The Last Words of David.* 1These are the last words of David:
The oracle of David, son of Jesse;
the oracle of the man God raised up,
Anointed of the God of Jacob,
favorite of the Mighty One of Israel.a
2The spirit of the LORD spoke through me;
his word was on my tongue.b
3The God of Israel spoke;
of me the Rock of Israel said,
“One who rules over humankind with justice,
who rules in the fear of God,c
4Is like the light at sunrise
on a cloudless morning,
making the land’s vegetation glisten after rain.”d
5Is not my house firm before God?
He has made an eternal covenant with me,
set forth in detail and secured.e
Will he not bring to fruition
all my salvation and my every desire?
6But the wicked are all like thorns to be cast away;
they cannot be taken up by hand.f
7One wishing to touch them
must be armed with iron or the shaft of a spear.
They must be utterly consumed by fire.
David’s Warriors. 8These are the names of David’s warriors.* Ishbaal, the son of Hachamoni, chief of the Three. He brandished his spear over eight hundred whom he had slain in a single encounter.g 9Next to him was Eleazar, the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the Three warriors with David at Ephes-dammim, when they insulted the Philistines who had massed there for battle. The Israelites had retreated,h 10but he stood there and struck down the Philistines until his hand grew tired from clutching the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory on that day; the army turned back to rejoin Eleazar, but only to strip the slain. 11Next to him was Shammah, son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had assembled at Lehi, where there was a plot of land full of lentils. The people were fleeing before the Philistines,i 12but he took his stand in the middle of the plot, kept it safe, and cut down the Philistines. Thus the LORD brought about a great victory. Such deeds as these the Three warriors performed.
13Three of the Thirty chiefs went down to David in the cave of Adullam during the harvest, while a Philistine clan was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim.j 14David was then in the stronghold, and there was a garrison of Philistines in Bethlehem. 15Now David had a craving and said, “If only someone would give me a drink of water from the cistern by the gate of Bethlehem!” 16Thereupon the three warriors broke through the encampment of the Philistines, drew water from the cistern by the gate of Bethlehem, and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it, and instead poured it out* to the LORD, 17saying: “The LORD forbid that I do such a thing! Could I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” So he refused to drink it.
18Abishai, the brother of Joab, son of Zeruiah, was the chief of the Thirty; he brandished his spear over three hundred whom he had slain. He made a name among the Thirty, 19but was more famous than any of the Thirty, becoming their leader. However, he did not attain to the Three.
20Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, a valiant man of mighty deeds, from Kabzeel, killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab. Also, he went down and killed the lion in the cistern on a snowy day.k 21He likewise slew an Egyptian, a huge man. The Egyptian carried a spear, but Benaiah came against him with a staff; he wrested the spear from the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with that spear. 22Such deeds as these Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, performed; and he made a name among the Thirty warriors 23but was more famous than any of the Thirty. However, he did not attain to the Three. David put him in charge of his bodyguard.l 24Asahel,m brother of Joab, was among the Thirty; Elhanan, son of Dodo, from Bethlehem; 25Shammah, from En-harod; Elika, from En-harod; 26Helez, from Beth-pelet; Ira, son of Ikkesh, from Tekoa; 27Abiezer, from Anathoth; Sibbecai, from Husha;n 28Zalmon, from Ahoh; Maharai, from Netophah; 29Heled, son of Baanah, from Netophah; Ittai, son of Ribai, from Gibeah of Benjamin; 30Benaiah, from Pirathon; Hiddai, from the valley of Gaash; 31Abibaal, from Beth-arabah; Azmaveth, from Bahurim; 32Eliahba, from Shaalbon; Jashen the Gunite; Jonathan, 33son of Shammah the Hararite; Ahiam, son of Sharar the Hararite; 34Eliphelet, son of Ahasbai, from Beth-maacah; Eliam, son of Ahithophel, from Gilo; 35Hezrai, from Carmel; Paarai the Arbite; 36Igal, son of Nathan, from Zobah; Bani the Gadite; 37Zelek the Ammonite; Naharai, from Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab, son of Zeruiah; 38Ira, from Jattir; Gareb, from Jattir; 39Uriah the Hittite—thirty-seven in all.o
* [23:1–7] The last words of David: the text of this short composition is difficult in places; it views David’s career in retrospect.
* [23:8–39] There are thirty-seven warriors in all named in this list. First there are the Three warriors most noted for single-handed exploits (vv. 8–12). Then comes the story of a daring adventure by three unnamed members of the larger group of the Thirty (vv. 13–17). Next come the commanders of the king’s bodyguard, Abishai (vv. 18–19) and Benaiah (vv. 20–23), with whom must be counted Asahel (v. 24) and Joab (vv. 18, 24, 37), and finally the group of the Thirty (vv. 24–39).
* [23:16] Poured it out: as a libation.
a. [23:1] 1 Kgs 2:1–9; Sir 47:8.
e. [23:5] 2 Sm 7:11, 15–16; Ps 89:30; Is 55:3.
g. [23:8–39] 1 Chr 11:11–41; 27:1–15.
j. [23:13] 1 Sm 22:1; Mi 1:15.
k. [23:20] 2 Sm 8:18; 20:23; Jgs 14:6; 1 Kgs 2:29–30.
l. [23:23] 1 Sm 22:14.
n. [23:27] 2 Sm 21:18.