2 Samuel 23 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
David’s Last Words
23 These are the last words of David:
“This message is from David son of Jesse.
5 “God made my family strong and secure.[b]
6 “But evil people are like thorns.
The Three Heroes
8 These are the names of David’s special soldiers:
9 Next, there was Eleazar son of Dodai[f] who was there with David when he challenged the Philistines who had gathered for battle. The Israelites ran away, 10 but Eleazar stood and fought the Philistines until his hand became so tired that it cramped around his sword handle. The Lord won a great victory that day. The people of Israel came back, but only to take things from the dead.
11 Next there was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. The Philistines came together to fight. They fought in a field of lentils.[g] The people ran away from the Philistines. 12 But Shammah stood in the middle of the field and defended it. He defeated the Philistines. The Lord gave Israel a great victory that day.
13 Once during harvest time David was at the cave of Adullam, and three of the Thirty Heroes[h] went down to meet him there. At the same time the Philistine army was camped in the Valley of Rephaim.[i]
14 Another time David was in the fortress, and a group of Philistines soldiers was stationed in Bethlehem. 15 David was thirsty for some water from his hometown, so he said, “Oh, if only I could have some water from that well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 16 So the Three Heroes[j] fought their way through the Philistine army and got some water from the well near the city gate in Bethlehem. They took it to David, but he refused to drink it. He poured it on the ground as an offering to the Lord. 17 David said, “Lord, I cannot drink this water. It would be like drinking the blood of the men who risked their lives for me.” This is why David refused to drink the water. The Three Heroes did many brave things like that.
Other Brave Soldiers
18 Abishai was the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah. Abishai was the leader of the Three Heroes. He used his spear against 300 enemies and killed them. He became as famous as the Three. 19 Abishai was as famous as the Three Heroes. He became their leader, even though he was not one of them.
20 Then there was Benaiah son of Jehoiada, from Kabzeel. He was the son of a powerful man.[k] Benaiah did many brave things. He killed two of the best soldiers in Moab. One day when it was snowing, Benaiah went down into a hole in the ground and killed a lion. 21 Benaiah also killed a big Egyptian soldier. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, and Benaiah only had a club. He grabbed the spear in the Egyptian’s hands and took it away from him. Then Benaiah killed the Egyptian with his own spear. 22 Benaiah son of Jehoiada did many more brave things like that. He was as famous as the Three Heroes. 23 Benaiah was even more famous than the Thirty Heroes, but he did not become a member of the Three Heroes. David made Benaiah the leader of his bodyguards.
The Thirty Heroes
24 The following men were among the Thirty Heroes:
Asahel, the brother of Joab;
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem;
25 Shammah the Harodite;
Elika the Harodite;
26 Helez the Paltite;
Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa;
27 Abiezer from Anathoth;
Mebunnai the Hushathite;
28 Zalmon the Ahohite;
Maharai from Netophah;
29 Heled son of Baanah from Netophah;
Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah of Benjamin;
30 Benaiah the Pirathonite;
Hiddai from the Brooks of Gaash;
31 Abi Albon the Arbathite;
Azmaveth the Barhumite;
32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite;
the sons of Jashen;
Jonathan 33 the son of Shammah from Harar;
Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar;
34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite;
Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite;
35 Hezro the Carmelite;
Paarai the Arbite;
36 Igal son of Nathan of Zobah;
Bani the Gadite;
37 Zelek the Ammonite;
Naharai from Beeroth (Naharai carried the armor for Joab son of Zeruiah);
38 Ira the Ithrite;
Gareb the Ithrite;
39 and Uriah the Hittite.
There were 37 in all.