2 Kingdoms 3, 4
1 Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. But the house of David grew continually stronger and the house of Saul grew steadily weaker.
The Sons of David
2 And sons were born to David in Hebron. His firstborn was Amnon by Ahinoam the Jezreelite woman; 3 his second, Chileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite; the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; 4 the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 and the sixth, Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.
Abner Joins with David
6 Now while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was strengthening his hold on the house of Saul. 7 And Saul had a concubine, Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and Mephibosheth, son of Saul, said to Abner, “Why did you go in to my father’s concubine?” 8 Then Abner became very angry at Mephibosheth’s words, and Abner said to him, “Am I a dog’s head? Today I brought about mercy on the house of Saul your father, his brothers, and his friends, and have not shifted loyalties to the house of David. And you on this very day seek fault against me on behalf of an unrighteous wife. 9 God do thus to Abner and more also, if as the Lord swore an oath to David, so do I not to him this day— 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul, and set up the throne of David over Israel and Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 And Mephibosheth could not answer Abner another word, because he feared him.
12 Then Abner immediately sent messengers to David in Thailam, saying, “Make your covenant with me, and my hand shall be with you to bring the house of Israel to you.” 13 And David said, “Good. I will make a covenant with you, but one thing I require of you. You shall not see my face unless you bring Michal the daughter of Saul when you come to me.” 14 So David sent messengers to Mephibosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I received for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 And Mephibosheth sent and took her from her husband, from Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 Her husband, weeping behind her, went along with her to Bahurim. So Abner said to him, “Go, return!” And he returned.
17 Now Abner communicated with the elders of Israel, saying, “In time past you were seeking for David to be king over you. 18 Now then, do it! For the Lord has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of My servant David I will save Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’ ” 19 And Abner spoke in the hearing of Benjamin. Then Abner also went to speak in the hearing of David in Hebron everything that seemed good to the eyes of Israel and the whole house of Benjamin.
Joab Slays Abner
20 So Abner and twenty men with him came to David at Hebron. And David made a feast for Abner and the men with him. 21 Then Abner said to David, “I will arise and go, and gather all Israel to my lord the king, and I will make a covenant with you, and you may reign over all that your soul desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.
22 At that moment, the servants of David and Joab returned from their journey and brought large quantities of spoils with them. But Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the troops with him had come, they told Joab, saying, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he sent him away, and he went in peace.” 24 Then Joab came to the king and said, “What is this you ordered? Behold, Abner came to you. Why did you send him away that he departed in peace? 25 Or do you not perceive the evil of Abner the son of Ner, who came to deceive you; to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you do?”
26 And Joab went from David’s presence and sent messengers after Abner, who brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know of this. 27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab turned him aside at the gate to speak with him privately. There an ambush awaited him. Joab stabbed him in the loins, and Abner died for the blood of Asahel, Joab’s brother.
28 After David heard this, he said, “Of the blood of Abner the son of Ner I am forever innocent before the Lord, and so is my kingdom. 29 Let it rest on Joab’s head and on all his father’s house. And let there never be a time in the house of Joab when it will be found free of one suffering from gonorrhea, or a leper, or one that leans on a staff, or falls by the sword, or lacks bread.” 30 And Joab and Abishai his brother had lain in wait continually for Abner, because he killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon after the struggle.
David Laments Abner’s Death
31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people with him, “Tear your clothes, gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn for Abner.” And King David followed the coffin. 32 So they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave, and all the people wept over Abner. 33 And the king sang a lament over Abner and said:
“Should Abner die according to the death of Nabal?
34 Your hands were not bound,
Nor were your feet held by chains,
For Nabal was brought forward on different grounds.
You fell before children of injustice.”
All the people assembled to weep for him. 35 And when all the people came to persuade David to eat food while it was still day, David took an oath, saying, “God do so and more to me, if I eat bread or anything else before the sun goes down!”
