Old Testament

2 Samuel 23
The Last Words of David
231These are the last words of David,
the oracle[] of David, the son of Jesse,
the oracle of the man raised up high,
the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
the pleasant singer of Israel's songs.
2The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me.
His word is on my tongue.
3The God of Israel has spoken.
To me the Rock of Israel has said,
“The one who rules over people with righteousness,
who rules in the fear of God,
4he is like the light of the morning when the sun rises,
like a morning without clouds,
like brightness after rain, which produces grass from the earth.”
5But my house is not like this with God.[]
Nevertheless, he has made an everlasting covenant with me,
completely ordered and secure.
Certainly he will make it spring up for my salvation, to fulfill my desires.[]
6Worthless, wicked men are all like thorns to be thrown away.
No one even picks them up with his hand.
7Anyone who touches them uses an iron tool or the shaft of a spear.
They are completely burned up in the fire, right where they are.
David's Elite Warriors
8These are the names of the elite warriors[] of David:
Jashobeam[] son of Hakmon was leader among the Three.[] He lifted up his spear and killed eight hundred[] at once.[]
9After him came Eleazar son of Dodo, the Ahohite. As one of the three elite warriors, he was with David when they defied the Philistines gathered there[] for battle. The men of Israel retreated, 10but he took a stand and struck down the Philistines until his hand got tired and froze to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory on that day. The people of the army returned to Eleazar but only to strip the fallen.
11After him came Shamma son of Agee, the Hararite. The Philistines were gathered at Lehi. In that location there was a parcel of land full of lentils. The people fled from the Philistines, 12but Shamma took his stand in the middle of that parcel of ground and defended it. He struck down the Philistines, and the Lord brought about a great victory.
13Three of the Thirty went down and came to David at the Cave of Adullam at the time of the grain harvest. A band of Philistines was camping in the Valley of Rephaim. 14David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was in Bethlehem. 15David expressed a deep craving, “Who will give me water to drink from the well[] of Bethlehem, which is by the gate?” 16So the three elite warriors broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate. They took it and brought it to David, but he was not willing to drink it, so he poured it out to the Lord. 17He said, “May I be cursed, Lord, if I would do this. This is the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives!” He would not drink it. These are the things the three elite warriors did.
18Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was the leader of the Thirty.[] He wielded his spear against three hundred, all of whom were killed. His reputation equaled that[] of the Three. 19In fact, he was praised more than the Three, and he became their commander, but he did not belong to the Three.
20Benaiah son of Jehoiada, an energetic warrior from Kabze'el, performed great deeds. He struck the two Lions of God[] from Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a cistern on a snowy day. 21He killed an impressive Egyptian, who was armed with a spear. Benaiah went down against him with a staff, snatched the spear from the hand of the Egyptian, and killed him with his own spear. 22These were the accomplishments of Benaiah son of Jehoiada. His reputation equaled that of the Three. 23He was praised more than the Thirty, but he did not belong the Three. David placed him over his bodyguard.
24Among the Thirty were:
Asahel, the brother of Joab,
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem,
25Shammah the Harodite,[]
Elika the Harodite,
26Helez the Paltite,[]
Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa,
27Abiezer from Anathoth,
Mebunnai[] the Hushathite,
28Zalmon[] the Ahohite,
Maharai the Netophathite,
29Heleb[] son of Ba'anah the Netophathite,
Ittai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin,
30Benaiah a Pirathonite,
Hiddai[] from the ravines of Ga'ash,
31Abi-Albon[] the Arbathite,
Azmaveth the Barhumite,
32Eliahba the Sha'albonite,
the sons of Jashen,[]
Jehonathan, 33Shammah the Hararite,
Ahiam son of Sharar[] the Ararite,
34Eliphelet son of Ahasbai[]
the son of the Ma'akathite,[]
Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,[]
35Hezro the Carmelite,
Pa'arai the Arbite,[]
36Igal son of Nathan from Zobah,
Bani the Gadite,[]
37Zelek the Ammonite,
Naharai of Be'eroth, the armor bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah,
38Ira the Ithrite,
Gareb the Ithrite,
39Uriah the Hittite.
