Those who have ventured themselves for the good of the public are worthy of double honor,
both to be respected by their fellow citizens and to be remembered by their posterity.
Though our deeds be not recorded by men, they are recorded in heaven.
II Samuel 1
1 Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,
2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
4 And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
5 Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.
6 ¶ But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:
7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.
8 ¶ These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.
9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:
10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.
11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.
12 But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.
13 And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.
14 And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Beth-lehem.
15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Beth-lehem, which is by the gate!
16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Beth-lehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.
17 And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.
18 And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.
19 Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.
20 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:
21 And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.
22 These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.
23 He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.
24 Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Beth-lehem,
25 Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,
26 Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,
27 Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,
28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,
29 Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,
30 Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,
31 Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,
32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,
33 Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,
34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
35 Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,
36 Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,
37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah,
38 Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,
39 Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.
II Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Samuel 23:1-7 – David’s Last Song
Let us place our lips at God’s disposal, that He may speak by them, and let His words be on our tongues. God’s love is to our souls like morning light. It stole over our hearts in childhood so gently that we did not know when first it came. The happy experiences of those pure and holy years were like the grass-blades that glisten across the lawns soaked in dew. “Thou hast the dew of thy youth” (Psalm 110:3).
When our heart is breaking with domestic or public anxiety, what a comfort it is to look away to the Covenant, ordered in all things and sure. Sometimes, indeed, God’s purpose in our lives seems to come to a standstill. “Although he make it not to grow,” II Samuel 23:5. But beneath the scaffolding the building is rising, and under the ground the harvest seeds are swelling.
These verses indicate David’s ideal for himself which he had not fully attained. The harp became jangled, and the strain lost its music. There is only one King who can realize all that we ask or think—our fair dream. That King is our Lord Jesus.
2 Samuel 23:4—As the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds.
The dealings of God with man are compared to morning light, and the sprouting of tender grass in the sunshine that follows rain. The one may refer to youth, and the other to age. In each there is sunlight: in the one case it is before the clouds have gathered; in the other after they have dispersed.
Clouds: There are many different sorts: the cirrus, like platens in the sky; the cumulus, in heaps, like the summits of distant mountains; the strata, or long bars; the nimbus, heavy with shower. There is a counterpart for each in human life, without which we should miss much of those experiences of light and shade that so frequently reveal the nature of the light. We should not know God’s comfort and very present help, if it were not for the clouds which are born in the marsh lands of trouble. Who does not prefer the changeful beauty of an English spring to the unclouded blue of Italian skies?
The Light of the Morning: The love of God steals over hearts as the dawn. He is the Rock; but his advent breaks gently as light. So God’s love came to Lydia, whose heart opened as a flower its petals. This makes it difficult for some of us to decide the moment of our regeneration; only we know that, once darkness, we are now light in the Lord.
Clear Shining after Rain: We all know something of cloud and rain. If we did not, our lives would be arid as a desert. Rain is necessary to fructify the seeds that lie buried in the soil but clear shining is needed too. Times of joy are needed equally as those of sorrow. The tender grass is the child of rain and sun. Hast thou had tears, thou shalt have smiles! Hast thou had clouds and rain, thou shalt have clear shining!
2 Samuel 23:8-17 – David’s Mighty Men
David’s yearning for the water of the well of Bethlehem was very natural. He could almost see the ancient well-head, where as a lad he had gone with his mother to draw water. In the scorching heat that beat down on the hillside that sultry afternoon, nothing seemed so desirable as a draught from those cool depths. So does the exile yearn for home, and the backslider for his early blessedness. But, thank God, we cannot wish for the Water of Life—if we wish with all our heart—without having it. To wish is to enjoy. Our Mighty Savior has broken through the Philistines, and has won for us access to the springs of eternal blessedness.
It was very noble of David to refuse to drink that which had been obtained at such cost. Self-control and thoughtfulness for others are graces that bind men’s hearts to their leaders. Moreover, David’s example suggests a quite different call which modern conditions make upon us for the exercise of similar self-control. Should we not refuse to make any use of wine and strong drink which have cost, and are costing, the lives of myriads? God forbid that any of us should enjoy, for our selfish pleasures, the deadliest foe of human happiness, purity and hope.
2 Samuel 23:18-39 – Men with a Record
What marvels may be wrought by the inspiration of a single life! We remember the hour when an unknown youth stepped out of the affrighted hosts of Israel to face Goliath. Alone, so far as human help went, David encountered and defeated that terrible antagonist; but after some fourteen or fifteen years had run their course, he no longer stood alone. Scores of heroes, animated by his spirit and exercising his faith, stepped forth on the new path which he had opened.
Thus the lives of great men light up and inspire the lives of others. They mold their contemporaries. Wesley’s career has raised a great army of preachers and evangelists. The enthusiasm of a Brainerd, a Finney, a Moody, has stirred tens of thousands with kindred passion for the souls of men. The companions of our Lord became His Apostles (His missionaries). His own life of sacrifice for men has become the beacon-fire which has summoned myriads from the sloth and indulgence of the valleys to the surrender, the self-denial, the anguish of His Cross, if only they might be permitted to follow in His steps. Is there anything in our lives that is inspiring others?