Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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April 21 - Morning

"Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done. He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made. He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. He brought into the temple of the Lord the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated."
- First Kings 15:11-15

Good King Asa of Judah


Queen mothers had considerable influence and were active in court and state affairs in Mesopotamia, Hittite and, likewise, in Judean culture. So, like Bathsheba, Maacah the grandmother of Asa had extended her authority into Jerusalem’s and Judah’s religious activity. Asa put a stop to this and burned her Asherah pole in the Kidron Valley.

Asa ruled Judah for forty-one years which included three years with his son Jehoshaphat. The high places Asa did not remove where not worship centers for foreign gods, but local shrines dedicated to YHWH. The Lord forbid these high places which were often shrines dedicated to him. The Lord only accepted worship in the one central temple in Jerusalem, because this was meant to be maintained by the orthodoxy of the priesthood who were to follow the Mosaic code. But, Asa allowed the extra high places even though these were continually a source of corruption from Canaanite style of worship and other pagan religious influences.

Rehoboam and Abijah (Asa’s grandfather and father) had allowed sacred prostitutes (even male) and idols, but these Asa like David forbid in the land of Judah. Asa and his father did collect and spend silver and gold on the maintenance of the Jerusalem temple dedicated to the Lord.

In 2 Chronicles 14:1-15:18 we have more details of Asa’s reign and find that he was supported spiritually by the prophet Azariah and was victorious against an Egyptian invasion by Pharaoh Osorkon I’s general Zerah the Ethiopian. (Details) (2 Chron 14:9-15)
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Naqah (Hb) – Clean, Unpunished (Eng) – naqah is the Hebrew word that means “to be empty,” “to be clear,” “to be innocent”, “to be exempt from punishment.” Naqah is used 42x and is translated “acquit,” “blameless,” “free,” “innocent,” “purged,” etc. Naqah is used 7x in Proverbs: 6:29; 11:21; 16:5; 17:5; 19:5; 19:9; 28:20.
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Do I have the courage and the understanding to stand with God even when my friends and family have compromised?
I will learn God's word and know God's ways so that I may courageously choose righteousness.



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Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

Complete Text

General Text




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Personal

Improved understanding of love

Church

Financial support and responsible spending
Political parties
China, Macau



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The original Cardo pavement is preserved with the Roman game board cut into the lower left stone of the original street. This was cut sometime after Hadrian's rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and renaming it Aelila Capitolina. (Details concerning the Cardo)
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Diagram demonstrating the pastors role in empowering people for the work of the ministry according to Ephesians 4:11-16.




Someone to Quote

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“Psychological guilt is actual and cruel, but Christians know that there is also real guilt, moral guilt before a holy God. It is not a matter only of psychological guilt.” – Francis Schaeffer

Something to Ponder

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Seven books the Bible refers readers to if they want more information:
The Book of Wars (Nm.21:14)
The Book of Jashar (Js.10:13)
The Book of the Annals of King David (1 Chr.27:24)
The Records of Nathan the Prophet (1 Chr.29:29)
The Records of Gad the Seer (1 Chr.29:29)
The Annotations of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chr.13:22)
The Annals of Jehu, Son of Hanani (2 Chr.20:34)

Here’s a Fact

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The Herodian ashlar stones in the retaining walls of the Temple Mount visible to pedestrians at street level and above were trimmed with margins 3-6 inches wide that framed a flat chiseled central boss raised about ½-1 inch. The ashlars below street level had wider margins surrounding the bosses which had been left rough, unfinished and protruding.

Proverb

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"The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right."
- Proverbs 21:7

Coach’s Corner

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Christianity is fulfilled in a life of action. We prepare our minds for action, not debate or theological speculation. In the end you will be judged for what you did, not how you felt, what you thought or whose opinion you defended. How did what you believe change you, your world and history.

