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David Avenges the Gibeonites

21 There was a famine during David’s reign that lasted for three years, so David asked the Lord about it. And the Lord said, “The famine has come because Saul and his family are guilty of murdering the Gibeonites.”

So the king summoned the Gibeonites. They were not part of Israel but were all that was left of the nation of the Amorites. The people of Israel had sworn not to kill them, but Saul, in his zeal for Israel and Judah, had tried to wipe them out. David asked them, “What can I do for you? How can I make amends so that you will bless the Lord’s people again?”

“Well, money can’t settle this matter between us and the family of Saul,” the Gibeonites replied. “Neither can we demand the life of anyone in Israel.”

“What can I do then?” David asked. “Just tell me and I will do it for you.”

Then they replied, “It was Saul who planned to destroy us, to keep us from having any place at all in the territory of Israel. So let seven of Saul’s sons be handed over to us, and we will execute them before the Lord at Gibeon, on the mountain of the Lord.[a]

“All right,” the king said, “I will do it.” The king spared Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth,[b] who was Saul’s grandson, because of the oath David and Jonathan had sworn before the Lord. But he gave them Saul’s two sons Armoni and Mephibosheth, whose mother was Rizpah daughter of Aiah. He also gave them the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab,[c] the wife of Adriel son of Barzillai from Meholah. The men of Gibeon executed them on the mountain before the Lord. So all seven of them died together at the beginning of the barley harvest.

10 Then Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the mother of two of the men, spread burlap on a rock and stayed there the entire harvest season. She prevented the scavenger birds from tearing at their bodies during the day and stopped wild animals from eating them at night. 11 When David learned what Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, had done, 12 he went to the people of Jabesh-gilead and retrieved the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan. (When the Philistines had killed Saul and Jonathan on Mount Gilboa, the people of Jabesh-gilead stole their bodies from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hung them.) 13 So David obtained the bones of Saul and Jonathan, as well as the bones of the men the Gibeonites had executed.

14 Then the king ordered that they bury the bones in the tomb of Kish, Saul’s father, at the town of Zela in the land of Benjamin. After that, God ended the famine in the land.

Battles against Philistine Giants

15 Once again the Philistines were at war with Israel. And when David and his men were in the thick of battle, David became weak and exhausted. 16 Ishbi-benob was a descendant of the giants[d]; his bronze spearhead weighed more than seven pounds,[e] and he was armed with a new sword. He had cornered David and was about to kill him. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue and killed the Philistine. Then David’s men declared, “You are not going out to battle with us again! Why risk snuffing out the light of Israel?”

18 After this, there was another battle against the Philistines at Gob. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, another descendant of the giants.

19 During another battle at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair[f] from Bethlehem killed the brother of Goliath of Gath.[g] The handle of his spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam!

20 In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man[h] with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. 21 But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea.[i]

22 These four Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them.

David’s Song of Praise

22 David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang:

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
    my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
    and my place of safety.
He is my refuge, my savior,
    the one who saves me from violence.
I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and he saved me from my enemies.

“The waves of death overwhelmed me;
    floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave[j] wrapped its ropes around me;
    death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
    yes, I cried to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
    my cry reached his ears.

“Then the earth quaked and trembled.
    The foundations of the heavens shook;
    they quaked because of his anger.
Smoke poured from his nostrils;
    fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
    Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
10 He opened the heavens and came down;
    dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
11 Mounted on a mighty angelic being,[k] he flew,
    soaring[l] on the wings of the wind.
12 He shrouded himself in darkness,
    veiling his approach with dense rain clouds.
13 A great brightness shone around him,
    and burning coals[m] blazed forth.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.
15 He shot arrows and scattered his enemies;
    his lightning flashed, and they were confused.
16 Then at the command of the Lord,
    at the blast of his breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
    and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.

17 “He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
    from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
19 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
    but the Lord supported me.
20 He led me to a place of safety;
    he rescued me because he delights in me.
21 The Lord rewarded me for doing right;
    he restored me because of my innocence.
22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
23 I have followed all his regulations;
    I have never abandoned his decrees.
24 I am blameless before God;
    I have kept myself from sin.
25 The Lord rewarded me for doing right.
    He has seen my innocence.

26 “To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
    to those with integrity you show integrity.
27 To the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
28 You rescue the humble,
    but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them.
29 O Lord, you are my lamp.
    The Lord lights up my darkness.
30 In your strength I can crush an army;
    with my God I can scale any wall.

31 “God’s way is perfect.
    All the Lord’s promises prove true.
    He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
32 For who is God except the Lord?
    Who but our God is a solid rock?
33 God is my strong fortress,
    and he makes my way perfect.
34 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
35 He trains my hands for battle;
    he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
36 You have given me your shield of victory;
    your help[n] has made me great.
37 You have made a wide path for my feet
    to keep them from slipping.

38 “I chased my enemies and destroyed them;
    I did not stop until they were conquered.
39 I consumed them;
    I struck them down so they did not get up;
    they fell beneath my feet.
40 You have armed me with strength for the battle;
    you have subdued my enemies under my feet.
41 You placed my foot on their necks.
    I have destroyed all who hated me.
42 They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue.
    They even cried to the Lord, but he refused to answer.
43 I ground them as fine as the dust of the earth;
    I trampled them[o] in the gutter like dirt.

44 “You gave me victory over my accusers.
    You preserved me as the ruler over nations;
    people I don’t even know now serve me.
45 Foreign nations cringe before me;
    as soon as they hear of me, they submit.
46 They all lose their courage
    and come trembling[p] from their strongholds.

