2 Samuel 23

2 Samuel 23

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The Last Words of David

23 Now these are the last words of David:

  The oracle of David, the son of Jesse,
    the oracle of the man who was raised on high,
  the anointed of the God of Jacob,
    the sweet psalmist of Israel:
  “The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me;
    his word is on my tongue.
  The God of Israel has spoken;
    the Rock of Israel has said to me:
  When one rules justly over men,
    ruling in the fear of God,
  he dawns on them like the morning light,
    like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning,
    like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.
  “For does not my house stand so with God?
    For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
    ordered in all things and secure.
  For will he not cause to prosper
    all my help and my desire?
  But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away,
    for they cannot be taken with the hand;
  but the man who touches them
    arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear,
    and they are utterly consumed with fire.”

David’s Mighty Men

These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he killed at one time.

And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the LORD brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.

And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the LORD worked a great victory.

And three of the thirty chief men went down and came about harvest time to David at the cave of Adullam, when a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. And David said longingly, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the LORD and said, “Far be it from me, O LORD, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.

Now Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the thirty. And he wielded his spear against three hundred men and killed them and won a name beside the three. He was the most renowned of the thirty and became their commander, but he did not attain to the three.

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two ariels of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen. And he struck down an Egyptian, a handsome man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but Benaiah went down to him with a staff and snatched the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and won a name beside the three mighty men. He was renowned among the thirty, but he did not attain to the three. And David set him over his bodyguard.

Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, Shammah of Harod, Elika of Harod, Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh of Tekoa, Abiezer of Anathoth, Mebunnai the Hushathite, Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai of Netophah, Heleb the son of Baanah of Netophah, Ittai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the people of Benjamin, Benaiah of Pirathon, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash, Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth of Bahurim, Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite, Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai of Maacah, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, Hezro of Carmel, Paarai the Arbite, Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite, Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah, Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, Uriah the Hittite: thirty-seven in all.


2 Samuel 23 Commentary

by Hank Workman

When we think of a Last Will and Testament being read it is usually after the passing of someone. Family members gather to hear what has been left in their estate and how it will be divided up among them and others. It usually comes after a period of mourning when the deceased has been buried. What has penned as The Last Words of David, this is quite the contrary. These words of His were penned and spoken while he was still alive.

As his life was coming to a close, David looked back upon the unlikely position he had been placed and how God had orchestrated it all. He was the most unlikely of heroes.

He started off as a mere shepherd boy, the son of Jesse, who was the least likely to be jettisoned to such a position. Yet God raised him on high according to His far-reaching will for not only himself but for the future of which Jesus Christ would come through this lineage. God anointed him to be the King and ruler who would serve after him, even through his failure. The power of the Holy Spirit worked throughout his life and reign enabling him to truly fulfill his destiny.

David’s life is an open book as to his successes and failures. The line of grace and mercy runs deep throughout. Even in his flawed nature and choices, he would return again and again to the God of his fathers.

“We can say that because of his sin and its consequences, David’s light dimmed toward the end of his life, but it was by no means extinguished. He shined until the end.”

David Guzik

But what is so beautiful is God never gave up on David and sought him out and used him to the very end. The difference between him and Saul was simple, humility and genuine repentance. God took the penitent heart of David and still accomplished His divine plan, as David gave himself completely to Him.

This is true for us as well. We fail. We falter more often than not. Yet, through the grace of Jesus, the confession of our own wanderings and choices, He continues to work His divine plan for each of us.

I do love how right after these last words of David, his Mighty Men of Valor are accounted for. These were the ragtag group of men whom God led to David while in the wilderness on the run from Saul. These men who, for whatever reason, had been disgruntled or marginalized by their own society, were raised up to follow after David and fight alongside. They too were raised to high positions within his government when it was established. The Mighty Men were unlikely heroes as well.

This is what God does. When we come before Him in humility, He will raise us up to places of service and purpose. Coming from humble estates, we don’t deserve the blessings and direction of God. But if we are willing, he will make us unlikely heroes in our own corner of the world, reaching this current generation for the glory of Jesus Christ.

2 Samuel 23 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

David was never ashamed of who he was and where he came from. In a culture that was all about notoriety and popularity, David was still the youngest son of Jesse, the peasant and farmer from Bethlehem. David’s life is a story that illuminates the grace and favor of God. Just like God took the sneaky, manipulator Jacob and molded him into Israel, he took a young shepherd boy and elevated him to the King of God’s people. This was all accomplished to foreshadow the humble birth and beginning of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

David composed many Psalms that glorify God and speak personally to so many in their time of need. Peter beautifully articulates the divine intervention by which God inspired Old Testament writers to compose the Scriptures.

“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,  20  knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.  21  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV

David was indeed carried by the Spirit. These two points (1) growing into the person God has called us to be and (2) being inspired and led by the Holy Spirit – are critical to our purpose in God’s Kingdom. We cannot fulfill our calling as a messenger of Jesus Christ in our own strength.

“A blessed end, when, in looking back upon the path of life that lies behind, one has nothing to utter but gratitude and praise; when, in looking around upon his own life’s acquisitions and his possession of salvation, all self-glorying is silent, and only the testimony to God’s grace and mercy, that has done all and given all, comes upon the lips.”

John Peter Lange
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