2 Samuel 23

David's last words

1 These are David's last words. The God that Jacob worshipped made Jesse's son David great. God chose him to rule Israel as king. He also wrote beautiful songs for the Israelites. This is David's message:

2 ‘The Spirit of the Lord gives me his message.

I speak what he tells me to say.

3 Israel's God has spoken.

The one who keeps Israel safe said to me,

“A king should rule over people in a way that is right and fair.

He should show that he respects and obeys God.

4 A king who rules like that is like the light of the sun at dawn.

He is like the sky when it has no clouds in it in the morning.

He is like bright sun after rain,

that helps the grass to grow strongly.”

5 That is how God will bless my descendants.

He has made a promise to me that will continue for ever.

It is a strong promise that will never change.

I know that he will always help me.

He will do for me everything that I hope for.

6 But God will remove all wicked people.

He will throw them away like weeds.

They are like thorn bushes

that you cannot pull out with your hands.

7 You need an iron tool or a spear to remove them.

Then you burn them completely in a fire.’

David's brave soldiers

8 These are the names of David's bravest soldiers:

Josheb-Basshebeth was the leader of the ‘Three Brave Soldiers’. He belonged to Tahkemon's clan. He used his spear to fight against 800 men in one battle and he killed them all.

9 Another of the ‘Three Brave Soldiers’ was Dodai's son, Eleazar. He belonged to Ahoh's clan. He was with David at Pas-Dammim when they insulted the Philistine soldiers before a battle. The Israelite soldiers ran away from the fight, 10 but Eleazar stood there. He knocked down the Philistine soldiers until his hand became tired. It became fixed to his sword. On that day, the Lord caused him to win a great battle. When the other Israelite soldiers returned to help him, they took things from the dead Philistines. That was the only thing left for them to do.

23:9Pas-Dammim see 1 Chronicles 11:13.

11 The third of the ‘Three Brave Soldiers’ was Shammah, the son of Agee, who belonged to Harar's clan. The Philistine soldiers had come together in a field of beans. The Israelite soldiers ran away from them. 12 But Shammah stood in the middle of the field to stop the Philistines taking it for themselves. He killed the Philistines. The Lord caused him to win a great battle.

13 At the time of the harvest, three of David's 30 bravest soldiers went to be with David near Adullam. He was hiding there in a cave. A group of Philistine soldiers had made their camp in Rephaim valley. 14 David was in his strong safe place. A group of Philistine soldiers had made their home in Bethlehem. 15 David was very thirsty. He said, ‘I want someone to bring water from the well near Bethlehem's gate for me to drink.’ 16 So the three brave soldiers fought through the Philistine camp and they reached Bethlehem's gate. They took some water from the well there and they carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it. He poured it on the ground as an offering to the Lord. 17 He said, ‘Lord, it is not right for me to drink this water. It would seem like the blood of the men who fetched it for me. The Philistines might have killed them on the way.’ So David refused to drink it.

That was one of the great things that those three brave soldiers did.

18 Abishai was the leader of David's 30 great soldiers. He was the brother of Zeruiah's son Joab. One time, he used his spear to fight 300 men and he killed them all. So he became as famous as the ‘Three Brave Soldiers’. 19 He was not one of the ‘Three Brave Soldiers’ but he received more honour than the other 30 great soldiers. So he became their leader.

20 Jehoiada's son, Benaiah, was also one of David's brave soldiers. He came from Kabzeel and he did many great things. He killed two of Moab's best soldiers. He also went down into a deep hole to kill a lion when snow was on the ground. 21 Benaiah also killed a great Egyptian man who held a spear. Benaiah attacked him with a heavy stick. He took the spear from the Egyptian's hand and he used it to kill him. 22 Those were some things that Jehoiada's son Benaiah did. He became as famous as the ‘Three Brave Soldiers’. 23 He received more honour than the other 30 great soldiers, but he did not belong to the ‘Three Brave Soldiers’. David made him the leader of his own special soldiers who were his guards.

24 These men were among David's ‘30 great soldiers’:

23:2430 Great Soldiers was the name that people called this group of David's brave soldiers. There were probably more than 30 of them. See verse 39.
  • Joab's brother Asahel,
  • Elhanan, Dodo's son, from Bethlehem,
  • 25 Shammah and Elika, from Harod's clan,
  • 26 Helez, from Pelet,
  • Ira, Ikkesh's son, from Tekoa,
  • 27 Abiezer, from Anathoth,
  • Mebunnai, from Hushah's clan,
  • 28 Zalmon, from Ahoh's clan,
  • Maharai, from Netophah,
  • 29 Heleb, Baanah's son, from Netophah,
  • Ittai, Ribai's son, from Gibeah in the land that belonged to Benjamin's tribe,
  • 30 Benaiah, from Pirathon,
  • Hiddai, from the valleys near Gaash,
  • 31 Abi-Albon from Arabah's clan,
  • Azmaveth, from Bahurim,
  • 32 Eliahba, from Shaalbon,
  • Jashen's sons,
  • Jonathan, 33 Shammah's son, from Harar,
  • Ahiam, Sharar's son, from Harar,
  • 34 Eliphelet, Ahasbai's son, from Maakah,
  • Eliam, Ahithophel's son, from Gilo,
  • 35 Hezro, from Carmel,
  • Paarai, from Arba,
  • 36 Igal, Nathan's son, from Zobah,
  • Bani, who belonged to Gad's tribe,
  • 37 Zelek, from Ammon,
  • Naharai, from Beeroth (he carried Joab's weapons),
  • 38 Ira and Gareb, from Jattir,
  • 39 and Uriah the Hittite.
  • There were 37 great soldiers if you count them all.

    23:39Not all the ‘Great Soldiers’ are included in this list. Some of them had already died.