The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Tuesday May 23, 2023 (NIV)

2 Samuel 2:12-3:39

12 Abner son of Ner and the followers of Ishbosheth son of Saul went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 Joab son of Zeruiah and the followers of David went out and confronted them at the pool[a] of Gibeon. They took up positions on the opposite sides of the pool.

14 Abner said to Joab, “The young men should get up and compete in front of us.”

Joab said, “Yes, let them do so.”

15 So twelve representatives for Benjamin and Ishbosheth son of Saul got up and crossed over to confront twelve representatives for David. 16 Each one grabbed his opponent’s head and thrust his sword into his side. Together, they all fell. So that place, which is near Gibeon, was called Helkath Hatsurim.[b] 17 A fierce battle took place that day. Abner and the men of Israel were beaten by the followers of David.

18 Three sons of Zeruiah were there, namely, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel was a fast runner, like one of the gazelles out in the fields. 19 Asahel pursued Abner and did not turn aside to the right or to the left from his pursuit.

20 Abner looked behind him and said, “Is that you, Asahel?”

He said, “Yes, it is.”

21 Abner said to him, “Turn to your right hand or to your left and capture one of the young men for yourself and strip off his equipment for yourself.” But Asahel would not turn aside.

22 So Abner warned him again, “Turn aside. Stop following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How could I face Joab your brother?” 23 But Asahel refused to turn aside, so Abner struck him in the stomach with the pointed butt of his spear. The spear came out his back, and he fell down and died right there. Everyone stopped and just stood there when they came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.

24 But Joab and Abishai keep pursuing Abner. The sun was going down when they came to the hill of Ammah in front of Giah, on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 The Benjaminites rallied together behind Abner, joined in one formation, and took their stand on the top of one hill.

26 Abner called to Joab, “Will the sword continue to devour? Do you not know that it will be bitter when all this is over? How long will you delay telling the people to stop pursuing their brothers?”

27 Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely it would have been morning before the people would have given up pursuing their brothers.” 28 So Joab blew the ram’s horn, and all the people stopped pursuing Israel. They did not continue to fight.

29 Abner and his men traveled through the Arabah all that night. They crossed the Jordan, marched through the entire region of Bithron,[c] and came to Mahanaim.

30 Joab returned from pursuing Abner and gathered together all his troops. Besides Asahel, nineteen of David’s men were missing. 31 The followers of David had struck dead three hundred sixty of Abner’s men from the tribe of Benjamin. 32 The men of Judah picked up Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father at Bethlehem.

Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron as it was becoming light.

The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David kept getting stronger, and the house of Saul kept getting weaker.

David’s Sons

Sons were born to David at Hebron. His firstborn was Amnon, who was born to Ahinoam from Jezre’el. His second was Kileab, who was born to Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. The third was Absalom, who was the son of Ma’akah, the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur. The fourth was Adonijah, the son of Haggith. The fifth was Shephatiah, the son of Abital. The sixth, Ithream, was born to David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.

Abner and Ishbosheth

While the war was going on between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner kept gaining power within the house of Saul.

Saul had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. Ishbosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone to the concubine of my father?”

Abner became very angry because of the words of Ishbosheth and said, “Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? To this day I have acted with loyalty toward the house of your father Saul, to his relatives, and to his friends. In addition, I have not handed you over to David, but today you make accusations against me concerning this woman! May God punish me severely and double it,[d] if I do not do for David what the Lord has sworn about him 10 by transferring the kingdom from the house of Saul and establishing the throne of David over both Israel and Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 Ishbosheth was not able to say anything to Abner anymore because he was afraid of him.

Abner and David

12 Abner sent messengers on his behalf to David. They said, “Whose land is it? Make a covenant with me. Look, my hand is with you to turn the allegiance of all Israel to you.”

13 David said, “Good. I will make a covenant with you, but I require one thing from you. You will not see my face unless you bring to me Michal, the daughter of Saul, when you come.”

14 David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son. They delivered this demand: “Give me my wife Michal, whom I obtained as my wife with a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.”

15 Ishbosheth sent and took her away from her husband, Paltiel son of Laish. 16 Her husband accompanied her to Bahurim, weeping all the way, but Abner told him, “Go back,” so he went home.

17 Abner also delivered the following message to the elders of Israel: “Day after day you have been seeking to have David as king over you. 18 Now do it, because the Lord said to David, ‘By the hand of my servant David I will rescue[e] my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’”

19 Abner also spoke to the tribe of Benjamin. Then he spoke to David in Hebron about everything that Israel and all the house of Benjamin had approved.

20 Abner and twenty men along with him came to David at Hebron, and David held a feast for Abner and his men. 21 Abner said to David, “I will go and gather all Israel to my lord the king. They will make a covenant with you. You will rule over all that your heart desires.” David sent Abner away in peace.

Abner and Joab

22 Just then the soldiers of David and Joab came back from a raid. They brought a large amount of plunder with them. Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, because David had sent him away in peace. 23 When Joab and all the army with him arrived, Joab was informed that Abner son of Ner had come to the king and that David had sent him away in peace.

24 So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Abner came to you. Why have you sent him away? You let him get away! 25 You know that Abner son of Ner came to deceive you and to learn about your comings and goings and everything that you are doing.”

26 Joab left David and sent messengers after Abner. They brought him back from the cistern at Sirah without David’s knowledge. 27 So Abner returned to Hebron, and Joab took him aside into the gatehouse to speak with him. There he stabbed him in the stomach. So Abner was killed because of the blood of Joab’s brother Asahel.

28 Afterward David heard about it and said, “I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord forever concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May his blood splash down on the head of Joab and on the entire house of his father. May the house of Joab never lack a man who has an oozing sore, who is a leper, who holds a spindle,[f] who falls by the sword, or who has no bread.”

