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David Sings to the Lord

22 David sang a song to the Lord after the Lord had rescued him from his enemies, especially Saul. These are the words to David’s song:

Our Lord and our God,
you are my mighty rock,[a]
    my fortress, my protector.
You are the rock
    where I am safe.
You are my shield,
my powerful weapon,[b]
    and my place of shelter.

You rescue me and keep me
    from being hurt.
I praise you, our Lord!
    I prayed to you,
and you rescued me
    from my enemies.
Death, like ocean waves,
    surrounded me,
and I was almost swallowed
    by its flooding waters.

Ropes from the world
of the dead
    had coiled around me,
and death had set a trap
    in my path.
I was in terrible trouble
    when I called out to you,
but from your temple
you heard me
    and answered my prayer.
Earth shook and shivered!
The columns supporting the sky[c]
    rocked back and forth.
You were angry
    and breathed out smoke.
Scorching heat and fiery flames
    spewed from your mouth.

10 You opened the heavens
    like curtains,
and you came down
with storm clouds
    under your feet.
11 You rode on the backs
    of flying creatures.[d]
You appeared[e]
    with the wind as wings.
12 Darkness was your tent!
Thunderclouds filled the sky,
    hiding you from sight.
13 Fiery coals lit up the sky
    in front of you.

14 Lord Most High, your voice
    thundered from the heavens.
15 You scattered your enemies
    with arrows of lightning.
16 You roared at the sea,
and its deepest channels
    could be seen.
You snorted,
and the earth shook
    to its foundations.

17 You reached down from heaven,
and you lifted me
    from deep in the ocean.
18 You rescued me from enemies
who were hateful
    and too powerful for me.
19 On the day disaster struck,
they came and attacked,
    but you defended me.
20 When I was fenced in,
you freed and rescued me
    because you love me.
21 You are good to me, Lord,
    because I do right,
and you reward me
    because I am innocent.
22 I do what you want
    and never turn to do evil.
23 I keep your laws in mind
and never turn away
    from your teachings.
24 I obey you completely
    and guard against sin.
25 You have been good to me
    because I do right;
you have rewarded me
for being innocent
    by your standards.

26 You are always loyal
    to your loyal people,
and you are faithful
    to the faithful.
27 With all who are sincere
    you are sincere,
but you treat the unfaithful
    as their deeds deserve.
28 You rescue the humble,
but you look for ways
    to put down the proud.

29 Our Lord and God,
    you are my lamp.
You turn darkness to light.
30 You help me defeat armies
    and capture cities.

31 Your way is perfect, Lord,
    and your word is correct.
You are a shield for those
    who run to you for help.
32 You alone are God!
    Only you are a mighty rock.[f]
33 You are my strong fortress,
    and you set me free.
34 You make my feet run as fast
    as those of a deer,
and you help me stand
    on the mountains.

35 You teach my hands to fight
and my arms to use
    a bow of bronze.
36 You alone are my shield,
and by coming to help me,
    you have made me famous.
37 You clear the way for me,
    and now I won’t stumble.

38 I kept chasing my enemies
until I caught them
    and destroyed them.
39 I destroyed them!
I stuck my sword
    through my enemies,
and they were crushed
    under my feet.
40 You helped me win victories
and forced my attackers
    to fall victim to me.

41 You made my enemies run,
    and I killed them.
42 They cried out for help,
    but no one saved them;
they called out to you,
    but there was no answer.
43 I ground them to dust,
and I squashed them
    like mud in the streets.

44 You rescued me
    from my stubborn people
and made me the leader
of foreign nations,
    who are now my slaves.
45 They obey and come crawling.
46     They have lost all courage
and from their fortresses
    they come trembling.

47 You are the living Lord!
    I will praise you!
You are a mighty rock.[g]
I will honor you
    for keeping me safe.
48 You took revenge for me,
and you put nations
    in my power.
49 You protected me
    from violent enemies,
and you made me much greater
    than all of them.

