1These are the last words of David: This message is from David son of Jesse. This message is from the man that God made great, the king chosen by the God of Jacob, the sweet singer of Israel. 2The Lord’s Spirit spoke through me. His word was on my tongue. 3The God of Israel spoke. The Rock of Israel said to me, “The person who rules people fairly, the person who rules with respect for God, 4that person will be like the morning light at dawn; like a morning without clouds; like sunshine after a rain— the rain that makes tender grass grow from the ground.” 5God made my family strong and secure. He made an agreement with me forever! God made sure this agreement was good and secure in every way. So surely he will give me every victory. He will give me everything I want! 6But bad people are like thorns. People don’t hold thorns. They throw them away. 7If a person touches them, it hurts like a spear made of wood and iron. ˻Yes, those people are like thorns.˼ They will be thrown in the fire, and they will be completely burned! 8These are the names of David’s soldiers: Josheb Basshebeth the Tahkemonite. Josheb Basshebeth was captain of the Three Heroes. Josheb Basshebeth used his spear against 800 men at one time and killed them. 9Next, there was Eleazar son of Dodai from Ahoah. Eleazar was one of the Three Heroes that were with David at the time they challenged the Philistines. They had gathered for a battle, but the Israelite soldiers had run away. 10Eleazar fought the Philistines until he was very tired. But he kept holding on to the sword tightly ˻and continued fighting˼. The Lord gave Israel a great victory that day. The people came back after Eleazar had won the battle, but they only came to take things from the dead enemy soldiers. 11Next, there was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. The Philistines came together to fight. They fought in a field of lentils. The people ran away from the Philistines. 12But Shammah stood in the middle of the field and defended it. He defeated the Philistines. The Lord gave Israel a great victory that day. 13Once, David was at the cave of Adullam and the Philistine army was down in Rephaim Valley. Three of the Thirty Heroes crawled flat on the ground all the way to that cave to join David. 14Another time, David was in the fortress, and a group of Philistines soldiers was in Bethlehem. 15David was thirsty ˻for some water from his hometown˼. David said, “I wish someone could give me some water from the well near the city gate in Bethlehem!” ˻David did not really want this, he was only talking.˼ 16But the Three Heroes fought their way through the Philistine army. These three men got some water from the well near the city gate in Bethlehem. Then the Three Heroes brought the water to David. But David refused to drink the water. He poured it on the ground as an offering to the Lord. 17David said, “Lord, I can’t drink this water. It would be like drinking the blood of the men who risked their lives for me.” This is why David refused to drink the water. The Three Heroes did many brave things like that. 18Abishai was the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah. Abishai was the leader of the Three Heroes. Abishai used his spear against 300 ˻enemies˼ and killed them. He became as famous as the Three. 19Abishai was as famous as the Three Heroes. He became their leader, even though he was not one of them. 20Then there was Benaiah son of Jehoiada. He was the son of a powerful man. He was from Kabzeel. Benaiah did many brave things. Benaiah killed the two sons of Ariel from Moab. One day when it was snowing, Benaiah went down into a hole in the ground and killed a lion. 21Benaiah also killed a big Egyptian soldier. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand. But Benaiah only had a club in his hand. Benaiah grabbed the spear in the Egyptian’s hand and took it away from him. Then Benaiah killed the Egyptian with his own spear. 22Benaiah son of Jehoiada did many brave things like that. Benaiah was as famous as the Three Heroes. 23Benaiah was even more famous than the Thirty Heroes, but he did not become a member of the Three Heroes. David made Benaiah leader of his bodyguards. 24Asahel, the brother of Joab, was one of the Thirty Heroes. ˻Other men in the group of Thirty Heroes were˼: Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem; 25Shammah the Harodite; Elika the Harodite; 26Helez the Paltite; Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa; 27Abiezer from Anathoth; Mebunnai the Hushathite; 28Zalmon the Ahohite; Maharai from Netophah; 29Heled son of Baanah from Netophah; Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah of Benjamin; 30Benaiah the Pirathonite; Hiddai from the Brooks of Gaash; 31Abi Albon the Arbathite; Azmaveth the Barhumite; 32Eliahba the Shaalbonite; the sons of Jashen; Jonathan 33the son of Shammah from Harar; Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar; 34Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite; Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite; 35Hezro the Carmelite; Paarai the Arbite; 36Igal son of Nathan of Zobah; Bani the Gadite; 37Zelek the Ammonite; Naharai from Beeroth (Naharai carried the armor for Joab son of Zeruiah); 38Ira the Ithrite; Gareb the Ithrite; 39and Uriah the Hittite. There were 37 in all.
2 Samuel 23