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David’s Mighty Men

June 30, 2023

David as you know was a skilled soldier and leader, but he wasn’t alone. He had a band of very loyal, very powerful heroes who stood by him. They accomplished incredible things in combat. Like someone who took out 800 bad guys at once!

Here we go . . .listed in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11

3 champions

Jashobeam, chief of the captains, killed 800 men at one time with his spear
Eleazar, he fought alone with David until his hand clung to his sword
Shammah, defended a plot of barley from an entire camp of the Philistines
“The thirty” (a military term for a small squad of soldiers, not a strict number 30)
2 Samuel 23 lists 35 by name while 1 Chronicles 11 lists 50

A very special group who are listed later among “the thirty” are three unnamed soldiers, known simply as the “three,” who pulled off an incredible feat. In 2 Samuel 22 David is held up with 400 of his men in the Cave of Adullam. At this time David is on the run from Saul. Consider what happens next…

Then three of the thirty chief men went down and came to David at harvest time to the cave of Adullam, while the army of the Philistines was camping in the Valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold, while the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. And David had a craving and said, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate!” So, the three mighty men forced their way into the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem which was by the gate, and carried it and brought it to David. Yet he would not drink it, but poured it out as an offering to the LORD; and he said, “Far be it from me, LORD, that I would do this! Should I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?” So, he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did. (2 Samuel 23:13-17)

Abishai, one of the giant killers from 2 Samuel 21, commander and most honored of the thirty, brother of Joab, one of David’s military commanders, mentioned by name for actions in 1 Samuel 26:6-9, 2 Samuel 16:9-11, 2 Samuel 19:21, 2 Samuel 21:16-17, once killed 300 men

Benaiah, captain of David’s guard, killed 2 Moabite heroes, an elite Egyptian soldier and a lion. Later he would help Solomon secure the throne after David died. He would be the one to eventually kill Joab.

Asahel, Joab’s brother, a very fast runner, is mentioned in 2 Samuel 2:18-23
Sibbecai, one of the giant killers from 2 Samuel 21
Jonathan, another of the giant killers from 2 Samuel 21
Uriah the Hittite whom David had killed in an attempt to cover up his sin of adultery.
“The sons of Jashen” in 2 Samuel 23:32. We don’t know for sure how many of them there were.
Shammah the Hararite in 2 Samuel 23:33 was mentioned previously as one of David’s 3 champions.
1 Chronicles 11 mentions another 30 led by Zadab. So, David had many, many loyal soldiers whose brave stories only God knows.

What characterized these men? They were attracted to David’s person, and they were committed to his cause. Similarly, the church needs mighty men and women who are attracted to the person of Christ and committed to the cause of Christ.

David’s men were not unwilling conscripts who grimly fulfilled their duty. They were willing volunteers who served out of devotion to David. We saw the love these men had for David in that incident described in 2 Samuel 23:13-17 earlier.

They were men of diverse backgrounds. As you skim over this list, you will find a variety of obscure places from which these men originated. Some, such as Uriah the Hittite, were foreigners. None of them seem to have anything noteworthy regarding their families or home towns. There are a lot of small obscure towns mentioned.

They were men of difficult backgrounds. They were men who were distressed under the reign of Saul. “Then everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him” (1 Samuel 22:2). This was a motley crew which gathered with David in the cave.

They were men with problems, with things in their pasts to overcome. But David accepted them and trained them into his loyal, fighting troops.

The cause they fought for – in David’s day, there were enemies to be overthrown and kingdoms to be repulsed and conquered so that the people of God could dwell securely in the land, the worship of God could be established, and the name of God exalted among the heathen nations.

Their commitment – a commitment which overcomes the odds with faith in God. They overcame many enemies including a 7 ½-foot giant (1 Chronicles 11:23). “The Lord brought about a great victory” (2 Samuel 23:10 and 12). These men weren’t considering the odds for victory. Rather, they were looking to the God of victory.

These men were committed to David and his cause even though… there were giants in the land; the enemy was fierce and well-armed; the odds were against them; and the battles were hard and exhausting.

The majority may run away or be openly hostile against them. But these mighty men ignored the majority and stood alone for God.

These mighty men took the initiative. They were not passive. They risked their very lives for David and his cause.

God wants to raise up a band of mighty men and women who are attracted to the person of Christ and who are committed to His cause. Perhaps you may be thinking, “Where do I start?” If your heart has grown cold and complacent toward Christ, then start there. The Lord directed the church at Ephesus which had lost its first love to “remember from where you have fallen and repent and do the deeds you did at first” (Revelation 2:5). Remember what the Lord has done for you. Take the time to spend alone with Him in His Word each day. Work on your love life with Jesus. It is drudgery to labor without love.

But it is laziness to love without labor. So, once you rekindle that first love for Him, then get off the bench and commit yourself to His cause in your home church. “Do the deeds you did at first” (Revelation 2:5). We need people will to work with the youth, to work on repairing and maintaining facilities, to lead Bible studies, to build others up in Christ, to be involved in missions. Commit your time, effort and money to the great cause of Christ as we seek to make Him known in your communities.

Let’s not be “the Lite Church, home of fewer commitments.” Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. With the hymn writer Isaac Watts, our response must be, “Love so amazing so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all!”

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