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Two Samuel Twenty Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

2 Samuel 23:1 Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,

last words of David. This assertion seems to suggest that Psalm 18, which is substantially identical to 2 Samuel 22, was slightly modified by David shortly before his death. The revised version is incorporated here by the anonymous author of 2 Samuel. Since both versions are divinely inspired, there must be some reason for the inclusion of both the original and revised versions of Psalm 18 in the Biblical canon. See the notes appended to Psalm 18.

2 Samuel 23:2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.

2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

2 Samuel 23:4 And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.

2 Samuel 23:5 Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

2 Samuel 23:6 But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:

sons of Belial. “Belial” means, literally, “worthlessness” or “wickedness.” The term “son of Belial” was an extreme epithet, later coming to mean “son of the wicked one” and finally being used even as a name for a “son of Satan.”

2 Samuel 23:7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.

2 Samuel 23:8 These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

sat in the seat. This phrase is actually a proper name, “Josheb-basshebeth.” See 1 Chronicles 11:11-47 for the parallel listing of David's mighty men.

eight hundred. 1 Chronicles 11:11 says that this first man mentioned in the list of the mighty men (called Jashobeam in 1 Chronicles) slew three hundred men instead of eight hundred. The correct number is believed to be eight hundred, as given here, thus warranting Jashobeam's position as “chief among the captains.” Abishai, in the second trio of mighty men, had slain three hundred. The number in 1 Chronicles 11:11 probably represents a copyist's error, but it is also possible that he slew eight hundred on one occasion and three hundred on another occasion.

2 Samuel 23:9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

2 Samuel 23:10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

2 Samuel 23:11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.

2 Samuel 23:12 But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.

2 Samuel 23:13 And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.

2 Samuel 23:14 And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.

2 Samuel 23:15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!

2 Samuel 23:16 And the three mighty men brake through the host 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: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.

2 Samuel 23:17 And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.

2 Samuel 23:18 And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.

2 Samuel 23:19 Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.

2 Samuel 23:20 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:

2 Samuel 23:21 And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear.

2 Samuel 23:22 These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.

2 Samuel 23:23 He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.

2 Samuel 23:24 Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,

2 Samuel 23:25 Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,

2 Samuel 23:26 Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,

2 Samuel 23:27 Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,

2 Samuel 23:28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,

2 Samuel 23:29 Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,

2 Samuel 23:30 Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,

2 Samuel 23:31 Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,

2 Samuel 23:32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,

2 Samuel 23:33 Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,

2 Samuel 23:34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,

2 Samuel 23:35 Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,

2 Samuel 23:36 Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,

2 Samuel 23:37 Zelek the Ammonite, Nahari the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah,

2 Samuel 23:38 Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,

2 Samuel 23:39 Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.

Uriah the Hittite. It is striking to note that Uriah the Hittite had been one of David's “mighty men” (2 Samuel 23:8, 23-30), yet Uriah was the man whom David murdered after committing adultery with his wife.

thirty and seven. Evidently the “mighty men” were considered as two eminent groups of three each (2 Samuel 23:8-23), one of whom was not named, and thirty-one others (2 Samuel 23:24-39). It is noteworthy, however, that there are a number of differences in the names as listed in 1 Chronicles 11:10-47. Also the latter list includes about fifty-five names. The apparent discrepancy reflects different scribes and different sources. Possibly the second list, written later, includes the names of various men who replaced different men in the first group from time to time.