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So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal's wife the Carmelitess.

And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his houshold: 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 Jabesh-gilaad were they that buried Saul. . . .

And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabeshgilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the Lokd, that 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 1jc ye valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them

But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim. And he made him king over all Israel, but the house of Judah followed David.

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 ZeruLh, 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 ot the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.

And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men notarise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise.

Then there arose and went over by number. twelve

'of

of Benjamin, which pertained to Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.

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.

And there was a very sore battle that day: and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.

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 band, nor to the left, from following Abner.

Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Art thou Asahel? And he answered, I am.

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 i how then should I hold up my face 'to Joab thy brother?

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.

Joab also and Abishai pursued after Abner : and the sun . went down when they were come to the hill of Arhmah, that lieth before Giah, by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.

And

And the children of Benjamin gathered themselre* together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill.

Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever I 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 brethren? ,..'.*:

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.

So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more. ,'

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 \ sahel.

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: afld Joab and his men went all night, and they .came to Hebron at the break of the day. j .'

ANNOTATIOiNIS And REFLECTIONS.

David had a noble army under his command, yet he did not offer to possess himself of the throne, but enquired the auillof the Lor D. Hebron was situated in the midst

t of of the tribe of Judah, on the top of a ridge of high mountains. It was one of the most ancient cities in the world, originally called Kirjath-Arba, the birthplace of Arba the son of Anak, from whom the gigan"tic race called Anakims descended • it > had likewise been the residence of Abraham: it is now in the possession of the Turks, but in a very ruinated state. Hebron was a very fruitful spot, and had been given to Caleb as a reward for his fidelity to God, and he assigned it to the Levites. Here David and his army could subsist with great conveniency, and it was peculiarly fitted for his reception, being the metropolis of his tribe, and the possession of those priestly families who espoused his interest, whose determination in his favour would have influence on the whole tribe. David's having been anointed by Samuel, was by this time generally known; Jacob and Meses had predicted the establishment of the sovereignty in the tribe of Judah; so that acting agreeably to Divine appointment, the men of Judah were fully justified, in electing David for their king; and separating themselves from those tribes, who opposed the Lord's toil/, by setting up one of Saul's rejected family.

David took the earliest opportunity of shewing, by kindness to the men of Jabesh Gilead, that he did not aim at the crown from a principle of ambition or enmity to Saul.

Aimer was Saul's uncle, and being a person of great spirit, he would not readily submit to let the sovereignty be lost from his family ; neither was he willing to resign the command of the army: and having taken an active part with Saul, he might likewise be fearful ef David's resentment.

Vol.ji. T i Mahanaim,.

Mahanaim, the place where Ish-bosheth made his first claim, was en the ttber side Jordan, where it was^ supposed David' had the least influence. Abner carried him about through the camp, and gained the tribe* gradually to his interest- , Gibeon had formerly beejv the metropolis of the Gibeonites, and after Joshua'sleague with him, it became a Levitical city. It is supw posed that Saul had dispossessed the Levites and Gibeonites by violence-, and placed, some of his own tribe in their stead. At Gibeon, it is> probable,, that Ishtoshcth resided during the two first years of his reign,, .for so )ong David seems t« have remained quiet; each in the mean time strengthening his own interest as. much as possible*.

Hitherto David seems carefully to have avoided all acts of hostility, and to have determined, not to begia them, hut to wait patiently for the Divine disposal in. feis favour: but when- he found, that Abner had drawn, together a. number of men at Gibeon, he thought it advisable to send. Joab with some forces to observe them.

One would expect from. Abner's expression, let the young men ariie and play before us, ta hear of a combat, merely to shew how skilful they were in .the science of. defence; but it was a challenge, meant to prove whr> were the best warriors,.and most deserving.of giving a. PjtuNCE to Israel.

Asahel unfortunately singled out Abner,.and , pursued..' him personally; but his ambition to take his spoils proved fatal to himself. Abner seems to have had some view to a reconciliation with Daviti, by hi* unwillingness to kill the brother of joab.

It is most likely, that Joab and Abishai knew not of

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