David’s mighty men are introduced to us by name and reputation. We get a glimpse at some of their feats. MANY more deeds were done by them than what we see today.
In David’s forces that followed him from the time he fled from Saul until his dying days, there was a core group of men. Many of them made it the whole time but others died along the way and were replaced by others. These men were used mightily by God to give David victory, even in the midst of insurmountable odds.
These men put David’s life above their own and would have done anything they could to protect him from harm. They also cared about his happiness as is clear in the story about David wanting water from the well in Bethlehem. This story also proves that David valued their lives above his own wants and needs; mostly.
One of David’s mighty men was murdered on the order of David. That was Uriah the Hittite. At that point in time, David’s “wants” outweighed Uriah’s life, from David’s point of view. Joab, the commander of David’s army orchestrated his death.
I would love to know more about the battles described here in the list of David’s men’s feats. Not because I doubt any of the information provided but I would like to know the ‘backstory’ of them. I would also love to know the backstory of these men! Who were they before they joined David? Why did they join David? Were they always faithful or did they struggle at first? What happened to them after David became king?
Of all the men David had, three were closest to him but I don’t recall seeing their names nearly as much as Joab or Abishai. Were these three given distinction because of the story about the water? Did this make them closest to David’s heart? Or were their fame and preeminence established well before that day?
Their names were Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, Eleazar the son of Dodo, and Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. (That is a mouthful!) I find it interesting that Abashai was their commander but he didn’t rise to the ranks of their fame.
Did you notice that Joab is not listed as one of David’s mighty men? His name appears a couple times but it is in relation to one of his relatives who was one of David’s mighty men. I wonder why Joab didn’t receive this title? Was he originally considered one but lost that title after his murder of Abner and later on Amasa? I know that by the end of David’s life he knows that Joab needs to die for his sins. While on his deathbed, David tells Solomon to have Joab pay for those sins with his life.
Is it possible that David’s men didn’t get their ‘title’ until the stories were finally told? Maybe they didn’t consider themselves “mighty men” during their lifetimes. Maybe they saw themselves as just doing what was necessary. They went where they were told, they fought when confronted, and did whatever they saw needed doing. Did they know of their ‘title’? Mighty ‘humble’ men.
Were they humble? We don’t see stories of them tooting their own horns. We see instead men going about the business of protecting their families and their leader. Were any of them ready to stone David at Ziklag when they found it sacked in their absence? Or were they standing by his side while others made these threats? Did any of these mighty men stay with the 200 who were too tired to go on? Here I am longing for backstory again.
I’m reminded of a time in my life when people told me how “brave” I was. I didn’t see what I was doing as brave, only what had to be done. I was a newly single mother of four who refused to sit down and let others take care of me and my kids. I went back to school and earned a degree so I could provide for my children. I could say “I did the alone” but I didn’t. My children helped by being my moral support and by behaving. My oldest even helped watch the younger children when I had classes later in the day. I also received government assistance in the form of housing and money for food. And my family was always available by phone whenever I needed a shoulder to cry on. It was NOT easy but it was the only option I saw available, and I took it.
I’m NOT comparing my story to David’s men’s but is this how they wound up in the role they had? They saw no other option than to ‘just do it’? Maybe that is what bravery is. Seeing something that needs doing and doing it with all your heart. Seeing the situations’ possibilities instead of impossibilities. Being like Eleazar who stood his ground when all the men of Israel ran away. Or Shammah who planted his foot in the middle of a plot of land and refused to go down.
ALL these men had something else in common. God fought on their side. He didn’t make their battles easy or keep them from growing weary. But He used them where they were. They took a stand and He kept watch. I’m certain there were times He gave them supernatural strength or stamina in the moment but He couldn’t have done any of that if they had refused to stand in the first place.
I KNOW He did he same for me on MORE than one occasion. Favor with scholarship committees is just the first among a long list. And I KNOW He still has my back today. Nights where I am up so many times that sleep was non-existent but I still function the next day. THAT is a blessing I am VERY grateful for.
He will do the same for you! Trust Him to ‘have your back’ when you have to take a stand. But be certain that what you are standing for is something He approves of. He will NOT protect you if you are standing in sin.
Father God, thank You for all the times You held me up when I felt I was crumbling. Even when I did crumble, You put the pieces back together again. THANK YOU! Thank You that I can always run to You when things get too hard. I’m SO GLAD I can come to You even with the easy things. You are always there to welcome me, Your child. Remember, this ‘warrior’ really is a child.