TORAH
FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
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II Samuel 2

1Sometime afterward, David inquired of Hashem, “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Yehuda?” Hashem answered, “Yes.” David further asked, “Which one shall I go up to?” And Hashem replied, “To Chevron.”

אוַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי־כֵן וַיִּשְׁאַל דָּוִד בַּיהֹוָה לֵאמֹר הַאֶעֱלֶה בְּאַחַת עָרֵי יְהוּדָה וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלָיו עֲלֵה וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אָנָה אֶעֱלֶה וַיֹּאמֶר חֶבְרֹנָה׃

2So David went up there, along with his two wives, Ahinoam of Yizrael and Avigail wife of Naval the Carmelite.

בוַיַּעַל שָׁם דָּוִד וְגַם שְׁתֵּי נָשָׁיו אֲחִינֹעַם הַיִּזְרְעֵלִית וַאֲבִיגַיִל אֵשֶׁת נָבָל הַכַּרְמְלִי׃

3David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in the towns about Chevron.

גוַאֲנָשָׁיו אֲשֶׁר־עִמּוֹ הֶעֱלָה דָוִד אִישׁ וּבֵיתוֹ וַיֵּשְׁבוּ בְּעָרֵי חֶבְרוֹן׃

4The men of Yehuda came and there they anointed David king over the House of Yehuda. David was told about the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Shaul.

va-ya-VO-u an-SHAY y'-hu-DAH va-yim-sh'-khu SHAM et da-VID l'-ME-lekh al BAYT y'-hu-DAH va-ya-GI-du l'-da-VID lay-MOR an-SHAY ya-VAYSH gil-AD a-SHER ka-v'-RU at sha-UL

דוַיָּבֹאוּ אַנְשֵׁי יְהוּדָה וַיִּמְשְׁחוּ־שָׁם אֶת־דָּוִד לְמֶלֶךְ עַל־בֵּית יְהוּדָה וַיַּגִּדוּ לְדָוִד לֵאמֹר אַנְשֵׁי יָבֵישׁ גִּלְעָד אֲשֶׁר קָבְרוּ אֶת־שָׁאוּל׃

 2:4   The men of Yehuda came and there they anointed David king over the House of Yehuda

At God’s instruction, following the death of King Shaul, David goes to the holy city of Chevron. There, he is anointed king by the people of Yehuda. Though the prophet Shmuel had already anointed him, his anointment by the people demonstrates their acceptance of his reign. King David rules from Chevron for seven and one half years (see verse 11). This shows that Chevron is not only the burial site of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs Avraham and Sara, Yitzchak and Rivka and Yaakov and Leah; it is also the cradle of Israel’s monarchy. Today’s Jewish community of Chevron serves a critical function by preserving Jewish sovereignty over this ancient and historic city, and the right of all to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Ariel view of the Cave of Machpelah and city of Chevron

The Cave of the Patriarchs in Chevron.

5So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed of Hashem because you performed this act of faithfulness to your lord Shaul and buried him.

הוַיִּשְׁלַח דָּוִד מַלְאָכִים אֶל־אַנְשֵׁי יָבֵישׁ גִּלְעָד וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם בְּרֻכִים אַתֶּם לַיהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם הַחֶסֶד הַזֶּה עִם־אֲדֹנֵיכֶם עִם־שָׁאוּל וַתִּקְבְּרוּ אֹתוֹ׃

6May Hashem in turn show you true faithfulness; and I too will reward you generously because you performed this act.

ווְעַתָּה יַעַשׂ־יְהֹוָה עִמָּכֶם חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת וְגַם אָנֹכִי אֶעֱשֶׂה אִתְּכֶם הַטּוֹבָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה׃

7Now take courage and be brave men; for your lord Shaul is dead and the House of Yehuda have already anointed me king over them.”