30 Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because he had caused the death of their brother Asahel during the battle at Gibeon.

31 David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothing. Put on sackcloth and mourn for Abner.” King David walked behind the stretcher[g] that was carrying his body. 32 They buried Abner at Hebron, and the king wept loudly at the grave of Abner. All the people also wept. 33 The king lamented over Abner, “Should Abner have died as a fool dies? 34 Your hands were not tied up, and your feet were not bound with iron shackles. You have fallen as one falls before the wicked.” All the people continued to weep over him.

35 All the people came to try to persuade David to eat on that day, but David swore, “May God punish me severely and double it, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down.”

36 All the people took notice and approved of this, as they approved of everything that the king did. 37 All the people, all Israel, knew on that day that it was not the king’s idea to kill Abner son of Ner. 38 The king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a great commander has fallen this day in Israel? 39 Today I am weak, even though I am the anointed king. These men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too hard for me. I pray that the Lord will pay back the evildoer in proportion to his wickedness.”


  1. 2 Samuel 2:13 Or reservoir
  2. 2 Samuel 2:16 The meaning of this name is uncertain. It may mean Place of Sides or Place of Opponents or Field of Blades.
  3. 2 Samuel 2:29 The meaning of the Hebrew word bithron is uncertain. It may refer to a geographic region, or it may mean all morning long.
  4. 2 Samuel 3:9 Literally may God do this to Abner and even more
  5. 2 Samuel 3:18 The translation follows the ancient versions. The Hebrew reads he will rescue.
  6. 2 Samuel 3:29 That is, one who does spinning, which was typically women’s work
  7. 2 Samuel 3:31 Or bier
Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version®, EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved.

John 13:1-30

No Greater Love—in Service

13 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved those who were his own in the world, he loved them to the end.[a]

By the time the supper took place, the Devil had already put the idea into the heart of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.

Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God. He got up from the supper and laid aside his outer garment. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who asked him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus answered him, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but later you will understand.”

Peter told him, “You will never, ever, wash my feet!”

Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Lord, not just my feet,” Simon Peter replied, “but also my hands and my head!”

10 Jesus told him, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet, but his body is completely clean. And you[b] are clean, but not all of you.” 11 Indeed, he knew who was going to betray him. That is why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 After Jesus had washed their feet and put on his outer garment, he reclined at the table again. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me Teacher and Lord. You are right, because I am. 14 Now if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 Yes, I have given you an example so that you also would do just as I have done for you. 16 Amen, Amen, I tell you: A servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

18 “I am not talking about all of you. I know those I have chosen. But this is so that the Scripture may be fulfilled: ‘One who eats bread with me has raised his heel against me.’[c] 19 I am telling you this right now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may believe that I am he.

20 “Amen, Amen, I tell you: Whoever receives anyone I send, receives me. And whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me.”

Who Is the Betrayer?

21 After saying this, Jesus was troubled in his spirit and testified, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: One of you will betray me.”

22 The disciples were looking at each other, uncertain which of them he meant.

23 One of his disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. 24 So Simon Peter motioned to him to find out which one he was talking about.

25 So leaning back against Jesus’ side, he asked, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus replied, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread, after I have dipped it in the dish.” Then he dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do more quickly.”

28 None of those reclining at the table understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Because Judas kept the money box, some thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the Festival,” or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.


  1. John 13:1 Or to the fullest extent
  2. John 13:10 You is plural.
  3. John 13:18 Psalm 41:9
Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version®, EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved.

Psalm 119:1-16

Psalm 119

The Great Psalm on the Law of the Lord[a]

Aleph: Blessed Are the Blameless

How blessed are those who are blameless in their way,
who walk in the law[b] of the Lord.
How blessed are those who keep[c] his testimonies.
With all their heart they seek him.
Indeed, they do no wrong.
They walk in his ways.
You have commanded that your precepts[d] be kept completely.
If only my ways were unwavering in keeping your statutes![e]
Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
I will thank you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous judgments.[f]
I will keep your statutes.
Do not abandon me completely.

Bet: Hidden in My Heart

How can a young man keep his path pure?
By guarding it with your words.[g]
10 With all my heart I seek you.
Do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your sayings[h] in my heart,
so that I may not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord!
Teach me your statutes.
13 With my lips I tell about all the judgments
that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in the way that is taught by your testimonies
as much as I delight in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts,
and I will consider your paths.
16 In your statutes I delight.
I will not forget your words.


  1. Psalm 119:1 Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is a lengthy meditation on the characteristics and blessings of God’s Word. God’s Word is praised 176 times (22 × 8). Eight different names for God’s Word appear repeatedly throughout the psalm (laws, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commands, judgments, words, sayings). Though many of these terms sound like legal terms, they are all names for God’s whole Word. Each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet is represented by an eight-line stanza. All eight lines of each stanza begin with the appropriate Hebrew letter. The letter names are listed in the stanza headings.
  2. Psalm 119:1 Law in the Old Testament is often used in a wide sense as a name for God’s whole Word. It may refer to teaching of various kinds.
  3. Psalm 119:2 Or guard
  4. Psalm 119:4 Or regulations or rules
  5. Psalm 119:5 Or instructions
  6. Psalm 119:7 Or rulings or ordinances
  7. Psalm 119:9 Or word. In this psalm there are many textual variants between singular and plural forms of word. The translation does not note them all.
  8. Psalm 119:11 Or message. Many translate this as promise, but it is the common Hebrew root for say. Sometimes, of course, God’s sayings are promises.
Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version®, EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 15:29-30

29 The Lord is far away from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
30 A twinkle in the eyes delights the heart,
and good news gives health to the bones.

Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version®, EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved.