Summary: No matter what situation or circumstance one finds oneself in prove loyal and triumph by being loyal to one’s God and one’s country!


“Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter…” (2 Samuel 23: 20).

In the Old Testament record, the name Benaiah belongs to at least a dozen men, but the most fascinating of all that are mentioned is this Benaiah. He was born a priest (1 Chronicles 27: 5) but became a soldier. He began his military career as one of David’s mighty men (2 Samuel 23: 20 –23) and was put in-charge of David’s personal bodyguard. We might wonder why a priest would become a soldier. We know that priests and Levites were not exempt from military service (1 Chronicles 12: 26), so why would a priest give up the relatively safe and easy life as a priest and choose the dangerous life of a soldier? Benaiah was no ordinary soldier! His courage and skilled as a soldier were second to none and his exploits are before us in the recorded history of the emerging nation of Israel.

• He struck down two of Moab’s best men.

• He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.

• He struck down a huge Egyptian and 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.

Because of his bravery, he was honoured amongst his peers. He was honoured too by David by being included in his listed of thirty might men in the nation. Eventually, Benaiah became the head of David’s son Solomon’s army (1 Kings 2: 35). Priest to General, what a transition! From seeming obscurity as a priest, Benaiah takes a prominent place and role in the national security of the fledgling nation. The great theologian, Frank Boreham writes concerning Benaiah, “He met the worst of enemies, in the worst of places, under the worst of conditions; and he won.” Just imagine for a moment, being in a pit with a lion with the icy cold snow falling and killing the beast. Boreham is right - Benaiah found himself in the worst of situations but triumphed.

Just maybe, there is a connection between Benaiah the priest and Benaiah the soldier. The priestly duties included the instruction of the people concerning sanitary and medicinal care for their welfare, and assist in the religious services of the people of God. Benaiah is a good man, first of all, a servant of his God, and then servant of his king. Benaiah is not only a servant, but he is a loyal servant for his God and his King. When he becomes General under Solomon he liquidates those who are disloyal in the nation.

What does Benaiah teach us?

No matter what situation or circumstance he finds himself in he proves loyal and that is why he triumphs! Loyalty to one’s God and one’s country!

Loyalty can be described as dependability, trustworthiness, faithfulness, steadfast and allegiance, reliability and so on. Paul writing to the Christians at Corinth says, “Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that the labour in the Lord in not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15: 58).

We might not be called on to face ferocious men and beasts like Benaiah, and I for one would not like to be in a pit when it was snowing with a lion, but we are called to be steadfast, immoveable in our work for him.

Benaiah as both priest and soldier blends together two roles. Peter the apostle spoke about the priesthood or all believers (1 Peter 2: 5, 9), and Paul challenged Timothy to be a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2: 3). The role of priest and soldier to not seem to be in opposition in the Christian context, in fact, they are in accord with one another. Benaiah challenges us to emulate him.

What a man! A mighty man in Israel!

May we be mighty men and women of God!

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James Stark

commented on Oct 3, 2007

Excellent message, much more could be done with Benaiah. Read the book, "In A Pit With A Lion" by Mark Batterson. An excellent video to support this message would be "Facing The Giants" football clip where the coach challenges the captain of the team to give "Your very best!" Powerful! I am going to dig deeper on Benaiah.

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