Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 23

The three bravest men in David’s army

2 Samuel 23:8-12

There is next a list of some of the bravest men in Israel’s army. The same list, with some more names, appears in 1 Chronicles 11:10-47. Unfortunately, the unfamiliar names made the passages difficult to copy in the many centuries before people could print books. That may be the reason for some of the differences between these passages. However, other explanations are possible, for example, some of the men may have had two or more names.

Many of these men supported David before he became king. They helped him to become king (1 Chronicles 11:10) and they became important leaders in his army (1 Chronicles 27:1-15). Probably, they fought for him for their whole lives afterwards; and they became famous in Israel. By their wars, they defeated evil governments across the region. They brought peace both to Israel and to the surrounding countries.

The first list is of a group of men called ‘The Three’. They were the greatest heroes in Israel’s army. Each of them had fought and won a battle without anyone else to support him. That was like the great things that Samson had achieved in his battles (Judges chapters 14 to 16).

We may ask how they achieved such great things. The answer twice appears in 2 Samuel 23:10-12: it was God who brought success to Israel. Probably, these men were so brave because they trusted God to fight for them. David too showed that attitude in 1 Samuel 17:26. He was not afraid of the fiercest enemy because Israel is God’s special nation. God was on Israel’s side in these battles – his people simply needed to trust him (1 Samuel 17:45-47).

Next part: The men whom David led before he became king (2 Samuel 23:13-14)


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© 2023, Keith Simons.