2 Samuel 23

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Read 2 Samuel 23

David’s Last Words

1 These are the last words of David:

“The inspired utterance of David son of Jesse,
    the utterance of the man exalted by the Most High,
the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
    the hero of Israel’s songs:

“The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
    his word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke,
    the Rock of Israel said to me:
‘When one rules over people in righteousness,
    when he rules in the fear of God,
he is like the light of morning at sunrise
    on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
    that brings grass from the earth.’

“If my house were not right with God,
    surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant,
    arranged and secured in every part;
surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation
    and grant me my every desire.
But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns,
    which are not gathered with the hand.
Whoever touches thorns
    uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear;
    they are burned up where they lie.”

David’s Mighty Warriors

These are the names of David’s mighty warriors:

Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.

Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty warriors, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim for battle. Then the Israelites retreated, 10 but Eleazar stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.

11 Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. 12 But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.

13 During harvest time, three of the thirty chief warriors came down to David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. 15 David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 16 So the three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord. 17 “Far be it from me, Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it.

Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors.

18 Abishai the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah was chief of the Three. He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three. 19 Was he not held in greater honor than the Three? He became their commander, even though he was not included among them.

20 Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 21 And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. 22 Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty warriors. 23 He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

24 Among the Thirty were:

Asahel the brother of Joab,

Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem,

25 Shammah the Harodite,

Elika the Harodite,

26 Helez the Paltite,

Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa,

27 Abiezer from Anathoth,

Sibbekai the Hushathite,

28 Zalmon the Ahohite,

Maharai the Netophathite,

29 Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite,

Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin,

30 Benaiah the Pirathonite,

Hiddai from the ravines of Gaash,

31 Abi-Albon the Arbathite,

Azmaveth the Barhumite,

32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite,

the sons of Jashen,

Jonathan 33 son of Shammah the Hararite,

Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite,

34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maakathite,

Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,

35 Hezro the Carmelite,

Paarai the Arbite,

36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah,

the son of Hagri,

37 Zelek the Ammonite,

Naharai the Beerothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah,

38 Ira the Ithrite,

Gareb the Ithrite

39 and Uriah the Hittite.

There were thirty-seven in all.

Go Deeper

As 2 Samuel nears its end, the Spirit of God speaks through David. God reminds David of the blessings that come when he rules justly in the fear of God (v. 4). Though an imperfect king, David’s motivation to please God wove throughout his life. Whether we read the Psalms, watch David repent of sin, or witness his faith in God, it is clear that David’s relationship with God was more important to him than anything else. 

1 Samuel 13:14 refers to David, the future king, as a man after God’s heart. Throughout his reign, David sought God’s guidance and wisdom. When David obediently followed God’s command, the blessing of God always fell on King David and God’s people. When David dishonored God, he repented and sought God’s forgiveness. He wasn’t called a man after God’s heart because he was perfect but because he continued in faith and surrendered to God’s will. David also glorifies God with humility and worship. Unwilling to take credit for the prosperity of his reign, David rightly honors God for establishing an everlasting covenant with him and saving him (v. 5).  

David’s walk with God teaches us how to be people after God’s heart. We can humbly obey God’s will as David did. We can worship God even when life is hard. We can repent and submit to God when we sin. We can hold fast to our faith in the all-powerful God. As Micah 6:8 instructs, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

As He did with David, God made an everlasting covenant with us, too. Under the New Covenant, God saves us for all eternity when we believe in Jesus Christ as our risen Lord and Savior. We receive full forgiveness for our sins when we repent and surrender to God’s will. As we choose to live in a way that honors and pleases the Lord, we can delight in the fruitfulness God grows in our lives. Like David, may God be more important to us than anything else. 


  1. Is God more important to you than anything else in your life? What competes with God for your allegiance and worship? 
  2. What is your favorite way to worship God? Take time to worship Him today.  
  3. What is one thing you need to surrender to the Lord? Pray about it now.  

Keep Digging

Does fearing God really mean we are supposed to be afraid of Him? Not at all! Read more about this phrase here.

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1 thought on “2 Samuel 23”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    David’s last words proclaim 2 things we must all decide either:
    1. Fear God who brings salvation, is just, full of light and offers a covenant relationship with his followers.
    2. Reject God and go down the path of the wicked leading to eternal death and hell.
    David doesn’t mince words but gets straight to the point. We all must choose how we respond to God’s extravagant offer.

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