From 1 Chronicles 12-14
With Saul dead, David is anointed king. Israel joins him and now both Judah and Israel are united under the same leader. The Jebusites still hold Jerusalem so David takes it and calls it the city of David. The LORD is with David and he gets greater and greater. In part this is because of his mighty men.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The genealogies are finished. But Chronicles gives a lengthy account of David’s mighty men. His most proficient and loyal warriors. Samuel (2 Sam 23.8-39) and Chronicles interestingly give slightly different accounts of the men and their exploits.
10 Now these are the chiefs of David’s mighty men, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel. 11 This is an account of David’s mighty men:
Jashobeam, a Hachmonite, was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against 300 whom he killed at one time.
12 And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite. 13 He was with David at Pas-dammim when the Philistines were gathered there for battle. There was a plot of ground full of barley, and the men fled from the Philistines. 14 But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and killed the Philistines. And the LORD saved them by a great victory. (1 Chr 11.10-14)
Chronicles doesn’t name the third of the three. So I pulled this from Samuel.
11 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. 12 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. (2 Sam 23:11–12)
Jashobeam, Eleazar and Shammah. These three mighty men must have stood above the rest and been part of David’s honour guard. Their reputations would have commanded respect and won the loyalty of the men around them.
15 Three of the thirty chief men went down to the rock to David at the cave of Adullam, when the army of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 16 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 17 And David said longingly, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” 18 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 took it and brought it to David. But David would not drink it. He poured it out to the LORD 19 and said, “Far be it from me before my God that I should do this. Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it. These things did the three mighty men. (1 Chr 11.15-19)
An amazing story of their exploits captures their zeal for David, their skill in fighting and the lengths they would go to serve his every wish. David has given no appearance he actually meant what he asked, but they took it seriously and did the deed. Once they returned David was shocked they would do it for him, and instead raised its value by giving it to the LORD.
20 Now Abishai, the brother of Joab, was chief of the thirty. And he wielded his spear against 300 men and killed them and won a name beside the three. 21 He was the most renowned of the thirty and became their commander, but he did not attain to the three. (1 Chr 11.20-21)
Abishai you may remember is brother to Asahel (1 Chr 11.26) and Joab is named chief of the thirty. Both are close relatives of David. The account continues describing these thirty which I won’t go into now. These men and others join David and some of their exploits are described. But near the end the author makes this statement.
38 All these, men of war, arrayed in battle order, came to Hebron with a whole heart to make David king over all Israel. Likewise, all the rest of Israel were of a single mind to make David king. (1 Chr 12.38)
This is the source of their zeal. To make David, the anointed one king. Powerful stuff.
Story of Israel
The account of David’s mighty men captures the early glory days of David’s reign. Some of these men are killed in battle. For example Asahel. Joab is loyal to David but violent and ruthless. He will eventually oppose Solomons leadership and be killed at the altar. Another man I have not included, because he is in the thirty is Uriah the Hittite (1 Chr 11.41). He remained loyal to David and his men. But David had sex with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba and she became pregnant. David had Uriah killed to conceal his sin.
Although David was a man after the LORD’s heart (1 Sam 13.13; 16.7) and walked before the LORD (1 Ki 3.6,14) he still stuffed up. He did evil things like we have all done. But the LORD forgave him and never again held those acts against him. Was he deserving of the zeal and loyalty his men gave him? Or perhaps would there be another more worthy of our zeal? Someone people would broke through an enemy camp to drew water for at great personal risk?
David in the end was not the Christ of whom all should bow down their knee and call LORD. The LORD promised another who would fulfill that role and greater things for his people. In return their zeal will burn for him to make him king.
Story of Jesus
When Jesus began his ministry he had an immediate following of disciples and others who wanted to hear him teach and perhaps see him heal the sick, raise the dead or cast out demons. Some claimed they would follow him to the end, but when they came for Jesus they abandoned him.
But Jesus’ resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit changed the men who followed him. They no longer fight with swords and weapons of this world, but with the word of God. Luke records the boldness of these changed apostles.
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:8–13)
When they were released they prayed for more boldness to preach the gospel.
Do you want to be one of Jesus’ men or women who boldly want to make Jesus king over all the world.
Then check this prayer out.
“Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“ ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’—
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:24–30)
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