After this David asked of Jehovah, “Shall I go up into one of the towns of Judah?” Jehovah answered, “Go up.” When David asked, “To which shall I go?” he said, “To Hebron.” So David went up with his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail. And David brought the men who were with him, each with his family, and they lived in the towns about Hebron. Then the men of Judah came there and made David ruler over the people of Judah.
When they told David about the men of Jabesh in Gilead who had buried Saul, David sent messengers to them and said, “May you be blessed by Jehovah because you have shown this kindness to your master Saul and have buried him. Even so may Jehovah show kindness and faithfulness to you. I also will repay you for this kind deed which you have done. Therefore be brave and courageous; for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have made me ruler over them.”
Now Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ishbaal the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim and made him ruler over Gilead and all Israel. But the people of Judah remained loyal to David.
There was constant war between the followers of Saul and those of David. But David kept growing stronger while the followers of Saul grew weaker.
Then Rechab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon, went about midday to the palace of Ishbaal, as he was taking his rest at noon. The doorkeeper of the palace was cleaning wheat, but he grew drowsy and slept. So Rechab and Baanah his brother slipped in and, attacking Ishbaal, they killed him and cut off his head.
Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “See, we are your relatives. When Saul was ruler over us, it was you who led the Israelites, and Jehovah has said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall become the leader of Israel.'” So all the leading men of Israel came to David, and he made an agreement with them in Hebron in the presence of Jehovah, and they made David ruler over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to rule and he ruled forty years.
When the Philistines heard that they had made David ruler over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David; but when he heard of this he went down to the fortress.
Three of David’s thirty warriors went down to him to the top of the rock, to the fortress of Adullam, while a force of the Philistines was camped in the Valley of Rephaim. David was at that time in the fortress, and a company of the Philistines was in Bethlehem. And David said, longingly, “O that some one would bring me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem which is near the gate!” Then the three famous warriors broke through the line of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem which was near the gate and brought it to David. He would not drink of it, however, but poured it out as an offering to Jehovah and said, “Jehovah forbid that I should drink it. This is the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives.” Therefore he would not drink it.
When the Philistines came and spread out over the Valley of Rephaim, David asked of Jehovah: “Shall I go out against the Philistines? Wilt thou give them into my hand?” Jehovah said to David, “Go; for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” So David went to Baal-perazim, and defeated them there; and he said, “Jehovah has broken down my enemies before me, like waters which break through their banks.”
Then the Philistines came up again and spread out over the Valley of Rephaim. When David asked of Jehovah, he said, “You shall not make a direct attack. Go around behind them and attack them opposite the balsam-trees. When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsams, act quickly, for then Jehovah will have gone out before you to overthrow the army of the Philistines.” David did as Jehovah commanded him and drove the Philistines from Gibeon as far as Gezer.