2 Samuel 23

Listen to 2 Samuel 23

The Last Words of David

1 Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David, the son of Jesse, the oracle of 1the man who was raised on high, 2the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel:[a]
2 3"The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue.
3 The God of Israel has spoken; 4the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling 5in the fear of God,
4 he 6dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain[b] that makes grass to sprout from the earth
5 "For does not my house stand so with God? 7For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?
6 But worthless men[c] are all like thorns that are thrown away, for they cannot be taken with the hand;
7 but the man who touches them arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they are utterly consumed with fire."[d]

David's Mighty Men

8 8These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: 9Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the three.[e] He wielded his spear[f] against eight hundred whom he killed at one time.
9 And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of 10Dodo, son of 11Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew.
10 He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the LORD brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.
11 And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the 12Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines.
12 But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the LORD worked a great victory.
13 And three of the thirty chief men went down and came about harvest time to David at the 13cave of Adullam, when a band of Philistines was encamped 14in the Valley of Rephaim.
14 David was then 15in the stronghold, and 16the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem
15 And David said longingly, "Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!"
16 Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the LORD
17 and said, "Far be it from me, O LORD, that I should do this. Shall I drink 17the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?" Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.
18 Now Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the thirty.[g] And he wielded his spear against three hundred men[h] and killed them and won a name beside the three.
19 He was the most renowned of the thirty[i] and became their commander, but he did not attain to 18the three
20 And 19Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man[j] of 20Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two ariels[k] of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen.
21 And he struck down an Egyptian, a handsome man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but Benaiah went down to him with a staff and snatched the spear out of the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear
22 These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and won a name beside the three mighty men.
23 He was renowned among the thirty, but he did not attain to the three. And David set him over his bodyguard.
24 21Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
25 22Shammah of Harod, Elika of Harod,
26 Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh 23of Tekoa,
27 Abiezer 24of Anathoth, Mebunnai 25the Hushathite,
28 Zalmon 26the Ahohite, Maharai 27of Netophah,
29 Heleb the son of Baanah 28of Netophah, Ittai the son of Ribai of 29Gibeah of the people of Benjamin,
30 Benaiah 30of Pirathon, Hiddai of the brooks of 31Gaash,
31 Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth of 32Bahurim,
32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,
33 33Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,
34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai 34of Maacah, 35Eliam the son of 36Ahithophel of Gilo,
35 Hezro[l]37of Carmel, Paarai the Arbite,
36 Igal the son of Nathan 38of Zobah, Bani the Gadite
37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai 39of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah,
38 40Ira the 41Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite
39 42Uriah the Hittite: 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 42

  • 1. [2 Samuel 7:8, 9; Psalms 78:70, 71]
  • 2. [See 2 Samuel 22:51 above]
  • 3. [2 Peter 1:21]
  • 4. See 2 Samuel 22:2, 3, 32, 47
  • 5. Exodus 18:21; 2 Chronicles 19:7, 9
  • 6. [Judges 5:31; Proverbs 4:18; Hosea 6:5]
  • 7. 2 Samuel 7:15, 16; Psalms 89:29; Isaiah 55:3
  • 8. For ver. 8-39, see 1 Chronicles 11:11-47
  • 9. [1 Chronicles 27:2, 3]
  • 10. 1 Chronicles 27:4
  • 11. ver. 28
  • 12. ver. 33
  • 13. See 1 Samuel 22:1
  • 14. See 2 Samuel 5:18
  • 15. 1 Samuel 22:4, 5
  • 16. [1 Samuel 13:23]
  • 17. [Leviticus 17:10]
  • 18. 1 Chronicles 11:21
  • 19. 2 Samuel 8:18; 2 Samuel 20:23
  • 20. Joshua 15:21
  • 21. 2 Samuel 2:18; 1 Chronicles 27:7
  • 22. [1 Chronicles 11:27; 1 Chronicles 27:8]
  • 23. See 2 Samuel 14:2
  • 24. Joshua 21:18
  • 25. 2 Samuel 21:18
  • 26. ver. 9
  • 27. 2 Kings 25:23
  • 28. [See ver. 28 above]
  • 29. Joshua 18:28; Judges 19:14
  • 30. Judges 12:13, 15; 1 Chronicles 27:14
  • 31. Joshua 24:30; Judges 2:9
  • 32. [2 Samuel 3:16]
  • 33. ver. 11
  • 34. 2 Samuel 10:6, 8
  • 35. 2 Samuel 11:3
  • 36. 2 Samuel 15:12
  • 37. Joshua 15:55
  • 38. 2 Samuel 8:3
  • 39. 2 Samuel 4:2
  • 40. [2 Samuel 20:26]
  • 41. 1 Chronicles 2:53
  • 42. 2 Samuel 11:3, 6

Footnotes 12

  • [a]. Or the favorite of the songs of Israel
  • [b]. Hebrew from rain
  • [c]. Hebrew worthlessness
  • [d]. Hebrew consumed with fire in the sitting
  • [e]. Or of the captains
  • [f]. 1 Chronicles 11:11; the meaning of the Hebrew expression is uncertain
  • [g]. Two Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts three
  • [h]. Or slain ones
  • [i]. 1 Chronicles 11:25; Hebrew Was he the most renowned of the three?
  • [j]. Or the son of Ishhai
  • [k]. The meaning of the word ariel is unknown
  • [l]. Or Hezrai

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.