12 Abner sent messengers to David at Hebron, saying, To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and I will give you my support to bring all Israel over to you. 13He said, Good; I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require of you: you shall never appear in my presence unless you bring Sauls daughter Michal when you come to see me. 14Then David sent messengers to Sauls son Ishbaal, saying, Give me my wife Michal, to whom I became engaged at the price of one hundred foreskins of the Philistines. 15Ishbaal sent and took her from her husband Paltiel the son of Laish. 16But her husband went with her, weeping as he walked behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, Go back home! So he went back.
17 Abner sent word to the elders of Israel, saying, For some time past you have been seeking David as king over you. 18Now then bring it about; for the Lord has promised David: Through my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines, and from all their enemies. 19Abner also spoke directly to the Benjaminites; then Abner went to tell David at Hebron all that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin were ready to do.
20 When Abner came with twenty men to David at Hebron, David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21Abner said to David, Let me go and rally all Israel to my lord the king, in order that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires. So David dismissed Abner, and he went away in peace.
22 Just then the servants of David arrived with Joab from a raid, bringing much spoil with them. But Abner was not with David at Hebron, for David had dismissed him, and he had gone away in peace. 23When Joab and all the army that was with him came, it was told Joab, Abner son of Ner came to the king, and he has dismissed him, and he has gone away in peace. 24Then Joab went to the king and said, What have you done? Abner came to you; why did you dismiss him, so that he got away? 25You know that Abner son of Ner came to deceive you, and to learn your comings and goings and to learn all that you are doing.
26 When Joab came out from Davids presence, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern of Sirah; but David did not know about it. 27When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gateway to speak with him privately, and there he stabbed him in the stomach. So he died for shedding the blood of Asahel, Joabs brother. 28Afterwards, when David heard of it, he said, I and my kingdom are for ever guiltless before the Lord for the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29May the guilt fall on the head of Joab, and on all his fathers house; and may the house of Joab never be without one who has a discharge, or who is leprous, or who holds a spindle, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks food! 30So Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.
31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, Tear your clothes, and put on sackcloth, and mourn over Abner. And King David followed the bier.
32They buried Abner at Hebron. The king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept.
33The king lamented for Abner, saying,
Should Abner die as a fool dies?
34 Your hands were not bound,
your feet were not fettered;
as one falls before the wicked
you have fallen.
And all the people wept over him again. 35Then all the people came to persuade David to eat something while it was still day; but David swore, saying, So may God do to me, and more, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down! 36All the people took notice of it, and it pleased them; just as everything the king did pleased all the people. 37So all the people and all Israel understood that day that the king had no part in the killing of Abner son of Ner. 38And the king said to his servants, Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39Today I am powerless, even though anointed king; these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too violent for me. The Lord pay back the one who does wickedly in accordance with his wickedness!