David’s Mighty Warriors (also known as David’s Mighty Men or the Gibborim) are a group of men in the Bible who were singled out in the Books of Samuel. The text (2Sam. 23:8-39) divides them into the “Three”, of which there are three, and “Thirty”, of which there are more than thirty. The text explicitly states there are 37 individuals in all, but it is unclear whether this refers to The Thirty, which may or may not contain The Three, or the combined total of both groups.
“The Three” are named Ishbaal, Eleazar, and Shammah. They are also mentioned in the Book of Chronicles.
Ishbaal is described as being the leader, and is said to have killed 800 men in a single encounter.
Eleazar is described as standing his ground against the Philistines at Pas Dammim when the rest of the Hebrews ran away, and as successfully defeating them.
Shammah is described as having stood his ground when the Philistines attacked a “field of ripe lentils” despite the rest of his associates dispersing, and as having defeated the attackers.
“The Thirty” are not heavily described by the text, merely listed. The individuals that are clearly identified are:
– Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem – Shammah from Arad – Helez from Beth-Palet – Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa – Abiezer from Anathoth
– a man from Hushah that was named either Mebunnai (according to the Masoretic text) or was named Sibbecai (according to the Septuagint and Chronicles)
– Zalmon, descended from Ahoah – Maharai from Netophah
– Heleb, son of Baanah from Netophah – Ithai, son of Ribai from Gibeah – Benaiah from Pirathon
– a man from the ravines of Gaash that was named Hiddai or Hurai
– Abi-Albon from Beth-Arabah – Azmaveth from Bahurim – Eliahba from Shaalbim
– the (unnamed) sons of a man that was either named Hashem and was from Gizon or was named Jashen
– Ahiam from Arad, whose father was either named Sharar or was named Sacar
– Eliphelet from Maacah, whose father was either named Ahasbai or Ur
– Eliam son of Ahithophel from Giloh – Hezro from Carmel – Zelek from Ammon
– Ira from Jattir – Gareb from Jattir – Uriah the Hittite
In addition to these, there are a few cases where an individual is named, and is then followed by a description that is unclear as to whether it refers to them, or whether it refers to an additional unnamed person.
At the end of David’s life and reign as King, it is as if he is reflecting back over his life. He reflects back over his life and the great men that God had sent his way.
In 1Samuel 22:1,2, there were 3 classes of these men who came to David in his rejection as King:
1. Those who came in Distress… they were persecuted by Saul.
2. Those who were in Debt… and about to be sold into slavery.
3. Those who were Discontented… and unhappy with what life had to offer.
Life had not been good to them.
Every one of us alive today were – or are – in the same boat. We are in distress, in a hopeless life, and with a debt we cannot pay.
Aren’t you glad that Jesus paid our debt and gave us hope in a hopeless world?
There were a lot of men in David’s army. What made these men stand out? What was it that made them different than the rest?
All of these Mighty Men had one thing in common. They loved the king. They loved him more that their own lives. They were willing to risk and to sacrifice.
God has always had his few.
I want to be one of the few – don’t you?
Are you satisfied with just being a Christian?
Wouldn’t you rather be a soldier on the front line for your Savior?
As I write this blog, it is Memorial Day weekend. We remember these Mighty Men for their bravery… and we set aside Memorial Day to remember the bravery of so many men and women who gave their lives in service to our country.
You can read the short stories of the Mighty Men of David in 2Samuel 23 & 1Chronicles 11.