47 “The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock!
    May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted!
48 He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
    he brings down the nations under me
49     and delivers me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
    you save me from violent opponents.
50 For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
    I will sing praises to your name.
51 You give great victories to your king;
    you show unfailing love to your anointed,
    to David and all his descendants forever.”

David’s Last Words

23 These are the last words of David:

“David, the son of Jesse, speaks—
    David, the man who was raised up so high,
David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
    David, the sweet psalmist of Israel.[q]

“The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me;
    his words are upon my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke.
    The Rock of Israel said to me:
‘The one who rules righteously,
    who rules in the fear of God,
is like the light of morning at sunrise,
    like a morning without clouds,
like the gleaming of the sun
    on new grass after rain.’

“Is it not my family God has chosen?
    Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me.
His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail.
    He will ensure my safety and success.
But the godless are like thorns to be thrown away,
    for they tear the hand that touches them.
One must use iron tools to chop them down;
    they will be totally consumed by fire.”

David’s Mightiest Warriors

These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite,[r] who was leader of the Three[s]—the three mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.[t]

Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. 10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!

11 Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, 12 but Shammah[u] held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.

13 Once during the harvest, when David was at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. 14 David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.

15 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 16 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. 17 “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men[v] who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.

David’s Thirty Mighty Men

18 Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty.[w] He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three. 19 Abishai was the most famous of the Thirty[x] and was their commander, though he was not one of the Three.

20 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior[y] from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions[z] of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21 Once, armed only with a club, he killed an imposing Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. 22 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. 23 He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard.

24 Other members of the Thirty included:

Asahel, Joab’s brother;
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem;
25 Shammah from Harod;
Elika from Harod;
26 Helez from Pelon[aa];
Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa;
27 Abiezer from Anathoth;
Sibbecai[ab] from Hushah;
28 Zalmon from Ahoah;
Maharai from Netophah;
29 Heled[ac] son of Baanah from Netophah;
Ithai[ad] son of Ribai from Gibeah (in the land of Benjamin);
30 Benaiah from Pirathon;
Hurai[ae] from Nahale-gaash[af];
31 Abi-albon from Arabah;
Azmaveth from Bahurim;
32 Eliahba from Shaalbon;
the sons of Jashen;
Jonathan 33 son of Shagee[ag] from Harar;
Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar;
34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai from Maacah;
Eliam son of Ahithophel from Giloh;
35 Hezro from Carmel;
Paarai from Arba;
36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah;
Bani from Gad;
37 Zelek from Ammon;
Naharai from Beeroth, the armor bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah;
38 Ira from Jattir;
Gareb from Jattir;
39 Uriah the Hittite.

There were thirty-seven in all.

Footnotes

  1. 21:6 As in Greek version (see also 21:9); Hebrew reads at Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the Lord.
  2. 21:7 Mephibosheth is another name for Merib-baal.
  3. 21:8 As in a few Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and Syriac version (see also 1 Sam 18:19); most Hebrew manuscripts read Michal.
  4. 21:16a Or a descendant of the Rapha; also in 21:18, 20, 22.
  5. 21:16b Hebrew 300 [shekels] [3.4 kilograms].
  6. 21:19a As in parallel text at 1 Chr 20:5; Hebrew reads son of Jaare-oregim.
  7. 21:19b As in parallel text at 1 Chr 20:5; Hebrew reads killed Goliath of Gath.
  8. 21:20 As in parallel text at 1 Chr 20:6; Hebrew reads a Midianite.
  9. 21:21 As in parallel text at 1 Chr 20:7; Hebrew reads Shimei, a variant spelling of Shimea.
  10. 22:6 Hebrew Sheol.
  11. 22:11a Hebrew a cherub.
  12. 22:11b As in some Hebrew manuscripts (see also Ps 18:10); other Hebrew manuscripts read appearing.
  13. 22:13 Or and lightning bolts.
  14. 22:36 As in Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text reads your answering.
  15. 22:43 As in Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Ps 18:42); Masoretic Text reads I crushed and trampled them.
  16. 22:46 As in parallel text at Ps 18:45; Hebrew reads come girding themselves.
  17. 23:1 Or the favorite subject of the songs of Israel; or the favorite of the Strong One of Israel.
  18. 23:8a As in parallel text at 1 Chr 11:11; Hebrew reads Josheb-basshebeth the Tahkemonite.
  19. 23:8b As in Greek and Latin versions (see also 1 Chr 11:11); the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  20. 23:8c As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 1 Chr 11:11); the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain, though it might be rendered the Three. It was Adino the Eznite who killed 800 men at one time.
  21. 23:12 Hebrew he.
  22. 23:17 Hebrew Shall I drink the blood of these men?
  23. 23:18 As in a few Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac version; most Hebrew manuscripts read the Three.
  24. 23:19 As in Syriac version; Hebrew reads the Three.
  25. 23:20a Or son of Jehoiada, son of Ish-hai.
  26. 23:20b Hebrew two of Ariel.
  27. 23:26 As in parallel text at 1 Chr 11:27 (see also 1 Chr 27:10); Hebrew reads from Palti.
  28. 23:27 As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 1 Chr 11:29); Hebrew reads Mebunnai.
  29. 23:29a As in some Hebrew manuscripts (see also 1 Chr 11:30); most Hebrew manuscripts read Heleb.
  30. 23:29b As in parallel text at 1 Chr 11:31; Hebrew reads Ittai.
  31. 23:30a As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 1 Chr 11:32); Hebrew reads Hiddai.
  32. 23:30b Or from the ravines of Gaash.
  33. 23:33 As in parallel text at 1 Chr 11:34; Hebrew reads Jonathan, Shammah; some Greek manuscripts read Jonathan son of Shammah.

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