2 Samuel 23

David's last words

1 God chose David, Jesse's son for people to anoint as their king. God made him great and he wrote beautiful songs for Israel. These are David's last words.

2 ‘The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me.

My mouth speaks his words.

3 The God of Israel has spoken.

He who keeps Israel safe said to me,

“A king who rules over men properly is afraid to make God angry.

4 That kind of king is like morning light when the sun rises.

Yes, he is like a morning when there are no clouds in the sky.

He is like light after rain

that causes the grass to seem bright.”

5 God will bless my descendants.

That is because he has given a promise to me.

And that promise will be for all time.

He will not change his promise.

And he will do what he has promised to do.

That is all that I want. And he will keep me safe.

6 But he will throw out evil men like weeds.

Some weeds will hurt your hands if you touch them.

And those men are like those weeds.

7 The man who wants to touch them needs an iron tool or a strong stick.

But men will burn them completely.’

David's strong soldiers

8 These are the names of David's best soldiers.

Josheb-Basshebeth the son of Hacmon was the first of the ‘Three’. He stood against 800 men with his spear and he killed them all at the same time.

9 Next was Dodai's son Eleazar from Ahoh's family. He belonged to the three strongest men. He was with David at Pas Dammim when they said words to make their Philistine enemies angry before a fight. Israel's men ran away 10 but Eleazar stood there. And he hit the enemy until his hand was tired. And his hand could not easily leave his sword. On that day, the Lord helped him to win an important battle. The soldiers returned but they only came to take things from the dead Philistines.

11 Next was Shammah the son of Agee from Harar. The Philistines had come together in a field of beans and the Israelites had run away from them. 12 But Shammah had stood in the middle of the field. He fought the Philistines and the Lord helped him to win an important battle.

13 The time to bring in the grain was near. During that time three out of David's 30 best soldiers came to him near Adullam. He was hiding there in a hole in the hill. A group of Philistine soldiers was in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 David was there at that time and the Philistine army was at Bethlehem. 15 David very much wanted a drink of water. He said, ‘I want to have a drink of water from the well by Bethlehem's gate. It would be good if someone brought me some.’ 16 So the three best soldiers fought through the Philistines and they got some water from Bethlehem's well. Then they carried it to David. But he refused to drink it. He poured it out in front of the Lord. 17 ‘I cannot drink it,’ he said. ‘Those men fetched it. But it would seem to me that I would be drinking their blood. They might have died while they were trying to fetch it.’ So David would not drink it.

These are the great things that the three best soldiers did.

18 Zeruiah's son Abishai, Joab's brother, was the leader of those three soldiers. He fought 300 men with his sword and he killed them all. So people talked about him a lot when they talked about these three soldiers. 19 Men honoured him more than the other two soldiers. So he was the leader of these three soldiers but he did not belong to the other ‘Three’.

20 Jehoiada's son, Benaiah came from Kabzeel. He was a brave fighter and he did many great things. He killed two of Moab's best men. And he went into a deep hole to kill a lion when snow was on the ground. 21 He knocked down a big man from Egypt who had a spear in his hand. He knocked him down with a heavy stick. He took the spear from the man's hand and he killed him with the man's own spear. 22 These were the things that Jehoiada's son Benaiah did. 23 They honoured him more than any of the 30. But he did not belong to the ‘Three’. David made him the leader of his own special soldiers.

24-39 These men were among the 30:

Joab's brother Asahel.

Elhanan, Dodo's son, from Bethlehem.

Shammah and Elika from Harod.

Helez from Pelet.

Ira, Ikkesh's son, from Tekoa.

Abiezer from Anathoth.

Mebunnai from Hushah.

Zalmon from Ahoh's family.

Maharai from Netophah.

Heleb, Baanah's son, from Netophah.

Ittai, the son of Ribai, who came from Gibeah in the land of Benjamin.

Benaiah who came from Pirathon.

Hiddai from the valleys near Gaash.

Abi-Albon from Arbath.

Azmaveth from Bahurim.

Eliahba from Shaalbon, a son of Jashen.


Shammah from Harar.

Ahiam, the son of Sharar, from Harar.

Eliphelet, Ahasbai's son, from Maacah.

Eliam, Ahithophel's son, from Gilo.

Hezro from Carmel.

Paarai from the people called Arbites.

Igal, Nathan's son, from Zobah.

Bani who came from Gad's family.

Zelek who came from Ammon.

Naharai from Beeroth. He carried Joab's sword and shield.

Ira and Gareb from the people called Ithrites.

And Uriah the Hittite.

23:24-39There are 31 names in this list. This may be because Abner killed Asahel. Then perhaps somebody else belonged to the 30 to make the proper number. See 2 Samuel 2:23.

Together their number was 37.

23:24-39The number 37 includes the two other groups of three great men. See 2 Samuel 23:8-23.