50 I will praise you, Lord,
and I will honor you
    among the nations.
51 You give glorious victories
    to your chosen king.
Your faithful love for David
and for his descendants
    will never end.

David’s Last Words

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.[h]
When God told him to speak,
    David said:
The Spirit of the Lord
    has told me what to say.
Our Mighty Rock,[i]
    the God of Jacob, told me,
“A ruler who obeys God
    and does right
is like the sunrise
    on a cloudless day,
or like rain that sparkles
    on the grass.”[j]

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.
But evil people are pulled up
    like thornbushes.
They are not dug up by hand,
but with a sharp spear
    and are burned on the spot.

The Three Warriors

These are the names of David’s warriors:

Ishbosheth[k] the son of Hachmon[l] was the leader of the Three Warriors.[m] In one battle, he killed eight hundred men with his spear.[n]

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[o] went to meet David at Adullam Cave.[p] 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[q] 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,[r] 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,[s] 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.[t] 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[u] 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[v]
Eliahba from Shaalbon
Jonathan the son of Shammah the Hararite[x]
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.

David Counts the People

24 The Lord was angry at Israel again, and he made David think it would be a good idea to count the people in Israel and Judah. So David told Joab and the army officers,[y] “Go to every tribe in Israel, from the town of Dan in the north all the way south to Beersheba, and count everyone who can serve in the army. I want to know how many there are.”

Joab answered, “I hope the Lord your God will give you a hundred times more soldiers than you already have. I hope you will live to see that day! But why do you want to do a thing like this?”

But when David refused to change his mind, Joab and the army officers went out and started counting the people. They crossed the Jordan River and began with[z] Aroer and the town in the middle of the river valley. From there they went toward Gad and on as far as Jazer. They went to Gilead and to Kadesh in Syria.[aa] Then they went to Dan, Ijon,[ab] and on toward Sidon. They came to the fortress of Tyre, then went through every town of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Finally, they went to Beersheba in the Southern Desert of Judah. After they had gone through the whole land, they went back to Jerusalem. It had taken them nine months and twenty days.

Joab came and told David, “In Israel there are eight hundred thousand who can serve in the army, and in Judah there are five hundred thousand.”

The Lord Punishes David

10 After David had everyone counted, he felt guilty and told the Lord, “What I did was stupid and terribly wrong. Lord, please forgive me.”

11 Before David even got up the next morning, the Lord had told David’s prophet Gad 12-13 to take a message to David. Gad went to David and told him:

You must choose one of three ways for the Lord to punish you: Will there be seven[ac] years when the land won’t grow enough food for your people? Or will your enemies chase you and make you run from them for three months? Or will there be three days of horrible disease in your land? Think about it and decide, because I have to give your answer to God, who sent me.

14 David was really frightened and said, “It’s a terrible choice to make! But the Lord is kind, and I’d rather have him punish us than for anyone else to do it.”

15-16 So that morning, the Lord sent an angel to spread a horrible disease everywhere in Israel, from Dan to Beersheba. And before it was over, seventy thousand people had died.

When the angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord felt sorry for all the suffering he had caused and told the angel, “That’s enough! Don’t touch them.” This happened at the threshing place that belonged to Araunah the Jebusite.

17 David saw the angel killing everyone and told the Lord, “These people are like sheep with me as their shepherd.[ad] I have sinned terribly, but they have done nothing wrong. Please, punish me and my family instead of them!”

David Buys Araunah’s Threshing Place

18-19 That same day the prophet Gad came and told David, “Go to the threshing place that belongs to Araunah and build an altar there for the Lord.”

So David went.

20 Araunah looked and saw David and his soldiers coming up toward him. He went over to David, bowed down low, 21 and said, “Your Majesty! Why have you come to see me?”

David answered, “I’ve come to buy your threshing place. I have to build the Lord an altar here, so this disease will stop killing the people.”

