VERY GALLANT GENTLEMEN
I still my heart, Lord, and ask now that you would make me aware of your presence. You are always with me, but there are many times in the day when I feel far away from you. I turn to you now.
Read 2 SAMUEL 23:8-23
David’s Mighty Warriors
8 These are the names of David’s mighty warriors:
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.
- 2 Samuel 23:8 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts suggest Ish-Bosheth, that is, Esh-Baal (see also 1 Chron. 11:11 Jashobeam).
- 2 Samuel 23:8 Probably a variant of Hakmonite (see 1 Chron. 11:11)
- 2 Samuel 23:8 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
- 2 Samuel 23:9 See 1 Chron. 11:13; Hebrew gathered there.
- 2 Samuel 23:18 Most Hebrew manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:20); two Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac Thirty
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectSparrows appear to be quite ordinary little birds, yet not even one is forgotten by God.
On June 15, 1910, the SS Terra Nova left Cardiff docks as the crew embarked on their ill-fated expedition to Antarctica. Under the leadership of Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1868–1912), they hoped to be the first to set foot on the South Pole, but it turned out to be a doomed endeavor.
In a lake in one of Cardiff’s loveliest public parks, there stands a lighthouse commemorating this voyage. In an inscription remembering the small crew, it concludes by saying, ‘Britons all, and very gallant gentlemen.’ None returned and all perished, and so, every time I visit this place, I am grateful that they have been named and are remembered.
Today’s reading serves a similar function. These are David’s friends and colleagues who risked their lives for him, and we remember them thousands of years later. There are many such lists in the Bible: genealogies, accounts of military success, or names that mark the slow trudge of history. It’s a reminder that no one is nameless or faceless before God.
If you were to draw up a list of the most significant people to have influenced you throughout your life, who would they be? Name them before God and give thanks for them.
Gracious God, thank you for your gift, the body of Christ. Thank you for the integral parts we play in each other’s lives, to inspire and to encourage our walk with you and our service to the world around us.
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