These are the names of David's mighty men: 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 men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered [at Pas Dammim] for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated,
but he 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.
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.
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.
During harvest time, three of the thirty chief men came down to David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim.
At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem.
David longed for water and said, "Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!"
So the three mighty men 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.
"Far be it from me, O 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 men.
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.
Was he not held in greater honor than the Three? He became their commander, even though he was not included among them
Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.
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
Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty men.
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.
Among the Thirty were: Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem,
Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,
Helez the Paltite, Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa,
Abiezer from Anathoth, Mebunnai the Hushathite,
Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,
Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin,
Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai from the ravines of Gaash,
Abi-Albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,
Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan
son of Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite,
Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite, Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
Hezro the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,
Igal son of Nathan from Zobah, the son of Hagri,
Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah,
Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrit
and Uriah the Hittite. There were thirty-seven in all.
Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah."
So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, "Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are."
But Joab replied to the king, "May the LORD your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?"
The king's word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel.
After crossing the Jordan, they camped near Aroer, south of the town in the gorge, and then went through Gad and on to Jazer.
They went to Gilead and the region of Tahtim Hodshi, and on to Dan Jaan and around toward Sidon.
Then they went toward the fortress of Tyre and all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites. Finally, they went on to Beersheba in the Negev of Judah.
After they had gone through the entire land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
Joab reported the number of the fighting men to the king: In Israel there were eight hundred thousand able-bodied men who could handle a sword, and in Judah five hundred thousand.
David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing."
Before David got up the next morning, the word of the LORD had come to Gad the prophet, David's seer:
"Go and tell David, 'This is what the LORD says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.' "
So Gad went to David and said to him, "Shall there come upon you three years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me."