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David’s Song of Praise to the Lord

22 [a] David sang this song to the Lord when the Lord saved him from Saul and all his other enemies.

The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, my place of safety.
    He is my God, the Rock I run to for protection.
He is my shield; by his power I am saved.[b]
    He is my hiding place, my place of safety, high in the hills.
He is my savior, the one
    who rescues me from the cruel enemy.
I called to the Lord for help,
    and he saved me from my enemies.
    He is worthy of my praise!

Waves of death were crashing around me.
    A deadly flood was carrying me away.
The ropes of the grave wrapped around me.
    Death set its trap right there in front of me.
In my trouble I called to the Lord.
    Yes, I cried out to my God for help.
There in his temple he heard my voice.
    He heard my cry for help.
The earth shook and shivered.
    The foundations of heaven trembled.
    They shook because he was angry!
Smoke came from his nose.
    Burning flames came from his mouth.
    Red-hot coals fell from him.
10 He tore open the sky and came down.
    He stood on a thick, dark cloud.
11 He flew across the sky, riding on a Cherub angel,
    gliding on the wings of the wind.
12 He wrapped himself in darkness that covered him like a tent.
    He was hidden by dark clouds filled with water.
13 Out of the brightness before him,
    flashes of lightning came down.
14 The Lord thundered from the sky.
    God Most High let his voice be heard.
15 He scattered the enemy with his arrows—
    the lightning bolts that threw them into confusion.

16 The Lord shouted his command,
    and a powerful wind began to blow.[c]
Then the bottom of the sea could be seen,
    and the earth’s foundations were uncovered.

17 The Lord reached down from above and grabbed me.
    He pulled me from the deep water.
18 He saved me from my powerful enemies, who hated me.
    They were too strong for me, so he saved me.
19 They attacked me in my time of trouble,
    but the Lord was there to support me.
20 He was pleased with me, so he rescued me.
    He took me to a safe place.
21 The Lord rewarded me for doing what is right.
    He was good to me because I am innocent.
22 The Lord did this because I have obeyed him.
    I have not turned against my God.
23 I always remembered his laws.
    I never stopped following his rules.
24 He knows I did nothing that was wrong.
    I have kept myself from sinning.
25 So the Lord rewarded me for doing what is right.
    He could see that I am innocent.

26 Lord, you are faithful to those who are faithful.
    You are good to those who are good.
27 You never do wrong to those who have done no wrong.
    But you outsmart the wicked, no matter how clever they are.
28 You help those who are humble,
    but as soon as you see the proud, you humiliate them.
29 Lord, you are my lamp.
    You, Lord, turn the darkness around me into light.
30 With your help I can defeat an army.
    If my God is with me, I can climb over enemy walls.

31 God’s way is perfect.
    The Lord’s promise always proves to be true.
    He protects those who trust in him.
32 There is no God except the Lord.
    There is no Rock except our God.
33 God is my strong fortress.
    He clears the path I need to take.
34 He makes my feet as steady as those of a deer.
    Even on steep mountains he keeps me from falling.
35 He trains me for war
    so that my arms can bend the most powerful bow.

36 Lord, you have given me your shield to protect me.
    It is your help that has made me great.
37 You cleared a path for my feet
    so that I could walk without stumbling.
38 I chased my enemies and defeated them.
    I did not stop until they were destroyed.
39 I destroyed my enemies.
    I struck them down.
They did not get up again.
    They fell under my feet.

40 Lord, you made me strong in battle.
    You made my enemies fall before me.
41 You made my enemies turn and run away.
    I destroyed those who hated me.
42 They looked for help,
    but there was no one to save them.
They cried out to the Lord,
    but he did not answer them.
43 I beat my enemies to pieces
    like dust on the ground.
I smashed them and walked on them
    like mud in the streets.

44 You saved me from those who fought against me.
    You made me the ruler over nations.
    People I never knew now serve me.
45 Foreigners fall helpless before me!
    As soon as they heard about me, they were ready to obey.
46 They lose all their courage
    and come out of their hiding places shaking with fear.

47 The Lord lives!
    I praise my Rock!
    How great is my God, the Rock who saves me!
48 He is the God who punishes my enemies for me,
    the one who puts people under my rule.
49 He saves me from my enemies!

You help me defeat those who attack me.
    You save me from cruel people.
50 Lord, that is why I praise you among the nations.
    That is why I sing songs of praise to your name.

51 You help your king win battle after battle.
    You show your faithful love to your chosen one,[d]
    to David and his descendants forever!

David’s Last Words

23 These are the last words of David:

“This message is from David son of Jesse.
    This message is from the man God made great.
He is the king chosen by the God of Jacob,
    the sweet singer of Israel.[e]
The Lord’s Spirit spoke through me.
    His word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke.
    The Rock of Israel said to me,
‘Whoever rules people fairly,
    who rules with respect for God,
is like the morning light at dawn,
    like a morning without clouds.
He is like sunshine after a rain
    that makes tender grass grow from the ground.’

“God made my family strong and secure.[f]
    He made an agreement with me forever.
God made sure this agreement was
    good and secure in every way.
So surely he will give me every victory.
    He will give me everything I want!

“But evil people are like thorns.
    People don’t hold thorns.
    They throw them away.
If someone touches them,
    it hurts like a spear made of wood and iron.
Yes, evil people are like thorns.
    They will be thrown into the fire,
    and they will be completely burned.”

The Three Heroes

These are the names of David’s special soldiers:

Josheb Basshebeth the Tahkemonite[g] was captain of the king’s special forces.[h] He used his spear to kill 800 men at one time.[i]

Next, there was Eleazar son of Dodai[j] 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.[k] 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[l] went down to meet him there. At the same time the Philistine army was camped in the Valley of Rephaim.[m]

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[n] 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.[o] 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.

