2 Samuel 23
Contemporary English Version

David's Last Words

1These are the last words of David the son of Jesse.

The God of Jacob chose David

and made him a great king.

The Mighty God of Israel

loved him.+

When God told him to speak,

David said:

2The Spirit of the Lord

has told me what to say.

3Our Mighty Rock,+

the God of Jacob, told me,

“A ruler who obeys God

and does right

4is like the sunrise

on a cloudless day,

or like rain that sparkles

on the grass.”+

5I have ruled this way,

and God will never break

his promise to me.

God's promise is complete

and unchanging;

he will always help me

and give me what I hope for.

6But evil people are pulled up

like thornbushes.

They are not dug up by hand,

7but with a sharp spear

and are burned on the spot.

The Three Warriors

(1 Chronicles 11.10-19)

8These are the names of David's warriors:

Ishbosheth+ the son of Hachmon+ was the leader of the Three Warriors.+ In one battle, he killed 800 men with his spear.+

9The next one of the Three Warriors was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite. One time when the Philistines were at war with Israel, he and David dared the Philistines to fight them. Every one of the Israelite soldiers turned and ran, 10except Eleazar. He killed Philistines until his hand was cramped, and he couldn't let go of his sword. When Eleazar finished, all the Israelite troops had to do was come back and take the enemies' weapons and armor. The Lord gave Israel a great victory that day.

11Next was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. One time the Philistines brought their army together to destroy a crop of peas growing in a field near Lehi. The rest of Israel's soldiers ran away from the Philistines, 12but Shammah stood in the middle of the field and killed the Philistines. The crops were saved, and the Lord gave Israel a great victory.

13One year at harvest time, the Three Warriors+ went to meet David at Adullam Cave.+ The Philistine army had set up camp in Rephaim Valley 14and had taken over Bethlehem. David was in his fortress, 15and he was very thirsty. He said, “I wish I had a drink from the well by the gate at Bethlehem.”

16The Three Warriors+ sneaked into the Philistine camp and got some water from the well near Bethlehem's gate. But after they brought the water back to David, he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as a sacrifice 17and said to the Lord, “I can't drink this water! It's like the blood of these men who risked their lives to get it for me.”

The Three Warriors did these brave deeds.

The Thirty Warriors

(1 Chronicles 11.20-47)

18Joab's brother Abishai was the leader of the Thirty Warriors,+ and in one battle he killed 300 men with his spear. He was as famous as the Three Warriors 19and certainly just as famous as the rest of the Thirty Warriors. He was the commander of the Thirty Warriors, but he still did not become one of the Three Warriors.

20Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a brave man from Kabzeel who did some amazing things. He killed two of Moab's best fighters,+ and on a snowy day he went down into a pit and killed a lion. 21Another time, he killed an Egyptian, as big as a giant.+ The Egyptian was armed with a spear, but Benaiah only had a club. Benaiah grabbed the spear from the Egyptian and killed him with it. 22-23Benaiah did these things. He never became one of the Three Warriors, but he was just as famous as they were and certainly just as famous as the rest of the Thirty Warriors. David made him the leader of his bodyguard.

24-39Some of the Thirty Warriors were:

Asahel the brother of Joab

Elhanan the son of Dodo from Bethlehem

Shammah from Harod

Elika from Harod

Helez the Paltite

Ira the son of Ikkesh from Tekoa

Abiezer from Anathoth

Mebunnai+ the Hushathite

Zalmon the Ahohite

Maharai from Netophah

Heleb the son of Baanah from Netophah

Ittai the son of Ribai from Gibeah of the tribe of Benjamin

Benaiah from Pirathon

Hiddai from the streams on Mount Gaash

Abialbon from Beth-Arabah

Azmaveth from Bahurim+

Eliahba from Shaalbon


Jonathan the son of Shammah the Hararite+

Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite

Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai from Maacah

Eliam the son of Ahithophel from Gilo

Hezro from Carmel

Paarai the Arbite

Igal the son of Nathan from Zobah

Bani the Gadite

Zelek from Ammon

Naharai from Beeroth, who carried the weapons of Joab the son of Zeruiah

Ira the Ithrite

Gareb the Ithrite

Uriah the Hittite

There were 37 in all.


23.1 The Mighty … him: Or “He wrote Israel's favorite songs.”
23.3 Mighty Rock: See the note at 22.2.
23.4 sparkles … grass: Or “makes the grass grow.”
23.8 Ishbosheth: Hebrew “Josheb Bashebeth,” which seems to be another spelling of Ishbosheth. See the note at 2.8, although this is a different Ishbosheth.
23.8 the son of Hachmon: Or “the Tahchemonite” (see 1 Chronicles 11.11).
23.8 the Three Warriors: The most honored group of warriors. They may have been part of the Thirty Warriors. “Three” and “thirty” are spelled almost the same in Hebrew, so there is some confusion in the manuscripts as to which group is being talked about in some places in the following lists.
23.8 with … spear: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text (see 1 Chronicles 11.11).
23.13 the Three Warriors: Or “three warriors.” Hebrew “three of the thirty most important.”
23.13 Adullam Cave: This may have happened during the time that David was an outlaw (see 1 Samuel 22.1-6).
23.16 the Three Warriors: Or “three warriors.”
23.18 the Thirty Warriors: The second most honored group of warriors. They may have also been officers in the army (see the note at 23.8).
23.20 Moab's best fighters: Or “big lions in Moab;” one ancient translation “sons of Ariel from Moab.”
23.21 Egyptian … giant: First Chronicles 11.23; in this verse the Hebrew text has “good-looking Egyptian.”
23.24-39 Mebunnai: Or “Sibbecai” (see 1 Chronicles 11.26-47).
23.24-39 Bahurim: Or “Barhum.”
23.24-39 Jashen: Hebrew “sons of Jashen.”
23.24-39 Jonathan … Hararite: Some manuscripts of one ancient translation (see 1 Chronicles 11.26-47). In the Hebrew text Jonathan and Shammah are separate members of the list.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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