36 All the people noticed and all were pleased, as the king did many pleasing things before the people. 37 On that day, all the people and all Israel came to realize the king was not intent on killing Abner the son of Ner. 38 Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a great prince has fallen today in Israel? 39 Though I am governing as the anointed king, on this very day I am a kinsman; and to me these men, sons of Zeruiah, are more unyielding than I am. The Lord shall repay the evildoer according to his malice.”
Mephibosheth Is Slain
1 When Mephibosheth, the son of Saul, heard that Abner had died while in Hebron, the strength of his hands grew weaker, and all the men of Israel were low in spirits. 2 Now Saul’s son, Mephibosheth, had two men who were captains over the troops. The name of one was Baanah and the name of the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the sons of Benjamin; for Beeroth was considered as one of the sons of Benjamin. 3 And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and sojourn there until this day.
4 (Jonathan, a son of Saul, had a five-year-old son who was lame in his feet. When word came from Jezreel about Saul and his son Jonathan, his nurse picked up his son and fled, and as she ran to leave, she fell and his foot became lame. Mephibosheth was his name.)
5 And Rechab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out, and by the time the hottest part of the day arrived, they were as far as the house of Mephibosheth, and he was napping on the bed at midday. 6 And behold, the doorkeeper of the house winnowed the wheat and he too napped. Thus the presence of the brothers Rechab and Baanah went unnoticed. 7 While Mephibosheth was asleep on his bed in his bedroom, they entered and struck him dead and beheaded him. They then took his head and journeyed the whole night on the road going west. 8 They brought the head of Mephibosheth to David at Hebron. They said to the king, “Behold, the head of Mephibosheth, the son of Saul your enemy, who sought your life. Today, the Lord executed for my lord the king vengeance upon his enemies, even on Saul your enemy and on his seed.”
9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, saying to them, “As the Lord lives who redeemed my life from all adversity, 10 when someone told me, ‘Look, Saul is dead,’ believing he brought me good news, I arrested him—the one who thought I would give him a reward, and he was executed in Ziklag. 11 And now wicked men kill a righteous person in his house on his bed. Now by reason of your direct involvement, I will charge you with his murder. I will have you utterly removed from the land.” 12 And David gave a command to his servants, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet, and they hung them by the pool in Hebron. But the head of Mephibosheth was buried in the tomb of Abner, son of Ner.
39 But You pushed him away and scorned him;
You rejected Your anointed;
40 You overturned the covenant of Your servant;
You profaned his sanctuary to the ground.
41 You pulled down all his walls;
You put cowardice in his stronghold;
42 All who traveled through there robbed him;
He was a disgrace to his neighbors.
43 You exalted the right hand of his enemies;
You delighted all his adversaries;
44 You turned away Your help from his sword,
And did not support him in his war.
45 You deprived him of purification;
You broke his throne to pieces on the ground;
46 You shortened the days of his time;
You poured down shame upon him.
47 How long, O Lord: will You turn away to the end?
Will Your wrath always burn like fire?
48 Let my substance be remembered, as to what sort it is,
For did You create all the sons of men in vain?
49 What kind of man is there who will live and not see death?
Will he deliver his soul from the hand of Hades?
50 Where, O Lord, are Your mercies of old,
Which in Your truth You swore to David?
51 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants I bore in my bosom,
The reproach of many nations,
52 Wherewith Your enemies scorned, O Lord,
Wherewith they scorned the change of Your anointed.
53 Blessed is the Lord forever.
7 He who does many evil things perfects wickedness,
And he who provokes with words,
He shall not be saved.
8 He who gains discernment loves himself,
And he who guards discernment will find good things.
9 A false witness shall not be unpunished,
And he who kindles evil will perish by it.
10 Luxury is not profitable for a man without discernment,
And it is not good if a servant begins to rule with arrogance.
11 A merciful man is longsuffering,
And his boast goes against the lawless.
12 The anger of a king is like the roar of a lion,
But as dew upon the grass, thus is his grace.
22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.
23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them,
24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
25 “When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’
26 “then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’
27 “But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.
29 “They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.
30 “And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”
31 On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, “Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.”
32 And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’
33 “Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.
Jesus Laments over Jerusalem
34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!
35 “See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”