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:
2 “The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue.
3 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,
4 he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.’
5 “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.
6 But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns, which are not gathered with the hand.
7 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

8 These are the names of David’s mighty warriors: Josheb-Basshebeth,[a] a Tahkemonite,[b] was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed[c] in one encounter.
9 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[d] 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.[e] 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[f] the Hushathite,
28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,
29 Heled[g] son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin,
30 Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai[h] 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[i] Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam son of Sharar[j] 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,[k]
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.

2 Samuel 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

David's last words. (1-7) David's mighty men. (8-39)

Verses 1-7 These words of David are very worthy of regard. Let those who have had long experience of God's goodness, and the pleasantness of heavenly wisdom, when they come to finish their course, bear their testimony to the truth of the promise. David avows his Divine inspiration, that the Spirit of God spake by him. He, and other holy men, spake and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. In many things he had his own neglect and wrong conduct to blame. But David comforted himself that the Lord had made with him an everlasting covenant. By this he principally intended the covenant of mercy and peace, which the Lord made with him as a sinner, who believed in the promised Saviour, who embraced the promised blessing, who yielded up himself to the Lord, to be his redeemed servant. Believers shall for ever enjoy covenant blessings; and God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, shall be for ever glorified in their salvation. Thus pardon, righteousness, grace, and eternal life, are secured as the gift of God through Jesus Christ. There is an infinite fulness of grace and all blessings treasured up in Christ, for those who seek his salvation. This covenant was all David's salvation, he so well knew the holy law of God and the extent of his own sinfulness, that he perceived what was needful for his own case in this salvation. It was therefore all his desire. In comparison, all earthly objects lost their attractions; he was willing to give them up, or to die and leave them, that he might enjoy full happiness, ( Psalms 73:24-28 ) . Still the power of evil, and the weakness of his faith, hope, and love, were his grief and burden. Doubtless he would have allowed that his own slackness and want of care were the cause; but the hope that he should soon be made perfect in glory, encouraged him in his dying moments.

Verses 8-39 David once earnestly longed for the water at the well of Bethlehem. It seems to be an instance of weakness. He was thirsty; with the water of that well he had often refreshed himself when a youth, and it was without due thought that he desired it. Were his valiant men so forward to expose themselves, upon the least hint of their prince's mind, and so eager to please him, and shall not we long to approve ourselves to our Lord Jesus, by ready compliance with his will, as shown us by his word, Spirit, and providence? But David poured out the water as a drink-offering to the Lord. Thus he would cross his own foolish fancy, and punish himself for indulging it, and show that he had sober thoughts to correct his rash ones, and knew how to deny himself. Did David look upon that water as very precious which was got at the hazard of these men's blood, and shall not we much more value those benefits for purchasing which our blessed Saviour shed his blood? Let all beware of neglecting so great salvation.

Cross References 47

  • 1. S Exodus 11:3; 2 Samuel 7:8-9; Psalms 78:70-71; Psalms 89:27
  • 2. 1 Samuel 2:10,35; Psalms 18:50; Psalms 20:6; Psalms 84:9; Isaiah 45:1; Habakkuk 3:13; 1 Samuel 16:12-13; Psalms 89:20
  • 3. Matthew 22:43; Mark 12:36; 2 Peter 1:21
  • 4. Deuteronomy 32:4; S 1 Samuel 2:2; Psalms 18:31; 2 Samuel 22:2,32
  • 5. Psalms 72:2
  • 6. S Genesis 42:18
  • 7. 2 Chronicles 19:7,9; Isaiah 11:1-5
  • 8. John 1:5
  • 9. Psalms 119:147; Psalms 130:6; Proverbs 4:18
  • 10. S Judges 5:31; Psalms 89:36; Matthew 13:43
  • 11. S Deuteronomy 32:2
  • 12. S Genesis 9:16; Psalms 89:29; Isaiah 55:3
  • 13. Isaiah 5:6; Isaiah 9:18; Isaiah 10:17; Isaiah 27:4; Isaiah 33:12; Micah 7:4; Nahum 1:10; Matthew 13:40-41
  • 14. S 2 Samuel 17:10
  • 15. 1 Chronicles 27:2
  • 16. 1 Chronicles 27:4
  • 17. 1 Chronicles 8:4
  • 18. S Genesis 38:1; S Joshua 12:15; 1 Samuel 22:1
  • 19. S Joshua 17:15; 2 Samuel 5:18
  • 20. 1 Samuel 22:4-5; S 2 Samuel 5:17
  • 21. Ruth 1:19
  • 22. S Genesis 35:14
  • 23. Leviticus 17:10-12
  • 24. S 1 Samuel 26:6; 2 Samuel 10:10,14; 1 Chronicles 11:20
  • 25. S 2 Samuel 8:18; 2 Samuel 20:23; 1 Chronicles 27:5
  • 26. Joshua 15:21
  • 27. S 2 Samuel 2:18
  • 28. Judges 7:1; 1 Chronicles 11:27
  • 29. 1 Chronicles 27:10
  • 30. 1 Chronicles 27:9
  • 31. 1 Chronicles 27:12
  • 32. S Joshua 21:18
  • 33. 1 Chronicles 27:13
  • 34. 2 Kings 25:23; Ezra 2:22; Nehemiah 7:26; Jeremiah 40:8
  • 35. 1 Chronicles 27:15
  • 36. S Joshua 15:57
  • 37. S Judges 12:13
  • 38. Joshua 24:30
  • 39. 2 Samuel 3:16
  • 40. S Deuteronomy 3:14
  • 41. S 2 Samuel 11:3
  • 42. S 2 Samuel 15:12
  • 43. S Joshua 12:22
  • 44. S 1 Samuel 14:47
  • 45. S Joshua 9:17
  • 46. 2 Samuel 20:26; 1 Chronicles 2:53
  • 47. 2 Samuel 11:3

Footnotes 11

  • [a]. Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts suggest "Ish-Bosheth," that is, "Esh-Baal" (see also 1 Chron. 11:11 "Jashobeam" ).
  • [b]. Probably a variant of "Hakmonite" (see 1 Chron. 11:11)
  • [c]. Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:11); Hebrew and other Septuagint manuscripts "Three; it was Adino the Eznite who killed eight hundred men"
  • [d]. See 1 Chron. 11:13; Hebrew "gathered there" .
  • [e]. Most Hebrew manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:20); two Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac "Thirty"
  • [f]. Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 21:18; 1 Chron. 11:29); Hebrew "Mebunnai"
  • [g]. Some Hebrew manuscripts and Vulgate (see also 1 Chron. 11:30); most Hebrew manuscripts "Heleb"
  • [h]. Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:32) "Hurai"
  • [i]. Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:34); Hebrew does not have "son of."
  • [j]. Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:35) "Sakar"
  • [k]. Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:38); Hebrew "Haggadi"

Chapter Summary


In this chapter are recorded the last words of David under a divine inspiration, 2Sa 23:1-7; and an account is given of his great men, famous for warlike exploits, particularly of three mighty men who did very marvellous things, 2Sa 23:8-17; and of two others next unto them, which belonged to another class of three, 2Sa 23:18-23; and then of thirty one more, 2Sa 23:24-39; who are all mentioned by name.

2 Samuel 23 Commentaries