זוְעַתָּה תֶּחֱזַקְנָה יְדֵיכֶם וִהְיוּ לִבְנֵי־חַיִל כִּי־מֵת אֲדֹנֵיכֶם שָׁאוּל וְגַם־אֹתִי מָשְׁחוּ בֵית־יְהוּדָה לְמֶלֶךְ עֲלֵיהֶם׃

8But Avner son of Ner, Shaul's army commander, had taken Ish-boshet son of Shaul and brought him across to Mahanaim

חוְאַבְנֵר בֶּן־נֵר שַׂר־צָבָא אֲשֶׁר לְשָׁאוּל לָקַח אֶת־אִישׁ בֹּשֶׁת בֶּן־שָׁאוּל וַיַּעֲבִרֵהוּ מַחֲנָיִם׃

9and made him king over Gilad, the Assyriaites, Yizrael, Efraim, and Binyamin—over all Yisrael.

טוַיַּמְלִכֵהוּ אֶל־הַגִּלְעָד וְאֶל־הָאֲשׁוּרִי וְאֶל־יִזְרְעֶאל וְעַל־אֶפְרַיִם וְעַל־בִּנְיָמִן וְעַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל כֻּלֹּה׃

10Ish-boshet son of Shaul was forty years old when he became king of Yisrael, and he reigned two years. But the House of Yehuda supported David.

יבֶּן־אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה אִישׁ־בֹּשֶׁת בֶּן־שָׁאוּל בְּמָלְכוֹ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וּשְׁתַּיִם שָׁנִים מָלָךְ אַךְ בֵּית יְהוּדָה הָיוּ אַחֲרֵי דָוִד׃

11The length of time that David reigned in Chevron over the House of Yehuda was seven years and six months.

יאוַיְהִי מִסְפַּר הַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר הָיָה דָוִד מֶלֶךְ בְּחֶבְרוֹן עַל־בֵּית יְהוּדָה שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וְשִׁשָּׁה חֳדָשִׁים׃

12Once Avner son of Ner and the soldiers of Ish-boshet son of Shaul marched out from Mahanaim to Givon,

יבוַיֵּצֵא אַבְנֵר בֶּן־נֵר וְעַבְדֵי אִישׁ־בֹּשֶׁת בֶּן־שָׁאוּל מִמַּחֲנַיִם גִּבְעוֹנָה׃

13and Yoav son of Tzeruya and the soldiers of David [also] came out. They confronted one another at the pool of Givon: one group sat on one side of the pool, and the other group on the other side of the pool.

יגוְיוֹאָב בֶּן־צְרוּיָה וְעַבְדֵי דָוִד יָצְאוּ וַיִּפְגְּשׁוּם עַל־בְּרֵכַת גִּבְעוֹן יַחְדָּו וַיֵּשְׁבוּ אֵלֶּה עַל־הַבְּרֵכָה מִזֶּה וְאֵלֶּה עַל־הַבְּרֵכָה מִזֶּה׃

14Avner said to Yoav, “Let the young men come forward and sport before us.” “Yes, let them,” Yoav answered.

ידוַיֹּאמֶר אַבְנֵר אֶל־יוֹאָב יָקוּמוּ נָא הַנְּעָרִים וִישַׂחֲקוּ לְפָנֵינוּ וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹאָב יָקֻמוּ׃

15They came forward and were counted off, twelve for Binyamin and Ish-boshet son of Shaul, and twelve of David's soldiers.

טווַיָּקֻמוּ וַיַּעַבְרוּ בְמִסְפָּר שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר לְבִנְיָמִן וּלְאִישׁ בֹּשֶׁת בֶּן־שָׁאוּל וּשְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מֵעַבְדֵי דָוִד׃

16Each one grasped his opponent's head [and thrust] his dagger into his opponent's side; thus they fell together. That place, which is in Givon, was called Helkath-hazzurim.

