2 Samuel 23

David’s Last Song

23 Now these are the last words of David.

David the son of Jesse declares,
The man who was raised on high declares,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel,
“The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me,
And His word was on my tongue.
“The God of Israel,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me,
‘He who rules over men righteously,
Who rules in the fear of God,
Is like the morning light when the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
When the fresh grass springs out of the earth
Through sunshine after rain.’
“Truly is not my house so [blessed] with God?
For He has made an everlasting covenant with me,
Ordered in all things, and secured.
For will He not cause to grow and prosper
All my salvation and my every wish?
Will He not make it grow and prosper?
“But the wicked and worthless are all to be thrown away like thorns,
Because they cannot be taken with the hand;
“But the man who touches them
Must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear,
And they are utterly burned and consumed by fire in their place.”

His Mighty Men

8 These are the names of the mighty men (warriors) whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth, a Tahchemonite, chief of the [a]captains, also called Adino the Eznite (spear) because of the [b]eight hundred men killed [by him] at one time.(A) 9 Next to him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the son of Ahohi. He was one of the three mighty men with David when they taunted and defied the Philistines assembled there for battle, and the men of Israel had gone. 10 Eleazar stood up and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day; the people returned after him only to take the spoil [of the slain].

11 Next to Eleazar was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines were gathered into an army where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the people [of Israel] fled from the Philistines. 12 But he took his stand in the center of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines; and the Lord brought about a great victory.

13 Then three of the thirty chief men went down and came to David at harvest time in the cave of Adullam, while an army of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. 15 And David had a craving and said, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” 16 So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem by the gate, and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink it, but poured it out [in worship] to the Lord. 17 And he said, “Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should drink this. [Is it not the same as] the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?” So he would not drink it. These things the [c]three mighty men did.

18 Now Abishai the brother of Joab the son of Zeruiah was chief of the [d]thirty. He wielded his spear against three hundred men and killed them, and gained a reputation beside the three. 19 He was the most honored of the thirty, so he became their commander; however, he did not attain to the [greatness of the] three.

20 Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many notable acts, killed two [famous] warriors of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day. 21 And he killed an Egyptian, an impressive and handsome man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but Benaiah went down to him with a club, snatched the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand and killed the man with his own spear. 22 These things Benaiah the son of Jehoiada did, and gained a reputation beside the three mighty men. 23 He was honored among the thirty, but he did not attain to the [greatness of the] three. David appointed him over his guard.

24 Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; then Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, 25 Shammah of Harod, Elika of Harod, 26 Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh of Tekoa, 27 Abiezer of Anathoth, Mebunnai the Hushathite, 28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai of Netophah, 29 Heleb the son of Baanah of Netophah, Ittai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the Benjamites, 30 Benaiah of Pirathon, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash, 31 Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite, 32 Eliahba of Shaalbon, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, 33 Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Ararite, 34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai the son of Maacah, Eliam the son of Ahithophel of Giloh, 35 Hezro (Hezrai) of Carmel, Paarai the Arbite, 36 Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite, 37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai of Beeroth, armor bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah, 38 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, 39 Uriah the Hittite—thirty-seven in all.


  1. 2 Samuel 23:8 The exploits of these three warriors are outlined in vv 8-11.
  2. 2 Samuel 23:8 1 Chr 11:11 lists the number as three hundred, and the number here is thought by some to be a textual error or exaggeration. But there is nothing in the text to suggest a scribal error, and if 800 slain by one man seems incredible, 300—though a much smaller number—still strains credibility. Perhaps divine intervention is the explanation (cf v 12), or Josheb was actually commanding other men but was credited with the victory as if he were alone, a common way to describe military victories.
  3. 2 Samuel 23:17 I.e. Josheb-basshebeth, Eleazar, and Shammah.
  4. 2 Samuel 23:18 So two Hebrew mss and Syriac; MT three.

Cross references

  1. 2 Samuel 23:8 : 1 Chr 11:11

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