Today: [2 Samuel Chapter Twenty-Three]: David’s Mighty Men. In this chapter David articulates the word of the Lord that in his mind encapsulates his life. God has been faithful to David and in his later years he seeks to define those leadership traits that most define the man that God blesses. Among these are the mighty men who began as misfits and renegades but grew into mighty warriors who shaped a nation and defeated the enemies of the Lord. Are you a mighty man or woman of God? In this chapter you are invited from the sidelines of unbelief to the midst of battle where the glory of God shines brightest.
[2Sa 23:1-39 KJV] 1 Now these [be] the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man [who was] raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, 2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word [was] in my tongue. 3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men [must be] just, ruling in the fear of God. 4 And [he shall be] as the light of the morning, [when] the sun riseth, [even] a morning without clouds; [as] the tender grass [springing] out of the earth by clear shining after rain. 5 Although my house [be] not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all [things], and sure: for [this is] all my salvation, and all [my] desire, although he make [it] not to grow. 6 But [the sons] of Belial [shall be] all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: 7 But the man [that] shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the [same] place.
A song of David was published in the last chapter as a preamble of sorts to his last will and testament. Now here again is a second installment as David seeks to encapsulate his understanding of the favor of God throughout his lifetime. As Saul prophesied when he was among the prophets now David prophesies with the word of the Lord “in his tongue”. This then is not something that was conferred to David through Nathan or Gad the Prophet. The people’s attention was upon David and he is speaking the word of the Lord in his own voice. Throughout his life since the day that Samuel poured the horn of oil upon him he has been a kingdom seeker. His understanding of God is once of unwavering, unswerving faithfulness. He sees God as the ROCK of Israel, not just some ethereal being that might be around in a crisis and might not.
The message that David gives from God is one of leadership. He only mentions ONE quality. He that rules among men must rule in the fear of God. He could have mentioned many things. He could have emphasized the need for boldness as he showed with Goliath, or military prowess, or administrative capability but he doesn’t speak of any of these things. The fear of the Lord is the principle thing – not the fear of man or of circumstances or any other thing. In Psa. 19:9 David tells us that the fear of the Lord is clean. Any other fear is unclean. Fear is an unclean thing, an unclean spirit which is what Rev. 21:8 tells us that the fear lead the abominable into hell – treating fear like a sin to be repented of rather than a condition to be treated.
8 These [be] the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same [was] Adino the Eznite: [he lift up his spear] against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. 9 And after him [was] Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, [one] of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines [that] were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: 10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil. 11 And after him [was] Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. 12 But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory. 13 And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim. 14 And David [was] then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines [was] then [in] Bethlehem. 15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which [is] by the gate! 16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that [was] by the gate, and took [it], and brought [it] to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD. 17 And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: [is not this] the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.
Now David begins to list the men of distinction who served with him. These men originated from the 600 men that joined themselves to David when he was in flight from Saul. It would be good to remember the humble beginnings of these warriors:
[1Sa 22:2 KJV] 2 And every one [that was] in distress, and every one that [was] in debt, and every one [that was] discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.
David is a type of Jesus. What would you do for your Jesus? The most distinquished of these were the men was Abishai the brother of Joab. When the are fighting the Philistines David longs for a drink for a well behind enemy lines and these three men break through at great risk and bring David water from this well. David is so moved he will not drink it but pours it out like a drink offering to the Lord. Oh that our heart toward God would be such that we would give him that which he has not even asked for! That our heart toward him would be such that we would hazard our lives just at what we though He wanted. What humility as well that David shared where most kings would have drank from the water but David understands his own humanity and doesn’t see himself as better than other men and pours out what they risked their lives for as a drink offering.
18 And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, [and] slew [them], and had the name among three. 19 Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the [first] three. 20 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow: 21 And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear. 22 These [things] did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men. 23 He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the [first] three. And David set him over his guard. 24 Asahel the brother of Joab [was] one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, 25 Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite, 26 Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, 27 Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite, 28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite, 29 Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin, 30 Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash, 31 Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite, 32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, 33 Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite, 34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, 35 Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite, 36 Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite, 37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah, 38 Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite, 39 Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.
Benaniah was a man of great courage. Abishai showed his bravery in his love for the king. Benaniah showed his bravery in his contempt for the enemy. He sees a lion in a pit and throws himself upon it and kills it in sight of David and all the mighty men. The spirit of adventure and bravery was infectious among David’s soldiers. We remember the young man who wanted to take news to David as a runner when a runner had already been dispatch. He cried out to Joab “let me run!” he was so full of zeal for his king. What is your level of zeal? When David saw the giant Goliath confronting the army he asked his brothers “is there not a cause? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he defies the armies of the living God?” His brothers had stood with the army sizing up the problem for many days – but David was ready with a sling and five stones to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. There are many men and women who stand on the sidelines and articulate the problem with great wisdom and insight. The answers usually involve defining the need for something we don’t have yet or waiting upon someone else to act because after all “it isn’t our job”. Where is the heart of David in our midst to go forward with what is in our hand? David’s confidence was never in his great strategies but in the faithfulness of God to stand behind the man who was willing to face impossible odds in His name.
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