Summary: What made David’s men so mighty? They were Close, Committed, and Courageous! Let’s learn from their example.

The Mighty Men

by Scott R. Bayles, preacher

Church of Christ

Scripture Reading:

The pages of the Old Testament contain some of the most amazing stories you’ll ever read anywhere. Many of those stories revolve around a young shepherd boy who grew up to become King. David was, perhaps, the greatest king Israel would ever know, but he didn’t become great all on his own. Of course, he depended upon God, but he also relied on at least thirty special soldiers for much of his military might. They were known as David’s Mighty Men. And they, themselves, had accomplished some amazing feats.

The three Mighty Men that formed David’s inner circle were Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah. Jashobeam was chief of the captains in David’s army and was famous for slaying eight hundred enemy soldiers "at one time." How he accomplished this feat isn’t disclosed, but that he did speaks volumes of his heroism.

Shammah was also used of the Lord to bring victory. He risked his life to defend a field of lentils and barely. Why would he do that? Because the land belonged to the Lord and was given to Israel to use to His glory. Shammah didn’t want the Philistines to control what belong to the Lord. To defend the land meant to honor God and His covenant.

Eleazar was from the tribe of Benjamin and fought side by side with David against the Philistines. While the rest of the Israelite army was retreating, he and David alone stood their ground. The Bible says that Eleazar fought until his sword was "welded" to his hand. The Lord honored the faith and courage of Eleazar and David by giving them a great victory. It was two men against an entire battalion, yet they were triumphant.

Obviously, it took a very special person to be one of David’s Mighty Men. And yet, today, God wants each one of us to be mighty in His kingdom. This evening I’d like to read a story about three of David’s Mighty Men--three unnamed soldiers--and discover what we can learn from their example of heroism.

2 Samuel 23:13-17 (NASB-u)

Then three of the thirty chief men went down and came to David in the harvest time to the cave of Adullam, while the troop of the Philistines was camping in the valley of Rephaim. [14] David was then in the stronghold, while the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. [15] David had a craving and said, "Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate!" [16] So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem which was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord; [17] and he said, "Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?" Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.

It’s easy to see why these men were known as David’s Mighty Men, isn’t it? But I don’t think they were chosen by David or renowned throughout Israel simply because of their physical might or their prowess with a blade. In Shammah’s case it was his loyalty to God that caused him to risk his life in defense of a barely field. What makes Eleazar’s story so powerful is that he stood his ground beside his king. He was both loyal and brave.

The same can be said of these three men, as well as soldiers of Christ today! So what can we learn from these heroic men? What was it that made them so mighty? What is it that makes a person mighty in God’s kingdom today? Well, first of all, the were mighty because they were...


They were close enough to hear David’s whispered words: [15] David had a craving and said, "Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate!"

The fact that David was hiding in a cave near Bethlehem suggests that this event took place shortly after he was made king in Hebron and the Philistines attacked him (2 Sam. 5:17). It was harvest time, which meant there had been no rain and the cisterns were empty. No water was available in the cave, and David thirsted for the water from the well at Bethlehem that he used to drink from when he was a boy. The text suggests that David spoke to himself about the water and never issued any orders on the matter, but these three men were close enough to David to hear his whispers and know his desires.

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