טזוַיַּחֲזִקוּ אִישׁ בְּרֹאשׁ רֵעֵהוּ וְחַרְבּוֹ בְּצַד רֵעֵהוּ וַיִּפְּלוּ יַחְדָּו וַיִּקְרָא לַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא חֶלְקַת הַצֻּרִים אֲשֶׁר בְּגִבְעוֹן׃

17A fierce battle ensued that day, and Avner and the men of Yisrael were routed by David's soldiers.

יזוַתְּהִי הַמִּלְחָמָה קָשָׁה עַד־מְאֹד בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וַיִּנָּגֶף אַבְנֵר וְאַנְשֵׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְנֵי עַבְדֵי דָוִד׃

18The three sons of Tzeruya were there—Yoav, Avishai, and Asael. Asael was swift of foot, like a gazelle in the open field.

יחוַיִּהְיוּ־שָׁם שְׁלֹשָׁה בְּנֵי צְרוּיָה יוֹאָב וַאֲבִישַׁי וַעֲשָׂהאֵל וַעֲשָׂהאֵל קַל בְּרַגְלָיו כְּאַחַד הַצְּבָיִם אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׂדֶה׃

19And Asael ran after Avner, swerving neither right nor left in his pursuit of Avner.

יטוַיִּרְדֹּף עֲשָׂהאֵל אַחֲרֵי אַבְנֵר וְלֹא־נָטָה לָלֶכֶת עַל־הַיָּמִין וְעַל־הַשְּׂמֹאול מֵאַחֲרֵי אַבְנֵר׃

20Avner looked back and shouted, “Is that you, Asael?” “Yes, it is,” he called back.

כוַיִּפֶן אַבְנֵר אַחֲרָיו וַיֹּאמֶר הַאַתָּה זֶה עֲשָׂהאֵל וַיֹּאמֶר אָנֹכִי׃

21Avner said to him, “Turn to the right or to the left, and seize one of our boys and strip off his tunic.” But Asael would not leave off.

כאוַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ אַבְנֵר נְטֵה לְךָ עַל־יְמִינְךָ אוֹ עַל־שְׂמֹאלֶךָ וֶאֱחֹז לְךָ אֶחָד מֵהַנְּעָרִים וְקַח־לְךָ אֶת־חֲלִצָתוֹ וְלֹא־אָבָה עֲשָׂהאֵל לָסוּר מֵאַחֲרָיו׃

22Avner again begged Asael, “Stop pursuing me, or I'll have to strike you down. How will I look your brother Yoav in the face?”

כבוַיֹּסֶף עוֹד אַבְנֵר לֵאמֹר אֶל־עֲשָׂהאֵל סוּר לְךָ מֵאַחֲרָי לָמָּה אַכֶּכָּה אַרְצָה וְאֵיךְ אֶשָּׂא פָנַי אֶל־יוֹאָב אָחִיךָ׃

23When he refused to desist, Avner struck him in the belly with a backward thrust of his spear and the spear protruded from his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And all who came to the place where Asael fell and died halted;

כגוַיְמָאֵן לָסוּר וַיַּכֵּהוּ אַבְנֵר בְּאַחֲרֵי הַחֲנִית אֶל־הַחֹמֶשׁ וַתֵּצֵא הַחֲנִית מֵאַחֲרָיו וַיִּפָּל־שָׁם וַיָּמָת תחתו [תַּחְתָּיו] וַיְהִי כָּל־הַבָּא אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־נָפַל שָׁם עֲשָׂהאֵל וַיָּמֹת וַיַּעֲמֹדוּ׃

24but Yoav and Avishai continued to pursue Avner. And the sun was setting as they reached the hill of Ammah, which faces Giah on the road to the wilderness of Givon.

