Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 23

The men whom David led before he became king

2 Samuel 23:13-14

Clearly, some of David’s best soldiers were extremely strong and powerful men. You might expect that only a very fierce king, like Saul (1 Samuel 11:6-7) could control such men. However, David’s character was completely different. He was kind and gentle, and he genuinely cared for people. So, we need to understand the kind of relationship that he had with his soldiers.

When Saul was still king, he tried to kill David. David had to hide from him. He camped in various places, including the cave at Adullam. In that region, there is a huge cave with just a small entrance. It is about 12 miles (20 kilometres) from David’s home at Bethlehem.

At this time, about 400 men made the decision to join David. They joined him because they, too, had troubles in Israel. For example, many of them could not pay their debts (1 Samuel 22:1-2). David became their leader and he taught them to fight for him. Until he became king, they worked as private guards (1 Samuel 25:16). Afterwards, they became his best soldiers.

During all the years that Saul was king, there were constant wars between Israel and Philistia (1 Samuel 14:52). On this occasion, Philistia’s army had entered Israel. They were camping in Rephaim, a valley near Jerusalem. They had taken control of Bethlehem, the town from which David’s family came. That fact upset David very much. It was uncomfortable to live in a cave, and now an enemy army had taken possession of his own town. He felt desperate – and the eager, young men with him were anxious to find a way to help him.

Next part: David desires water from Bethlehem (2 Samuel 23:15)


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