In all there were thirty-seven.


  • 23:1 Or declaration
  • 23:5 Many translations convert this line to a question: Isn't my house like this with God? It seems best to leave it as a confession of the unworthiness of David and his dynasty.
  • 23:5 The verse is difficult.
  • 23:8 This list is parallel to a list of the elite warriors found in 1 Chronicles 11. There are, however, numerous differences. Some of these appear to simply be variants of the same name, like the English Richard, Rich, Rick, and Dick. Some may be copying variants. The footnotes do not attempt to document every variant, just a representative sample of the most significant variants. It appears that the two lists may be from different points of David's career.
  • 23:8 Greek variant Ishbaal
  • 23:8 Or the Thirty or the officers
  • 23:8 The parallel text in 1 Chronicles 11:11 reads three hundred.
  • 23:8 The translation of this verse follows the example of Luther, who harmonized the text of 2 Samuel 23 with the parallel in 1 Chronicles 11. The Hebrew of 2 Samuel 23 seems to read: the one sitting in the seat (Yosheb-basshebeth), the Tahchemonite, the head of the Three. It was Adino the Eznite against eight hundred pierced through at one time.
  • 23:9 The parallel in 1 Chronicles 11:13 identifies the location as Pas Dammim.
  • 23:15 Or cistern
  • 23:18 Variant the Three
  • 23:18 Or was highly regarded among
  • 23:20 The Hebrew word ariel seems to be made up of two words, lion and God. It seems to refer to some type of elite warriors, analogous to Navy Seals.
  • 23:25 Variant Harorite. In Hebrew script the letters r and d look very much alike.
  • 23:26 Variant the Pelonite. The relationship between Paltite and Pelonite is unclear, but Helez the Pelonite also appears in 1 Chronicles 27:10.
  • 23:27 Elsewhere called Sibbekai or Sibunni. All these words look very similar in Hebrew script. The reading Sibbekai the Hushathite is supported by 1 Chronicles 27:11.
  • 23:28 Also called Ilai in 1 Chronicles 11:29. The relationship of the names Zalmon and Ilai is unclear.
  • 23:29 Also called Heled in 1 Chronicles 11:30
  • 23:30 Also called Hurai in 1 Chronicles 11:32. The words look similar in Hebrew script.
  • 23:31 Also called Abiel in 1 Chronicles 11:32. The relationship of Abiel and Abi-Albon is unclear.
  • 23:32 There may be some personal names missing from this line, unless they are on the next line. The parallel text in 1 Chronicles does not solve the problem. The relationship of the sons of Jashen and the sons of Hashem the Gizonite in 1 Chronicles is unclear. Some have suggested that sons of should be omitted in both cases, leaving two names, Jashen and Hashem the Gizonite. An alternative would be to supply names before sons of. The same problem is present in the comparison of Jehonathan Shammah the Hararite with Jonathan son of Shagee the Hararite in 1 Chronicles 11. It is uncertain if this is one name or two.
  • 23:33 Or Sakar in 1 Chronicles 11:35
  • 23:34 The parallel in 1 Chronicles 11:35 reads Eliphal son of Ur. It is unclear why the patronymics (father's names) are so different.
  • 23:34 There seems to be a name omitted from the list here. The parallel in 1 Chronicles 11:36 reads Hepher the Mekerathite.
  • 23:34 The parallel in 1 Chronicles 11:36 has a different name here, Ahijah the Pelonite.
  • 23:35 The parallel in 1 Chronicles 11:37 reads Na'arai son of Ezbai. The names look similar in Hebrew script.
  • 23:36 The parallel in 1 Chronicles 11:38 reads Mibhar son of Hagri.