David Decides to Count His Army

24 The Lord was angry with Israel again. He caused David to turn against the Israelites. He told David, “Go count the people of Israel and Judah.”

King David said to Joab, the captain of the army, “Go through all the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba,[p] and count the people. Then I will know how many people there are.”

But Joab said to the king, “May the Lord your God give you 100 times as many people, no matter how many there are! And may your eyes see this thing happen. But why do you want to do this?”

King David strongly commanded Joab and the other captains of the army to count the people. So they went out from the king to count the people of Israel. After they crossed over the Jordan River, they made their camp in Aroer on the right side of the city. (The city is in the middle of the valley of Gad, on the way to Jazer.)

Then they went east to Gilead, all the way to Tahtim Hodshi. Then they went north to Dan Jaan and around to Sidon. They went to the fort of Tyre. They went to all the cities of the Hivites and of the Canaanites. Then they went south to Beersheba in the southern part of Judah. It took them nine months and 20 days for them to go through the country. After nine months and 20 days they came back to Jerusalem.

Joab gave the list of the people to the king. There were 800,000 men in Israel who could use the sword. And there were 500,000 men in Judah.

The Lord Punishes David

10 David felt ashamed after he had counted the people and said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I did! Lord, I beg you, forgive me for my sin. I have been very foolish.”

11 When David got up in the morning, the Lord gave this message to Gad, David’s seer: 12 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: There are three ways you can be punished. Choose the one you want.’”

13 So Gad went to David and said to him, “Choose one of these three: seven[q] years of famine for you and your country, being chased by your enemies for three months, or three days of disease in your country. Think about it, and decide which one you want. I must give your answer to the one who sent me.”

14 David said to Gad, “This is a terrible situation to be in. But it would be better to be punished by the Lord than by anyone else, because he is very merciful.”

15 So the Lord sent a disease against Israel. It began in the morning and continued until the chosen time to stop. From Dan to Beersheba 70,000 people died. 16 The angel raised his arm over Jerusalem and was ready to destroy it, but the Lord felt very sorry about the bad things that had happened. He said to the angel who destroyed the people, “That’s enough! Put down your arm.” The Lord’s angel was by the threshing floor of Araunah[r] the Jebusite.[s]

David Buys Araunah’s Threshing Floor

17 When he saw the angel who killed the people, David spoke to the Lord. David said, “I sinned! I did wrong! And these people only did what I told them—they only followed me like sheep. They did nothing wrong. Please let your punishment be against me and my father’s family.”

18 That day Gad came to David and said, “Go and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David did what Gad told him to. David did what the Lord wanted and went to see Araunah. 20 Araunah looked and saw King David and his officers coming to him. Araunah went out and bowed his face to the ground. 21 He said, “Why has my lord and king come to me?”

David answered, “I came to buy the threshing floor from you. Then I can build an altar to the Lord. Then the disease will stop.”

22 Araunah said to David, “My lord and king, you can take anything you want for a sacrifice. Here are some oxen for the burnt offering, and the threshing boards and the yokes for the wood. 23 O King, I give everything to you!” Araunah also said to the king, “May the Lord your God be pleased with you.”

24 But the king said to Araunah, “No! I must pay you for everything. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.”

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for 50 shekels of silver. 25 Then David built an altar to the Lord there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

The Lord answered his prayer for the country. He stopped the disease in Israel.


  1. 2 Samuel 22:1 Chapter 22 This song is also found in Ps. 18.
  2. 2 Samuel 22:3 by his power I am saved Literally, “He is the horn of my salvation.”
  3. 2 Samuel 22:16 and … blow Or “and a blast of breath came from his nose.”
  4. 2 Samuel 22:51 your chosen one Literally, “his anointed one.”
  5. 2 Samuel 23:1 the sweet singer of Israel Or “The most pleasant of the songs of Israel.”
  6. 2 Samuel 23:5 God … secure Or “Hasn’t God made my family strong?”
  7. 2 Samuel 23:8 Josheb Basshebeth the Tahkemonite Or “Jashobeam the Hacmonite.” See 1 Chron. 11:11.
  8. 2 Samuel 23:8 king’s special forces A special group of soldiers who formed three-man squads and went on special missions for the king.
  9. 2 Samuel 23:8 Josheb Basshebeth … time The Hebrew text here is unclear. The translation follows 1 Chron. 11:11 and the ancient Greek version.
  10. 2 Samuel 23:9 Eleazar son of Dodai Or “Eleazar his cousin.”
  11. 2 Samuel 23:11 lentils Small round beans.
  12. 2 Samuel 23:13 Thirty Heroes Or “the king’s special forces.” These men were David’s famous group of very brave soldiers. Also in verses 23, 24.
  13. 2 Samuel 23:13 three … Rephaim The Hebrew text here is hard to understand, but compare 1 Chron. 11:15.
  14. 2 Samuel 23:16 Three Heroes These were David’s three bravest soldiers. Also in verses 18, 22.
  15. 2 Samuel 23:20 powerful man That is, a man from the warrior class. He is ready to protect his people in war.
  16. 2 Samuel 24:2 Dan to Beersheba This means the whole nation of Israel, north and south. Dan was a town in the northern part of Israel, and Beersheba was in the southern part of Judah. Also in verse 15.
  17. 2 Samuel 24:13 seven 1 Chron. 21:12 and the ancient Greek version have “three.”
  18. 2 Samuel 24:16 Araunah Also spelled “Ornan.” Also in verses 18, 22, 24.
  19. 2 Samuel 24:16 Jebusite A person who lived in Jerusalem before the Israelites took the city. “Jebus” was the old name for Jerusalem.

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