David’s Mighty Warriors

In Chapter 23 of 2 Samuel we read the Last Words of David. Then there is a section starting in verse 8 through verse 39 which describes the mighty warriors of David. It seems odd that in the life of David there would be a section devoted to the men who followed him. These mighty warriors are divided into two categories: the Three and the Thirty.

The Three: Ishbaal, son of Hachamoni was the first of the three. Eleazar, son of Dodo the Ahohite was the second. The third was Shammah, son of Agee the Hararite. There are descriptions of their deeds in the text. These were men of the greatest strength, endurance, devotion and military prowess. How did they become the Three? Constant training in body and mind, an aptitude for their vocation, unwavering devotion to David and their God.

The Thirty is another group described. I won’t name them except to say that in the text Abishai, brother of Joab, son of Zeruiah(sister of David) was the leader of the Thirty. The text says that he did not attain to the Three. So the Three must have been so high, that only someone of immense talent, strength, loyalty and dedication could attain that position.

I have been thinking that I don’t listen to God. I spend a lot of time telling Him things, but when do I listen? I re-read this passage in 2 Samuel yesterday at the Adoration Chapel. This morning I awoke thinking about these mighty warriors. In our day we might compare them to Navy Seals, that group of Special Forces who have done such amazing things. Is reflecting on these passages a way of listening?

It occurred to me that I am called, and all Christians are called, to this special class of God’s warriors. Only some attain to the Three – the great saints, the holy martyrs. But all are called to be part of the Thirty, to be mighty warriors for Christ.

What would it take to be warriors of Christ? A life of prayer – the kind that listens as well as talks, sacrifice, penance. I have a long way to go. Lord, help me to be a warrior for you, to be your faithful servant.


10 These were the chiefs of David’s mighty warriors—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the Lord had promised—1 Chronicles

These words are from Patheos, Dillon Burroughs: Chronicles notes the lives of a small band of men whom David called his mighty warriors. These men both led Israel’s military as well as provided for his personal security. What did David value most about these men? It was not their muscles; it was their loyalty.

Readers often overlook this essential trait of the mighty men. Yes, their descriptions include killing hundreds of enemies, taking down most-warranted insurgents, and even killing a lion in a pit on a snowy day. But many men could fight; few could both fight and commit their lives to serving the king.

Still today, God seeks loyalty as one of his most important traits. The Lord has given us many skills, yet others can often accomplish the tasks we can perform. What cannot be copied is our loyalty to the Lord.

On a scale of one to ten, what level of loyalty do you have to the Lord? We all have room to grow; the goal is to live today the way you want to be remembered tomorrow.

In another post Dillon writes about completing a project he started some years ago – writing  the Bible by hand, page by page. “As I conclude this project, I ask for your prayers and encourage you to continue to invest your life in serving God and growing in his Word. When you do, he will lead you to apply it in the context that best fits how he has created you. When we all live in this way, God is honored and lives are changed. In the end, the goal is to say, “To God be the glory.” and to hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”