go to any of the cities of Judah?
Where should I go up?
Go to Hebron.
So David took his two wives and his merry men and went to Hebron.
As soon as they arrived, the men of Judah made David king.
Ishbosheth becomes king of Israel
But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host, took
Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought
him over to Mahanaim;
And made him king over
Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over
Benjamin, and over all Israel.
Ishbosheth Saul's son was forty years old when he began to reign over
Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.
And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was
seven years and six months.
But Saul's captain, Abner, made Saul's son, Ishbosheth, king of Israel. 
The young men "play" before Abner and Joab
And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul,
went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
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, the one on the one side
of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.
Abner, Ishbosheth's captain, and Joab, David's captain, meet at the pool of Gibeon.
And Abner said to Joab,
Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said,
Let them arise.
Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which
pertained to Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of
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
Helkathhazzurim, which is in Gibeon.
Abner said to Joel,
Let the young men play before us.
So twelve of Abner's young men fought twelve of Joab's, and all 24 died.
Squabbles between Judah and Israel
And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was beaten, and the
men of Israel, before the servants of David.
After the 24 young men finished their deadly "play", all of the soldiers of Israel and Judah began fighting. Israel won.
And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel:
and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe.
And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right
hand nor to the left from following Abner.
Joab's brother, Asahel, could run as fast as a wild roe.
He decided to attack Abner.
Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Art thou Asahel? And he answered,
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 of him.
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?
Abner looked behind him and said to Asahel,
Are you Asahel?
Yes I am.
Turn to either the left or the right.
Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with the hinder end of
the spear smote him under
the fifth rib, 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.
But Asahel just kept going straight.
So Abner killed him by smiting him under
the fifth rib.
Joab also 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.
And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and
became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill.
After Abner killed Joab's son, Asahel, Joab and another son, Abishai, chased after Abner.
Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever?
knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long
shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their
Abner called Joab from the top of a hill, saying,
Are we going to kill each other forever?
And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the
morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother.
Yes. Let's stop.
So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after
Israel no more, neither fought they any more.
So Joab blew a trumpet, and everyone stood still and stopped fighting.
And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed
over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and they came to Mahanaim.
And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the
people together, there lacked of David's servants nineteen men and Asahel.
But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner's men, so
that three hundred and threescore men died.
And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father,
which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came
to Hebron at break of day.
Then the two armies went home.
Joab had lost 19 men, and Abner 360.