Then all Israel assembled before David at Hebron. "Look at us," they said. "We're your very flesh and blood.
In the past, yes, even while Saul was king, you were the real leader of Israel. God told you, 'You will shepherd my people Israel; you are to be the ruler of my people Israel.'"
When all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, David made a covenant with them in the presence of God at Hebron. Then they anointed David king over Israel exactly as God had commanded through Samuel.
David and all Israel went to Jerusalem (it was the old Jebus, where the Jebusites lived).
The citizens of Jebus told David, "No trespassing - you can't come here." David came on anyway and captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.
David had said, "The first person to kill a Jebusite will be commander-in-chief." Joab son of Zeruiah was the first; and he became the chief.
David took up residence in the fortress city; that's how it got its name, "City of David."
David fortified the city all the way around, both the outer bulwarks (the Millo) and the outside wall. Joab rebuilt the city gates.
David's stride became longer, his embrace larger - yes, God-of-the-Angel-Armies was with him!
These are the chiefs of David's Mighty Men, the ones who linked arms with him as he took up his kingship, with all Israel joining in, helping him become king in just the way God had spoken regarding Israel.
The list of David's Mighty Men: Jashobeam son of Hacmoni was chief of the Thirty. Singlehandedly he killed three hundred men, killed them all in one skirmish.
Next was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite, one of the Big Three of the Mighty Men.
He was with David at Pas Dammim, where the Philistines had mustered their troops for battle. It was an area where there was a field of barley. The army started to flee from the Philistines
and then took its stand right in that field - and turned the tide! They slaughtered the Philistines, God helping them - a huge victory.
The Big Three from the Thirty made a rocky descent to David at the Cave of Adullam while a company of Philistines was camped in the Valley of Rephaim.
David was holed up in the Cave while the Philistines were prepared for battle at Bethlehem.
David had a sudden craving: "What I wouldn't give for a drink of water from the well in Bethlehem, the one at the gate!"
The Three penetrated the Philistine camp, drew water from the well at the Bethlehem gate, shouldered it, and brought it to David. And then David wouldn't drink it! He poured it out as a sacred offering to God,
saying, "I'd rather be damned by God than drink this! It would be like drinking the lifeblood of these men - they risked their lives to bring it." So he refused to drink it. These are the kinds of things that the Big Three of the Mighty Men did.
Abishai brother of Joab was the chief of the Thirty. Singlehandedly he fought three hundred men, and killed the lot, but he never made it into the circle of the Three.
He was highly honored by the Thirty - he was their chief - still, he didn't measure up to the Three.
Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a Mighty Man from Kabzeel with many exploits to his credit: he killed two famous Moabites; he climbed down into a pit and killed a lion on a snowy day;
and he killed an Egyptian, a giant seven and a half feet tall. The Egyptian had a spear like a ship's boom but Benaiah went at him with a mere club, tore the spear from the Egyptian's hand, and killed him with it.
These are some of the things Benaiah son of Jehoiada did. But he was never included with the Three.
He was highly honored among the Thirty, but didn't measure up to the Three. David put him in charge of his personal bodyguard.
The Mighty Men of the military were Asahel brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
Shammoth the Harorite, Helez the Pelonite,
Ira son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, Abiezer the Anathothite,
Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite,
Maharai the Netophathite, Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite,
Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah of the Benjaminite, Benaiah the Pirathonite,
Hurai from the ravines of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite,
Azmaveth the Baharumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite,
the sons of Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan son of Shagee the Hararite,
Ahiam son of Sacar the Haranite, Eliphal son of Ur,
Hepher the Mekerathite, Ahijah the Pelonite,
Hezro the Carmelite, Naarai son of Ezbai,
Joel brother of Nathan, Mibhar son of Hagri,
Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite, the armor bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah,
Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite,
Uriah the Hittite, Zabad son of Ahlai,
Adina son of Shiza the Reubenite, the Reubenite chief of the Thirty,
Hanan son of Maacah, Joshaphat the Mithnite,
Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel the sons of Hotham the Aroerite,
Jediael son of Shimri, Joha the Tizite his brother,
Eliel the Mahavite, Jeribai and Joshaviah the sons of Elnaam, Ithmah the Moabite,
Eliel, Obed, and Jaasiel the Mezobaite.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)