23 These are David’s last words:
The voice of the son of Jesse,
the voice of the man God took to the top,
Whom the God of Jacob made king,
and Israel’s most popular singer!
2-7 God’s Spirit spoke through me,
his words took shape on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke to me,
Israel’s Rock-Mountain said,
“Whoever governs fairly and well,
who rules in the Fear-of-God,
Is like first light at daybreak
without a cloud in the sky,
Like green grass carpeting earth,
glistening under fresh rain.”
And this is just how my regime has been,
for God guaranteed his covenant with me,
Spelled it out plainly
and kept every promised word—
My entire salvation,
my every desire.
But the devil’s henchmen are like thorns
culled and piled as trash;
Better not try to touch them;
keep your distance with a rake or hoe.
They’ll make a glorious bonfire!
8 This is the listing of David’s top men.
Josheb-Basshebeth, the Tahkemonite. He was chief of the Three. He once put his spear to work against eight hundred—killed them all in a day.
9-10 Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite was the next of the elite Three. He was with David when the Philistines poked fun at them at Pas Dammim. When the Philistines drew up for battle, Israel retreated. But Eleazar stood his ground and killed Philistines right and left until he was exhausted—but he never let go of his sword! A big win for God that day. The army then rejoined Eleazar, but all there was left to do was the cleanup.
11-12 Shammah son of Agee the Hararite was the third of the Three. The Philistines had mustered for battle at Lehi, where there was a field full of lentils. Israel fled before the Philistines, but Shammah took his stand at the center of the field, successfully defended it, and routed the Philistines. Another great victory for God!
13-17 One day during harvest, the Three parted from the Thirty and joined David at the Cave of Adullam. A squad of Philistines had set up camp in the Valley of Rephaim. While David was holed up in the Cave, the Philistines had their base camp in Bethlehem. David had a sudden craving and said, “Would I ever like a drink of water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem!” So the Three penetrated the Philistine lines, drew water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But David wouldn’t drink it; he poured it out as an offering to God, saying, “There is no way, God, that I’ll drink this! This isn’t mere water, it’s their life-blood—they risked their very lives to bring it!” So David refused to drink it.
This is the sort of thing that the Three did.
18-19 Abishai brother of Joab and son of Zeruiah was the head of the Thirty. He once got credit for killing three hundred with his spear, but he was never named in the same breath as the Three. He was the most respected of the Thirty and was their captain, but never got included among the Three.
20-21 Benaiah son of Jehoiada from Kabzeel was a vigorous man who accomplished a great deal. He once killed two lion cubs in Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he climbed down into a pit and killed a lion. Another time he killed a formidable Egyptian. The Egyptian was armed with a spear and Benaiah went against him with nothing but a walking stick; he seized the spear from his grip and killed him with his own spear.
22-23 These are the things that Benaiah son of Jehoiada is famous for. But neither did he ever get ranked with the Three. He was held in greatest respect among the Thirty, but he never got included with the Three. David put him in charge of his bodyguard.
24-39 “The Thirty” consisted of:
Asahel brother of Joab;
Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem;
Shammah the Harodite;
Elika the Harodite;
Helez the Paltite;
Ira son of Ikkesh the Tekoite;
Abiezer the Anathothite;
Sibbecai the Hushathite;
Zalmon the Ahohite;
Maharai the Netophathite;
Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite;
Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah of the Benjaminites;
Benaiah the Pirathonite;
Hiddai from the badlands of Gaash;
Abi-Albon the Arbathite;
Azmaveth the Barhumite;
Eliahba the Shaalbonite;
Jashen the Gizonite;
Jonathan son of Shammah the Hararite;
Ahiam son of Sharar the Urite;
Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite;
Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite;
Hezro the Carmelite;
Paarai the Arbite;
Igal son of Nathan, commander of the army of Hagrites;
Zelek the Ammonite;
Naharai the Beerothite, weapon bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah;
Ira the Ithrite;
Gareb the Ithrite;
Uriah the Hittite. Thirty-seven, all told.