23 These are the last words of David the son of Jesse. The God of Jacob chose David and made him a great king. The Mighty God of Israel loved him.[a] When God told him to speak, David said: 2 The Spirit of the Lord has told me what to say. 3 Our Mighty Rock,[b] the God of Jacob, told me, “A ruler who obeys God and does right 4 is like the sunrise on a cloudless day, or like rain that sparkles on the grass.”[c]
5 I have ruled this way, and God will never break his promise to me. God’s promise is complete and unchanging; he will always help me and give me what I hope for. 6 But evil people are pulled up like thornbushes. They are not dug up by hand, 7 but with a sharp spear and are burned on the spot.
The Three Warriors
8 These are the names of David’s warriors:
Ishbosheth[d] the son of Hachmon[e] was the leader of the Three Warriors.[f] In one battle, he killed eight hundred men with his spear.[g]
9 The next one of the Three Warriors was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite. One time when the Philistines were at war with Israel, he and David dared the Philistines to fight them. Every one of the Israelite soldiers turned and ran, 10 except Eleazar. He killed Philistines until his hand was cramped, and he couldn’t let go of his sword. When Eleazar finished, all the Israelite troops had to do was come back and take the enemies' weapons and armor. The Lord gave Israel a great victory that day.
11 Next was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. One time the Philistines brought their army together to destroy a crop of peas growing in a field near Lehi. The rest of Israel’s soldiers ran away from the Philistines, 12 but Shammah stood in the middle of the field and killed the Philistines. The crops were saved, and the Lord gave Israel a great victory.
13 One year at harvest time, the Three Warriors[h] went to meet David at Adullam Cave.[i] The Philistine army had set up camp in Rephaim Valley 14 and had taken over Bethlehem. David was in his fortress, 15 and he was very thirsty. He said, “I wish I had a drink from the well by the gate at Bethlehem.”
16 The Three Warriors[j] sneaked into the Philistine camp and got some water from the well near Bethlehem’s gate. But after they brought the water back to David, he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as a sacrifice 17 and said to the Lord, “I can’t drink this water! It’s like the blood of these men who risked their lives to get it for me.”
The Three Warriors did these brave deeds.
The Thirty Warriors
18 Joab’s brother Abishai was the leader of the Thirty Warriors,[k] and in one battle he killed three hundred men with his spear. He was as famous as the Three Warriors 19 and certainly just as famous as the rest of the Thirty Warriors. He was the commander of the Thirty Warriors, but he still did not become one of the Three Warriors.
20 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a brave man from Kabzeel who did some amazing things. He killed two of Moab’s best fighters,[l] and on a snowy day he went down into a pit and killed a lion. 21 Another time, he killed an Egyptian, as big as a giant.[m] The Egyptian was armed with a spear, but Benaiah only had a club. Benaiah grabbed the spear from the Egyptian and killed him with it. 22-23 Benaiah did these things. He never became one of the Three Warriors, but he was just as famous as they were and certainly just as famous as the rest of the Thirty Warriors. David made him the leader of his bodyguard.
24-39 Some of the Thirty Warriors were:
Asahel the brother of Joab Elhanan the son of Dodo from Bethlehem Shammah from Harod Elika from Harod Helez the Paltite Ira the son of Ikkesh from Tekoa Abiezer from Anathoth Mebunnai[n] the Hushathite Zalmon the Ahohite Maharai from Netophah Heleb the son of Baanah from Netophah Ittai the son of Ribai from Gibeah of the tribe of Benjamin Benaiah from Pirathon Hiddai from the streams on Mount Gaash Abialbon from Beth-Arabah Azmaveth from Bahurim[o] Eliahba from Shaalbon Jashen[p] Jonathan the son of Shammah the Hararite[q] Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai from Maacah Eliam the son of Ahithophel from Gilo Hezro from Carmel Paarai the Arbite Igal the son of Nathan from Zobah Bani the Gadite Zelek from Ammon Naharai from Beeroth, who carried the weapons of Joab the son of Zeruiah Ira the Ithrite Gareb the Ithrite Uriah the Hittite There were thirty-seven in all.
23.1The Mighty. . . him: Or “He wrote Israel’s favorite songs.”
23.4sparkles. . . grass: Or “makes the grass grow.”
23.8Ishbosheth: Hebrew “Josheb Bashebeth,” which seems to be another spelling of Ishbosheth. See the note at 2.8, although this is a different Ishbosheth.
23.8the son of Hachmon: Or “the Tahchemonite” (see 1 Chronicles 11.11).
23.8the Three Warriors: The most honored group of warriors. They may have been part of the Thirty Warriors. “Three” and “thirty” are spelled almost the same in Hebrew, so there is some confusion in the manuscripts as to which group is being talked about in some places in the following lists.
23.8with. . . spear: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text (see 1 Chronicles 11.11).
23.13the Three Warriors: Or “three warriors.” Hebrew “three of the thirty most important.”
23.13Adullam Cave: This may have happened during the time that David was an outlaw (see 1 Samuel 22.1-6).
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