The unfolding story of David becoming king of Israel is packed with stories of courage, valor and amazing bravery. David’s mighty men are described in I Chronicles 11 and and II Samuel 23. These were men who were built for war and skilled in killing people. They were the special forces of Israel and knew how to take a fight to the enemy.
I Chronicles 12 describes these men as experienced warriors who were experts in using shields and spears. They had faces like those of lions and had the ability to traverse mountains like swift gazelles. The least skilled of these men could keep a 100 soldiers more then they could handle. The greatest of these warriors could do so to a 1,000.
There battle cry was, “We are yours, O David, and with you O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For your God helps you.” These mighty men prayed and hoped for peace, yet were ready to visit evil on those who would threaten their king or their country.
- I Chronicles 11:11- Jashobeam killed 300 people with a spear at one time.
- Eleazar defended a plot of ground against the enemy while the rest of his soldiers fled in fear (v.14).
- Three of David’s mighty men broke through enemy ranks to access a well and bring a bucket of water back to their parched leader, David (v.18).
- Benaiah killed hero warriors, killed a lion, and killed an Egyptian warrior that was nearly 9 feet tall. Benaiah did this by snatching the Egyptians spear out of his hand and killing him with it (v.22).
Joab was the leader of these men. He and his men were surrounded by the enemies of the Ammonites and Syrians. The situation was bleak yet he knew that his confidence did not rest in the sword alone. He recognized that his faith was more powerful than his sword. He said to his brother Abishai:
“Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” I Chronicles 19:13
The Revised Standard Version translates “let us use our strength” as “let us play the man.” I love that. These men were not utopian pacifists who sat on their haunches hoping God would vanquish their enemies by breathing fire out of the sky. Nor were they blood thirsty killers who only trusted in the edge of their sword. They were men of skill and ability who had faith in a sovereign God. That is a rare thing, but the thing
I desire to be as a cop.
David, a man who killed thousands of men, and was the king over these men wrote:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.