David Becomes King of All Israel
11 Then all Israel gathered before David at Hebron and told him, “We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past,[a] even when Saul was king, you were the one who really led the forces of Israel. And the Lord your God told you, ‘You will be the shepherd of my people Israel. You will be the leader of my people Israel.’”
3 So there at Hebron, David made a covenant before the Lord with all the elders of Israel. And they anointed him king of Israel, just as the Lord had promised through Samuel.
David Captures Jerusalem
4 Then David and all Israel went to Jerusalem (or Jebus, as it used to be called), where the Jebusites, the original inhabitants of the land, were living. 5 The people of Jebus taunted David, saying, “You’ll never get in here!” But David captured the fortress of Zion, which is now called the City of David.
6 David had said to his troops, “Whoever is first to attack the Jebusites will become the commander of my armies!” And Joab, the son of David’s sister Zeruiah, was first to attack, so he became the commander of David’s armies.
7 David made the fortress his home, and that is why it is called the City of David. 8 He extended the city from the supporting terraces[b] to the surrounding area, while Joab rebuilt the rest of Jerusalem. 9 And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was with him.
David’s Mightiest Warriors
10 These are the leaders of David’s mighty warriors. Together with all Israel, they decided to make David their king, just as the Lord had promised concerning Israel.
11 Here is the record of David’s mightiest warriors: The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite, who was leader of the Three—the mightiest warriors among David’s men.[c] He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle.
12 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai,[d] a descendant of Ahoah. 13 He was with David when the Philistines gathered for battle at Pas-dammim and attacked the Israelites in a field full of barley. The Israelite army fled, 14 but Eleazar and David[e] held their ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord saved them by giving them a great victory.
15 Once when David was at the rock near the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. 16 David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.
17 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 18 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But David refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. 19 “God forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men[f] who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.
David’s Thirty Mighty Men
20 Abishai, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty.[g] He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three. 21 Abishai was the most famous of the Thirty and was their commander, though he was not one of the Three.
22 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions[h] of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 23 Once, armed only with a club, he killed an Egyptian warrior who was 7 1⁄2 feet[i] tall and who was armed with a spear as thick as a weaver’s beam. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. 24 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the three mightiest warriors. 25 He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard.
26 David’s mighty warriors also included:
Asahel, Joab’s brother;
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem;
27 Shammah from Harod;[j]
Helez from Pelon;
28 Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa;
Abiezer from Anathoth;
29 Sibbecai from Hushah;
Zalmon[k] from Ahoah;
30 Maharai from Netophah;
Heled son of Baanah from Netophah;
31 Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah (in the land of Benjamin);
Benaiah from Pirathon;
32 Hurai from near Nahale-gaash[l];
Abi-albon[m] from Arabah;
33 Azmaveth from Bahurim[n];
Eliahba from Shaalbon;
34 the sons of Jashen[o] from Gizon;
Jonathan son of Shagee from Harar;
35 Ahiam son of Sharar[p] from Harar;
Eliphal son of Ur;
36 Hepher from Mekerah;
Ahijah from Pelon;
37 Hezro from Carmel;
Paarai[q] son of Ezbai;
38 Joel, the brother of Nathan;
Mibhar son of Hagri;
39 Zelek from Ammon;
Naharai from Beeroth, the armor bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah;
40 Ira from Jattir;
Gareb from Jattir;
41 Uriah the Hittite;
Zabad son of Ahlai;
42 Adina son of Shiza, the Reubenite leader who had thirty men with him;
43 Hanan son of Maacah;
Joshaphat from Mithna;
44 Uzzia from Ashtaroth;
Shama and Jeiel, the sons of Hotham, from Aroer;
45 Jediael son of Shimri;
Joha, his brother, from Tiz;
46 Eliel from Mahavah;
Jeribai and Joshaviah, the sons of Elnaam;
Ithmah from Moab;
47 Eliel and Obed;
Jaasiel from Zobah.[r]
Warriors Join David’s Army
12 The following men joined David at Ziklag while he was hiding from Saul son of Kish. They were among the warriors who fought beside David in battle. 2 All of them were expert archers, and they could shoot arrows or sling stones with their left hand as well as their right. They were all relatives of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin. 3 Their leader was Ahiezer son of Shemaah from Gibeah; his brother Joash was second-in-command. These were the other warriors:
Jeziel and Pelet, sons of Azmaveth;
Jehu from Anathoth;
4 Ishmaiah from Gibeon, a famous warrior and leader among the Thirty;
[s]Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, and Jozabad from Gederah;
5 Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, and Shephatiah from Haruph;
6 Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, and Jashobeam, who were Korahites;
7 Joelah and Zebadiah, sons of Jeroham from Gedor.
8 Some brave and experienced warriors from the tribe of Gad also defected to David while he was at the stronghold in the wilderness. They were expert with both shield and spear, as fierce as lions and as swift as deer on the mountains.
9 Ezer was their leader.
Obadiah was second.
Eliab was third.
10 Mishmannah was fourth.
Jeremiah was fifth.
11 Attai was sixth.
Eliel was seventh.
12 Johanan was eighth.
Elzabad was ninth.
13 Jeremiah was tenth.
Macbannai was eleventh.
14 These warriors from Gad were army commanders. The weakest among them could take on a hundred regular troops, and the strongest could take on a thousand! 15 These were the men who crossed the Jordan River during its seasonal flooding at the beginning of the year and drove out all the people living in the lowlands on both the east and west banks.
16 Others from Benjamin and Judah came to David at the stronghold. 17 David went out to meet them and said, “If you have come in peace to help me, we are friends. But if you have come to betray me to my enemies when I am innocent, then may the God of our ancestors see it and punish you.”
18 Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, the leader of the Thirty, and he said,
“We are yours, David!
We are on your side, son of Jesse.
Peace and prosperity be with you,
and success to all who help you,
for your God is the one who helps you.”
So David let them join him, and he made them officers over his troops.
- 11:2 Or For some time.
- 11:8 Hebrew the millo. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
- 11:11 As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 2 Sam 23:8); Hebrew reads leader of the Thirty, or leader of the captains.
- 11:12 As in parallel text at 2 Sam 23:9 (see also 1 Chr 27:4); Hebrew reads Dodo, a variant spelling of Dodai.
- 11:14 Hebrew they.
- 11:19 Hebrew Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men?
- 11:20 As in Syriac version; Hebrew reads the Three; also in 11:21.
- 11:22 Or two sons of Ariel.
- 11:23 Hebrew 5 cubits [2.3 meters].
- 11:27 As in parallel text at 2 Sam 23:25; Hebrew reads Shammoth from Haror.
- 11:29 As in parallel text at 2 Sam 23:28; Hebrew reads Ilai.
- 11:32a Or from the ravines of Gaash.
- 11:32b As in parallel text at 2 Sam 23:31; Hebrew reads Abiel.
- 11:33 As in parallel text at 2 Sam 23:31; Hebrew reads Baharum.
- 11:34 As in parallel text at 2 Sam 23:32; Hebrew reads sons of Hashem.
- 11:35 As in parallel text at 2 Sam 23:33; Hebrew reads son of Sacar.
- 11:37 As in parallel text at 2 Sam 23:35; Hebrew reads Naarai.
- 11:47 Or the Mezobaite.
- 12:4 Verses 12:4b-40 are numbered 12:5-41 in Hebrew text.