22 Araunah said, “Take whatever you want and offer your sacrifice. Here are some oxen for the sacrifice. You can use the threshing-boards[ae] and the wooden yokes for the fire. 23 Take them—they’re yours! I hope the Lord your God will be pleased with you.”

24 But David answered, “No! I have to pay you what they’re worth. I can’t offer the Lord my God a sacrifice that I got for nothing.” So David bought the threshing place and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. 25 Then he built an altar for the Lord. He sacrificed animals and burned them on the altar.

The Lord answered the prayers of the people, and no one else died from the terrible disease.


  1. 22.2 mighty rock: The Hebrew text has “rock,” which is sometimes used in poetry to compare the Lord to a mountain where his people can run for protection from their enemies.
  2. 22.3 powerful weapon: The Hebrew has “the horn,” which refers to the horn of a bull, one of the most powerful animals in ancient Palestine.
  3. 22.8 columns. . . sky: The sky was sometimes described as a dome that was held up by a foundation or pillars.
  4. 22.11 flying creatures: These were supernatural beings (see the note at 6.2).
  5. 22.11 appeared: Most Hebrew manuscripts; some Hebrew manuscripts “swooped down” (see Psalm 18.10).
  6. 22.32,47 mighty rock: See the note at 22.2.
  7. 22.32,47 mighty rock: See the note at 22.2.
  8. 23.1 The Mighty. . . him: Or “He wrote Israel’s favorite songs.”
  9. 23.3 Mighty Rock: See the note at 22.2.
  10. 23.4 sparkles. . . grass: Or “makes the grass grow.”
  11. 23.8 Ishbosheth: Hebrew “Josheb Bashebeth,” which seems to be another spelling of Ishbosheth. See the note at 2.8, although this is a different Ishbosheth.
  12. 23.8 the son of Hachmon: Or “the Tahchemonite” (see 1 Chronicles 11.11).
  13. 23.8 the 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.
  14. 23.8 with. . . spear: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text (see 1 Chronicles 11.11).
  15. 23.13 the Three Warriors: Or “three warriors.” Hebrew “three of the thirty most important.”
  16. 23.13 Adullam Cave: This may have happened during the time that David was an outlaw (see 1 Samuel 22.1-6).
  17. 23.16 the Three Warriors: Or “three warriors.”
  18. 23.18 the Thirty Warriors: The second most honored group of warriors. They may have also been officers in the army (see the note at 23.8).
  19. 23.20 Moab’s best fighters: Or “big lions in Moab;” one ancient translation “sons of Ariel from Moab.”
  20. 23.21 Egyptian. . . giant: First Chronicles 11.23; in this verse the Hebrew text has “good-looking Egyptian.”
  21. 23.24-39 Mebunnai: Or “Sibbecai” (see 1 Chronicles 11.26-47).
  22. 23.24-39 Bahurim: Or “Barhum.”
  23. 23.24-39 Jashen: Hebrew “sons of Jashen.”
  24. 23.24-39 Jonathan. . . Hararite: Some manuscripts of one ancient translation (see 1 Chronicles 26-47). In the Hebrew text Jonathan and Shammah are separate members of the list.
  25. 24.2 Joab. . . officers: Some manuscripts of one ancient translation (see 24.4); 1 Chronicles 21.2; Hebrew “Joab, the officer of the army.”
  26. 24.5 began with: Some manuscripts of one ancient translation; Hebrew “set up camp in.”
  27. 24.6 Kadesh in Syria: Or “the lower slopes of Mount Hermon.”
  28. 24.6 Dan, Ijon: Or “Danjaan,” an unknown place.
  29. 24.12,13 seven: Hebrew; some manuscripts of one ancient translation “three” (see 1 Chronicles 21.12).
  30. 24.17 as their shepherd: The Dead Sea Scrolls, and some manuscripts of two ancient translations (see 1 Chronicles 21.17); these words are not in the Standard Hebrew Text of this verse.
  31. 24.22 threshing-boards: Heavy boards with bits of rock or metal on the bottom. They were dragged across the grain to separate the husks from the kernels.