כדוַיִּרְדְּפוּ יוֹאָב וַאֲבִישַׁי אַחֲרֵי אַבְנֵר וְהַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בָּאָה וְהֵמָּה בָּאוּ עַד־גִּבְעַת אַמָּה אֲשֶׁר עַל־פְּנֵי־גִיחַ דֶּרֶךְ מִדְבַּר גִּבְעוֹן׃

25The Benjaminites rallied behind Avner, forming a single company; and they took up a position on the top of a hill.

כהוַיִּתְקַבְּצוּ בְנֵי־בִנְיָמִן אַחֲרֵי אַבְנֵר וַיִּהְיוּ לַאֲגֻדָּה אֶחָת וַיַּעַמְדוּ עַל רֹאשׁ־גִּבְעָה אֶחָת׃

26Avner then called out to Yoav, “Must the sword devour forever? You know how bitterly it's going to end! How long will you delay ordering your troops to stop the pursuit of their kinsmen?”

כווַיִּקְרָא אַבְנֵר אֶל־יוֹאָב וַיֹּאמֶר הֲלָנֶצַח תֹּאכַל חֶרֶב הֲלוֹא יָדַעְתָּה כִּי־מָרָה תִהְיֶה בָּאַחֲרוֹנָה וְעַד־מָתַי לֹא־תֹאמַר לָעָם לָשׁוּב מֵאַחֲרֵי אֲחֵיהֶם׃

27And Yoav replied, “As Hashem lives, if you hadn't spoken up, the troops would have given up the pursuit of their kinsmen only the next morning.”

כזוַיֹּאמֶר יוֹאָב חַי הָאֱלֹהִים כִּי לוּלֵא דִּבַּרְתָּ כִּי אָז מֵהַבֹּקֶר נַעֲלָה הָעָם אִישׁ מֵאַחֲרֵי אָחִיו׃

28Yoav then sounded the shofar, and all the troops halted; they ceased their pursuit of Yisrael and stopped the fighting.

כחוַיִּתְקַע יוֹאָב בַּשּׁוֹפָר וַיַּעַמְדוּ כָּל־הָעָם וְלֹא־יִרְדְּפוּ עוֹד אַחֲרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא־יָסְפוּ עוֹד לְהִלָּחֵם׃

29Avner and his men marched through the Arabah all that night and, after crossing the Yarden, they marched through all of Bithron until they came to Mahanaim.

כטוְאַבְנֵר וַאֲנָשָׁיו הָלְכוּ בָּעֲרָבָה כֹּל הַלַּיְלָה הַהוּא וַיַּעַבְרוּ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן וַיֵּלְכוּ כָּל־הַבִּתְרוֹן וַיָּבֹאוּ מַחֲנָיִם׃

30After Yoav gave up the pursuit of Avner, he assembled all the troops and found nineteen of David's soldiers missing, besides Asael.

לוְיוֹאָב שָׁב מֵאַחֲרֵי אַבְנֵר וַיִּקְבֹּץ אֶת־כָּל־הָעָם וַיִּפָּקְדוּ מֵעַבְדֵי דָוִד תִּשְׁעָה־עָשָׂר אִישׁ וַעֲשָׂה־אֵל׃

31David's soldiers, on the other hand, defeated the Benjaminites and the men under Avner and killed three hundred and sixty men.

לאוְעַבְדֵי דָוִד הִכּוּ מִבִּנְיָמִן וּבְאַנְשֵׁי אַבְנֵר שְׁלֹשׁ־מֵאוֹת וְשִׁשִּׁים אִישׁ מֵתוּ׃

32They bore Asael away and buried him in his father's tomb in Beit Lechem. Then Yoav and his men marched all night; day broke upon them in Chevron.

לבוַיִּשְׂאוּ אֶת־עֲשָׂהאֵל וַיִּקְבְּרֻהוּ בְּקֶבֶר אָבִיו אֲשֶׁר בֵּית לָחֶם וַיֵּלְכוּ כָל־הַלַּיְלָה יוֹאָב וַאֲנָשָׁיו וַיֵּאֹר לָהֶם בְּחֶבְרוֹן׃