Chapter 23

A Bit Premature

  • Even though David isn't dead yet (and won't die until the beginning of 1 Kings), this chapter begins with David's last words.
  • The actual "last words" begin by saying that they're the last words of David, God's favorite.
  • David says that the spirit of God speaks through him, saying that a ruler who rules his people justly is like sunlight in the morning, or like a sun in a cloudless sky, its light gleaming off of the recently fallen rain on the land.
  • He asks rhetorically if his house isn't a bit like this ideal image of just rulership. In the end, he says, godless people are like so many thorns that are picked up with a spear and then burned.

Roll Call

  • The rest of the chapter proceeds with a long list of all David's best warriors.
  • These include Josheb Basshebeth, who once killed eight hundred men at one time. He was the head of a unit of three elite warriors, including Eleazar son of Dodo—who fought ferociously against the Philistines—and Shamah, who also fought against the Philistines successfully.
  • The three warriors did bold things, like sneaking behind enemy lines to get a drink for David—which he was too embarrassed to drink, and so offered it to God.
  • Abishai, says the narrator, was a great warrior—though not quite equal to the Three.
  • Another warrior, Benaiah, accomplished amazing feats, like killing a ferocious lion and a fearsome Egyptian. He later was the head of David's bodyguard.

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