2 Chronicles 14-15:18
New International Version (NIV)
14 And Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. Asa his son succeeded him as king, and in his days the country was at peace for ten years.
Asa King of Judah
Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his laws and commands. He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest.
“Let us build up these towns,” he said to Judah, “and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered.
Asa had an army of three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows. All these were brave fighting men.
Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with an army of thousands upon thousands and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
11 Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.”
12 The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 13 and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the Lord and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder. 14 They destroyed all the villages around Gerar, for the terror of the Lord had fallen on them. They looted all these villages, since there was much plunder there. 15 They also attacked the camps of the herders and carried off droves of sheep and goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
Asa’s Reform
15 The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress. But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the portico of the Lord’s temple.
Then he assembled all Judah and Benjamin and the people from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who had settled among them, for large numbers had come over to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.
10 They assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. 11 At that time they sacrificed to the Lord seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from the plunder they had brought back. 12 They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. 13 All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. 14 They took an oath to the Lord with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. 15 All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.
16 King Asa also deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down, broke it up and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17 Although he did not remove the high places from Israel, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. 18 He brought into the temple of God the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated.
2 Chronicles 14:9-15
New International Version (NIV)
Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with an army of thousands upon thousands and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
11 Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.”
12 The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 13 and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the Lord and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder. 14 They destroyed all the villages around Gerar, for the terror of the Lord had fallen on them. They looted all these villages, since there was much plunder there. 15 They also attacked the camps of the herders and carried off droves of sheep and goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
Ephesians 4:11-16
New International Version (NIV)
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Joshua 8
New International Version (NIV)
Ai Destroyed
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”
So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night with these orders: “Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are running away from us as they did before.’ So when we flee from them, you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hand. When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have my orders.”
Then Joshua sent them off, and they went to the place of ambush and lay in wait between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai—but Joshua spent that night with the people.
10 Early the next morning Joshua mustered his army, and he and the leaders of Israel marched before them to Ai. 11 The entire force that was with him marched up and approached the city and arrived in front of it. They set up camp north of Ai, with the valley between them and the city. 12 Joshua had taken about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. 13 So the soldiers took up their positions—with the main camp to the north of the city and the ambush to the west of it. That night Joshua went into the valley.
14 When the king of Ai saw this, he and all the men of the city hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle at a certain place overlooking the Arabah. But he did not know that an ambush had been set against him behind the city. 15 Joshua and all Israel let themselves be driven back before them, and they fled toward the wilderness. 16 All the men of Ai were called to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were lured away from the city. 17 Not a man remained in Ai or Bethel who did not go after Israel. They left the city open and went in pursuit of Israel.
18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand, for into your hand I will deliver the city.” So Joshua held out toward the city the javelin that was in his hand. 19 As soon as he did this, the men in the ambush rose quickly from their position and rushed forward. They entered the city and captured it and quickly set it on fire.
20 The men of Ai looked back and saw the smoke of the city rising up into the sky, but they had no chance to escape in any direction; the Israelites who had been fleeing toward the wilderness had turned back against their pursuers. 21 For when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that smoke was going up from it, they turned around and attacked the men of Ai. 22 Those in the ambush also came out of the city against them, so that they were caught in the middle, with Israelites on both sides. Israel cut them down, leaving them neither survivors nor fugitives. 23 But they took the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.
24 When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the wilderness where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. 25 Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai. 26 For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai. 27 But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the Lord had instructed Joshua.
28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day. 29 He impaled the body of the king of Ai on a pole and left it there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take the body from the pole and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate. And they raised a large pile of rocks over it, which remains to this day.
The Covenant Renewed at Mount Ebal
30 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, 31 as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses—an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the Lord burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings. 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on stones a copy of the law of Moses. 33 All the Israelites, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the Lord, facing the Levitical priests who carried it. Both the foreigners living among them and the native-born were there. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel.
34 Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law—the blessings and the curses—just as it is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the foreigners who lived among them.
Psalm 7
New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 7
A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjamite.

Lord my God, I take refuge in you;     save and deliver me from all who pursue me,

or they will tear me apart like a lion     and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

Lord my God, if I have done this     and there is guilt on my hands—

if I have repaid my ally with evil     or without cause have robbed my foe—

then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;     let him trample my life to the ground     and make me sleep in the dust.

Arise, Lord, in your anger;     rise up against the rage of my enemies.     Awake, my God; decree justice.

Let the assembled peoples gather around you,     while you sit enthroned over them on high.

    Let the Lord judge the peoples. Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,     according to my integrity, O Most High.

Bring to an end the violence of the wicked     and make the righteous secure— you, the righteous God     who probes minds and hearts.
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My shield is God Most High,     who saves the upright in heart.
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God is a righteous judge,     a God who displays his wrath every day.
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If he does not relent,     he will sharpen his sword;     he will bend and string his bow.
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He has prepared his deadly weapons;     he makes ready his flaming arrows.
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Whoever is pregnant with evil     conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
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Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out     falls into the pit they have made.
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The trouble they cause recoils on them;     their violence comes down on their own heads.
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I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;     I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
2 Samuel 1-2
New International Version (NIV)
David Hears of Saul’s Death
After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.
“Where have you come from?” David asked him.
He answered, “I have escaped from the Israelite camp.”
“What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.”
“The men fled from the battle,” he replied. “Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”
Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”
“I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’
“He asked me, ‘Who are you?’
“‘An Amalekite,’ I answered.
“Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’
10 “So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.”
11 Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
13 David said to the young man who brought him the report, “Where are you from?”
“I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,” he answered.
14 David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?”
15 Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. 16 For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed.’”
David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan
17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):
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“A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel.     How the mighty have fallen!
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“Tell it not in Gath,     proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,     lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.
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“Mountains of Gilboa,     may you have neither dew nor rain,     may no showers fall on your terraced fields. For there the shield of the mighty was despised,     the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.
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“From the blood of the slain,     from the flesh of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,     the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.
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Saul and Jonathan—     in life they were loved and admired,     and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles,     they were stronger than lions.
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“Daughters of Israel,     weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery,     who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.
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“How the mighty have fallen in battle!     Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
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I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;     you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful,     more wonderful than that of women.
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“How the mighty have fallen!     The weapons of war have perished!”
David Anointed King Over Judah
In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked.
The Lord said, “Go up.”
David asked, “Where shall I go?”
“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.
So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns. Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.
When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul,
he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this. Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.”
War Between the Houses of David and Saul
Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.
10 Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David. 11 The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.
12 Abner son of Ner, together with the men of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. 13 Joab son of Zeruiah and David’s men went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool and one group on the other side.
14 Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us.”
“All right, let them do it,” Joab said.
15 So they stood up and were counted off—twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David. 16 Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent’s side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.
17 The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the Israelites were defeated by David’s men.
18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle. 19 He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him. 20 Abner looked behind him and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?”
“It is,” he answered.
21 Then Abner said to him, “Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel would not stop chasing him.
22 Again Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?”
23 But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.
24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon. 25 Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill.
26 Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?”
27 Joab answered, “As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued pursuing them until morning.”
28 So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the troops came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore.
29 All that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, continued through the morning hours and came to Mahanaim.
30 Then Joab stopped pursuing Abner and assembled the whole army. Besides Asahel, nineteen of David’s men were found missing. 31 But David’s men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner. 32 They took Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak.

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