2 Samuel 23:8-39

David’s Mighty Warriors

Here are the names of David’s mighty warriors.

Josheb-Basshebeth was chief of the three mighty warriors. He was a Tahkemonite. He used his spear against 800 men. He killed all of them at one time.

Next to him was Eleazar. He was one of the three mighty warriors. He was the son of Dodai, the Ahohite. Eleazar was with David at Pas Dammim. That’s where Israel’s army made fun of the Philistines who were gathered there for battle. Then the Israelites pulled back. But Eleazar stayed right where he was. He struck down the Philistines until his hand grew tired. But he still held on to his sword. The Lord helped him win a great battle that day. The troops returned to Eleazar. They came back to him only to take what they wanted from the dead bodies.

Next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee. Shammah was a Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at a place where there was a field full of lentils. Israel’s troops ran away from the Philistines. But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He didn’t let the Philistines capture it. He struck them down. The Lord helped him win a great battle.

David was at the cave of Adullam. During harvest time, three of the 30 chief warriors came down to him there. A group of Philistines was camped in the Valley of Rephaim. At that time David was in his usual place of safety. Some Philistine troops were stationed at Bethlehem. David longed for a drink of water. He said, “I wish someone would get me water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem.” So the three mighty warriors fought their way past the Philistine guards. They got some water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem. They took the water back to David. But David refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as a drink offering to the Lord. Lord, I would never drink that water!” David said. “It stands for the blood of these men. They put their lives in danger by going to Bethlehem to get it.” So David wouldn’t drink it.

Those were some of the brave things the three mighty warriors did.

Abishai was chief over the three mighty warriors. He was the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah. He used his spear against 300 men. He killed all of them. So he became as famous as the three mighty warriors were. In fact, he was even more honored than the three mighty warriors. He became their commander. But he wasn’t included among them.

Benaiah was a great hero from Kabzeel. He was the son of Jehoiada. Benaiah did many brave things. He struck down two of Moab’s best warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day. He killed a lion there. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. The Egyptian was holding a spear. Benaiah went out to fight against him with a club. He grabbed the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand. Then he killed him with it. Those were some of the brave things Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, did. He too was as famous as the three mighty warriors were. He was honored more than any of the thirty chief warriors. But he wasn’t included among the three mighty warriors. David put him in charge of his own personal guards.

Here is a list of David’s men who were among the thirty chief warriors.

Asahel, the brother of Joab

Elhanan, the son of Dodo, from Bethlehem

Shammah, the Harodite

Elika, the Harodite

Helez, the Paltite

Ira, the son of Ikkesh, from Tekoa

Abiezer from Anathoth

Sibbekai, the Hushathite

Zalmon, the Ahohite

Maharai from Netophah

Heled, the son of Baanah, from Netophah

Ithai, the son of Ribai, from Gibeah in Benjamin

Benaiah from Pirathon

Hiddai from the valleys of Gaash

Abi-Albon, the Arbathite

Azmaveth, the Barhumite

Eliahba, the Shaalbonite

the sons of Jashen

Jonathan, the son of Shammah, the Hararite

Ahiam, the son of Sharar, the Hararite

Eliphelet, the son of Ahasbai, the Maakathite

Eliam, the son of Ahithophel, from Giloh

Hezro from Carmel

Paarai, the Arbite

Igal, the son of Nathan, from Zobah

the son of Hagri

Zelek from Ammon

Naharai from Beeroth, who carried the armor of Joab, the son of Zeruiah

Ira, the Ithrite

Gareb, the Ithrite

and Uriah, the Hittite

The total number of men was 37.

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2 Samuel 24

David Counts His Fighting Men

The Lord was very angry with Israel. He stirred up David against them. He said, “Go! Count the men of Israel and Judah.”

So the king spoke to Joab and the army commanders with him. He said, “Go all through the territories of the tribes of Israel. Go from the town of Dan all the way to Beersheba. Count the fighting men. Then I’ll know how many there are.”

Joab replied to the king. He said, “King David, you are my master. May the Lord your God multiply the troops 100 times. And may you live to see it. But why would you want me to count the fighting men?”

The king’s word had more authority than the word of Joab and the army commanders. That was true in spite of what Joab had said. So they left the king and went out to count the fighting men of Israel.

They went across the Jordan River. They camped south of the town in the middle of the Arnon River valley near Aroer. Then they went through Gad and continued on to Jazer. They went to Gilead and the area of Tahtim Hodshi. They continued to Dan Jaan and on around toward Sidon. Then they went toward the fort of Tyre. They went to all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites. Finally, they went on to Beersheba. It was in the Negev Desert of Judah.

They finished going through the entire land. Then they came back to Jerusalem. They had been gone for nine months and 20 days.

Joab reported to the king how many fighting men he had counted. In Israel there were 800,000 men who were able to handle a sword. In Judah there were 500,000.

David felt sorry that he had counted the fighting men. So he said to the Lord, “I committed a great sin when I counted Judah and Israel’s men. Lord, I beg you to take away my guilt. I’ve done a very foolish thing.”

Before David got up the next morning, a message from the Lord came to Gad the prophet. He was David’s seer. The message said, “Go and tell David, ‘The Lord says, “I could punish you in three different ways. Choose one of them for me to use against you.” ’ ”

So Gad went to David. He said to him, “Take your choice. Do you want three years when there won’t be enough food in your land? Or do you want three months when you will run away from your enemies while they chase you? Or do you want three days when there will be a plague in your land? Think it over. Then take your pick. Tell me how to answer the one who sent me.”

David said to Gad, “I’m suffering terribly. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord. His mercy is great. But don’t let me fall into human hands.”

So the Lord sent a plague on Israel. It lasted from that morning until he decided to end it. From Dan all the way to Beersheba 70,000 people died. The angel reached his hand out to destroy Jerusalem. But the Lord stopped sending the plague. So he spoke to the angel who was making the people suffer. He said, “That is enough! Do not kill any more people.” The angel of the Lord was at Araunah’s threshing floor. Araunah was from the city of Jebus.

David saw the angel who was striking down the people. David said to the Lord, “I’m the one who has sinned. I’m the one who has done what is wrong. I’m like a shepherd for these people. These people are like sheep. What have they done? Let your judgment be on me and my family.”

David Builds an Altar

On that day Gad went to David. Gad said to him, “Go up to the threshing floor of Araunah, the Jebusite. Build an altar there to honor the Lord.” So David went up and did it. He did what the Lord had commanded through Gad. Araunah looked and saw the king and his officials coming toward him. So he went out to welcome them. He bowed down to the king with his face toward the ground.

Araunah said, “King David, you are my master. Why have you come to see me?”

“To buy your threshing floor,” David answered. “I want to build an altar there to honor the Lord. When I do, the plague on the people will be stopped.”

Araunah said to David, “Take anything you wish. Offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering. Here are threshing sleds. And here are wooden collars from the necks of the oxen. Use all the wood to burn the offering. Your Majesty, I’ll give all of it to you.” Araunah continued, “And may the Lord your God accept you.”

But the king replied to Araunah, “No. I want to pay you for it. I won’t sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that haven’t cost me anything.”

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen. He paid 20 ounces of silver for them. David built an altar there to honor the Lord. He sacrificed burnt offerings and friendship offerings. Then the Lord answered David’s prayer and blessed the land. The plague on Israel was stopped.

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