2 Samuel 3–5

1 The struggle between the house of Saul and the house of David endured, but David grew stronger as Saul became weaker.

2 Sons were born to David in Hebron:

his firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;

3 and his second, Kileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal, the Carmelite;

and the third, Absalom the son of Maakah the daughter of Talmai, the king of Geshur;

4 and the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith;

and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;

5 and the sixth, Ithream, was born to Eglah, the wife of David.

These were born to David in Hebron.

6 While there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was strengthening himself in the house of Saul. 7 Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, and Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?”

8 Abner became very angry over the words of Ish-Bosheth. He said, “Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Each day I show loyalty to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends by not allowing you to fall into the hand of David. Yet today you are charging me with guilt concerning this woman. 9 May God do so to Abner, and more also, for as the Lord has sworn to David, this I will do for him, 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 And he could not offer a response to Abner, for fear of him.

12 So Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf saying, “To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and my hand will be with you to bring over all of Israel to you.”

13 He responded, “Very well, I will make a covenant with you, but I require one thing from you: you will not see my face unless you bring Michal the daughter of Saul with you when you come to see me.” 14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth the son of Saul, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, to whom I was betrothed for one hundred Philistine foreskins.”

15 So Ish-Bosheth sent for her, and he took her from her husband, Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 But her husband went with her, weeping as he went, as far as Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go. Return.” So he turned back.

17 Abner had a word with the elders of Israel, “In days past, you were seeking David as king over you. 18 So do it now, because the Lord said to David: By the hand of David, I will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of every enemy.”

19 Abner also spoke privately with Benjamin. Then Abner went to tell David privately at Hebron all that was received favorably by Israel and the entire house of Benjamin. 20 So Abner, along with twenty men, went to David at Hebron, and David held a festival for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 Abner said to David, “Let me arise, go, and gather all Israel to my lord the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, that you may rule over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went peaceably.

22 Now the servants of David and Joab came from a raid and brought much plunder with them, but Abner was no longer with David at Hebron, because he had sent him away in peace. 23 When Joab and the whole of the army that was with him arrived, they reported to Joab, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king and he sent him away peaceably.”

24 So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Abner came to you. Why is it that you sent him away? Now he is long gone. 25 You know that Abner the son of Ner came to deceive you, to learn of your coming and going, to discern all that you are doing.”

26 When Joab left David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah. However, David was not aware of this. 27 So Abner returned to Hebron, and Joab pulled him aside in the gateway so as to speak with him undisturbed. There he struck him in the midsection so that he died on account of the blood of Asahel, his brother.

28 Afterward when David heard of this, he said, “My kingdom and I are forever blameless before the Lord for the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 May it fall upon the head of Joab and upon all his father’s house. May the house of Joab never be without one who has a discharge, or who is a leper, or who leans on a staff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks food.”

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

31 David said to Joab and all of the people with him, “Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn before Abner.” As for King David, he followed behind the bier. 32 When they buried Abner at Hebron, the king raised his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all of the people wept.

33 Then, the king lamented for Abner, saying,

“Should Abner have died as a fool dies?

34 Your hands were not bound,

and your feet were not put in fetters;

as a man falls before the wicked, so you have fallen.”

And all of the people continued to weep over him.

35 Then all of the people came to persuade David to eat food while it was still day. But David took an oath, saying, “May God do to me, and more also, if I taste food or anything else before the sun sets.”

36 All of the people recognized this, and it pleased them, as everything that the king did was pleasing to all of the people. 37 That very day, all of the people, all of Israel, understood that it was not ordered from the king to have Abner the son of Ner killed.

38 David said to his servant, “Do you not understand that a great leader has fallen this day in Israel? 39 Today, I am weak, even if an anointed king, and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.”

Chapter 4

1 When the son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, his courage failed, and all of Israel was disheartened. 2 Now the son of Saul had two men who were leaders of raiding bands. The name of one was Baanah and the name of the other Rekab, both sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, from among the sons of Benjamin. Now Beeroth is also regarded as part of Benjamin, 3 because the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been sojourners there until this day.

4 Now Jonathan the son of Saul had a son with crippled feet. He was five years old when the report of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but in her haste to escape, he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.

5 The sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rekab and Baanah, went out and came to the house of Ish-Bosheth in the heat of the day, as he was resting in his bed at midday. 6 They entered the house as if to get wheat and stabbed him in the abdomen. Then Rekab and his brother Baanah fled to safety.

7 When they entered the house, he was lying on his bed in his bedroom; they struck him, killed him, and beheaded him. Then they took his head and traveled by way of the Arabah all night. 8 They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David in Hebron and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth the son of Saul, your enemy who sought your life. This day, the Lord has given retribution against Saul and his descendent to my lord the king.”

9 David answered Rekab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As the Lord, who has delivered my life from every distress, lives, 10 when one reported to me that Saul was dead, although he was a bearer of good news in his own eyes, I seized him and killed him at Ziklag, which was my reward for his message. 11 How much more so, when guilty men have slain an innocent man in his own house on his own bed, should I not now require his blood from your hand and wipe you from the earth?”

12 David then gave orders to the young men. They killed them, cut off their hands and feet, and hung them at the pool in Hebron, but they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in the grave of Abner at Hebron.

Chapter 5

1 All of the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your bone and flesh. 2 Previously, when Saul was king over us, you were the one leading Israel out and in. Also, the Lord said to you: You will shepherd My people Israel, and you will be ruler over Israel.”

3 So all of the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them before the Lord at Hebron. They anointed David king over Israel.

4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 5 He reigned over Judah from Hebron for seven years and six months, and he reigned over all of Israel and Judah from Jerusalem for thirty-three years.

6 The king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, who were living in the land. They said to David, “You will not enter here; even the blind and the lame will turn you away”—thinking, “David cannot enter here.” 7 Nevertheless, David overthrew the stronghold of Zion, which is now the City of David.

8 David said on that day, “Whoever defeats the Jebusites, let him go through the water shaft to reach the lame and the blind, who are despised by David.” Therefore, it is said, “The blind and lame shall not come into the house.”

9 So David occupied the stronghold, and he called it the City of David. He built on all sides from the terraces inward. 10 David went on and became great, because the Lord, the God of Hosts, was with him.

11 King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar wood, carpenters, and stonemasons, and they built a house for David. 12 Then David understood that the Lord had appointed him king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.

13 David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, after having come from Hebron, and they bore him more sons and daughters. 14 These are the names of the children born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.

17 When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all of the Philistines went up to search for David, but David heard about this and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and were spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. 19 So David asked the Lord, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them into my hand?”

The Lord said to David, “Go up, because I will certainly give them into your hand.”

20 So David came to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there. He said, “The Lord has breached my enemies before me like bursting tides.” Therefore, he named that place Baal Perazim. 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them away.

22 Once again, the Philistines went up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. 23 When David inquired of the Lord, He said, “You shall not go up. Circle around behind them and come against them opposite the trees. 24 When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the trees, pay attention, because at that point the Lord is going before you to defeat the army of the Philistines.” 25 So David did just as the Lord commanded, and he defeated the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.

Luke 14:25–35

25 Large crowds went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.

28 “For who among you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost to see whether he has resources to complete it? 29 Otherwise, perhaps, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to complete it, all who see it will begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to complete it.’

31 “Or what king, going to wage war against another king, does not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Otherwise, while the other is yet at a distance, he sends a delegation and requests conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, any of you who does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

34 “Salt is good. But if the salt has lost its saltiness, how shall it be made salty? 35 It is fit neither for the land nor for the manure pile. So men throw it out.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”