David Becomes King Over Israel1 All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the LORD your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”
3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, he made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel, as the LORD had promised through Samuel.
David Conquers Jerusalem4 David and all the Israelites marched to Jerusalem (that is, Jebus). The Jebusites who lived there 5 said to David, “You will not get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David.
6 David had said, “Whoever leads the attack on the Jebusites will become commander-in-chief.” Joab son of Zeruiah went up first, and so he received the command.
7 David then took up residence in the fortress, and so it was called the City of David. 8 He built up the city around it, from the terraces to the surrounding wall, while Joab restored the rest of the city. 9 And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD Almighty was with him.
David’s Mighty Warriors10 These were the chiefs of David’s mighty warriors—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the LORD had promised— 11 this is the list of David’s mighty warriors:
Jashobeam, a Hakmonite, was chief of the officers; he raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.
12 Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite, one of the three mighty warriors. 13 He was with David at Pas Dammim when the Philistines gathered there for battle. At a place where there was a field full of barley, the troops fled from the Philistines. 14 But they took their stand in the middle of the field. They defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory.
15 Three of the thirty chiefs came down to David to the rock at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 16 At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. 17 David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 18 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out to the LORD. 19 “God forbid that I should do this!” he said. “Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it.
Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors.
20 Abishai the brother of Joab was chief of the Three. He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three. 21 He was doubly honored above the Three and became their commander, even though he was not included among them.
22 Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 23 And he struck down an Egyptian who was five cubits tall. Although the Egyptian had a spear like a weaver’s rod in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. 24 Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty warriors. 25 He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.
26 The mighty warriors were:
Asahel the brother of Joab,
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem,
27 Shammoth the Harorite,
Helez the Pelonite,
28 Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa,
Abiezer from Anathoth,
29 Sibbekai the Hushathite,
Ilai the Ahohite,
30 Maharai the Netophathite,
Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite,
31 Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin,
Benaiah the Pirathonite,
32 Hurai from the ravines of Gaash,
Abiel the Arbathite,
33 Azmaveth the Baharumite,
Eliahba the Shaalbonite,
34 the sons of Hashem the Gizonite,
Jonathan son of Shagee the Hararite,
35 Ahiam son of Sakar the Hararite,
Eliphal son of Ur,
36 Hepher the Mekerathite,
Ahijah the Pelonite,
37 Hezro the Carmelite,
Naarai son of Ezbai,
38 Joel the brother of Nathan,
Mibhar son of Hagri,
39 Zelek the Ammonite,
Naharai the Berothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah,
40 Ira the Ithrite,
Gareb the Ithrite,
41 Uriah the Hittite,
Zabad son of Ahlai,
42 Adina son of Shiza the Reubenite, who was chief of the Reubenites, and the thirty with him,
43 Hanan son of Maakah,
Joshaphat the Mithnite,
44 Uzzia the Ashterathite,
Shama and Jeiel the sons of Hotham the Aroerite,
45 Jediael son of Shimri,
his brother Joha the Tizite,
46 Eliel the Mahavite,
Jeribai and Joshaviah the sons of Elnaam,
Ithmah the Moabite,
47 Eliel, Obed and Jaasiel the Mezobaite.
We have here an account of David’s worthies, the great men of his time that served him and were preferred by him. The first edition of this catalogue we had, 2 Sa. 23:8, etc. This is much the same, only that those named here from v. 41 to the end are added. Observe, I. The connexion of this catalogue with that which is said concerning David, v. 9. 1. David waxed greater and greater, and these were his mighty men. Much of the strength and honor of great men is borrowed from their servants and depends upon them, which cannot but somewhat diminish pomp and power in the opinion of those that are wise. David is great because he has great men about him; take these away, and he is where he was. 2. The Lord of hosts was with him, and these were the mighty men which he had. God was with him and wrought for him, but by men and means and the use of second causes. By this it appeared that God was with him, that he inclined the hearts of those to come over to him that were able to serve his interest. As, if God be for us none can be against us, so, if God be for us, all shall be for us that we have occasion for. Yet David ascribed his success and increase, not to the hosts he had, but to the Lord of hosts, not to the mighty men that were with him, but to the mighty God whose presence with us is all in all.II. The title of this catalogue (v. 10): These are the men who strengthened themselves with him. In strengthening him they strengthened themselves and their own interest; for his advancement was theirs. What we do in our places for the support of the kingdom of the Son of David we shall be gainers by. In strengthening it we strengthen ourselves. It may be read, They held strongly with him and with all Israel. Note, When God has work to do he will not want fit instruments to do it with. If it be work that requires mighty men, mighty men shall either be found or made to effect it, according to the word of the Lord. III. That which made all these men honorable was the good service that they did to their king and country; they helped to make David king (v. 10)—a good work. They slew the Philistines, and other public enemies, and were instrumental to save Israel. Note, The way to be great is to do good. Nor did they gain this honor without labor and the hazard of their lives. The honors of Christ’s kingdom are prepared for those that fight the good fight of faith, that labor and suffer, and are willing to venture all, even life itself, for Christ and a good conscience. It is by a patient continuance in well-doing that we must seek for glory, and honor, and immortality; and those that are faithful to the Son of David shall find their names registered and enrolled much more to their honor than these are in the records of frame. IV. Among all the great exploits of David’s mighty men, here is nothing great mentioned concerning David himself but his pouring out water before the Lord which he had longed for, v. 18, 19. Four very honorable dispositions of David appeared in that action, which, for aught I know, made it as great as any of the achievements of those worthies. 1. Repentance for his own weakness. It is really an honor to a man, when he is made sensible that he has said or done any thing unadvisedly, to unsay it and undo it again by repentance, as it is a shame to a man when he has said or done amiss to stand to it. 2. Denial of his own appetite. He longed for the water of the well of Bethlehem; but, when he had it, he would not drink it, because he would not so far humor himself and gratify a foolish fancy. He that has such a rule as this over his own spirit is better than the mighty. It is an honor to a man to have the command of himself; but he that will command himself must sometimes cross himself. 3. Devotion towards God. That water which he thought too good, too precious, for his own drinking, he poured out to the Lord for a drink offering. If we have any thing better than another, let God be honored with it, who is the best, and should have the best. 4. Tenderness of his servants. It put him into the greatest confusion imaginable to think that three brave men should hazard their lives to fetch water for him. In his account it turns the water into blood. It is the honor of great men not to be prodigal of the blood of those they employ, but, in all the commands they give them, to put their own souls into their souls’ stead. V. In the wonderful achievements of these heroes the power of God must be acknowledged. How could one slay 300 and another the same number (v. 11, 20), another two lion-like men (v. 22), and another an Egyptian giant (v. 23), if they had not had the extraordinary presence of God with them, according to that promise, Jos. 23:10, One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God fighteth for you? VI. One of these worthies is said to be an Ammonite (v. 39), another a Moabite (v. 46), and yet the law was that an Ammonite and a Moabite should not enter into the congregation of the Lord, Deu. 23:3. These, it is likely, had approved themselves so hearty for the interest of Israel that in their case it was thought fit to dispense with that law, and the rather because it was an indication that the Son of David would have worthies among the Gentiles: with him there is neither Greek nor Jew.