David's Mighty Men
1 Chronicles 11:10-25
These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel…

Among the elders of Israel (ver. 3) who came to anoint David king, there were mighty men of valour, who had in various ways distinguished themselves. These are referred to in these verses, and also in 2 Samuel 23:8-24. David formed a military staff out of this "great host" that had gathered around him. The "mighty men," or "champions," of this staff were divided into three classes. The highest was Jashobeam, the son of Hachmoni; the second, Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite; the third, Shammah the son of Agee, the Hararite. These were of the first class or highest rank. In the second class were first Abishai the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah; the second, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; the third, Asahel the brother of Joab. These were of the second rank. The third class were the thirty men enumerated in these chapters, of whom Asahel was the chief. There are thirty-one mentioned in the list, including Asahel, which, including the six of the two superior ranks, make thirty-seven. The first name in the chief rank, Jashobeam, was an office, or "seat" (2 Samuel 23:8). Adino the Eznite is said to have filled this office under Joab. The one who filled this seat was president of war. The three chief men who composed the ranks of each of the first two classes were chosen for their valour, and the remarkable manner in which they had distinguished themselves at, the time when David was Saul's general against the Philistines. The two chapters give in detail the account of the exploits performed by Jashobeam, Eleazar, Shammah, Abishai, Benaiah, and Asahel. These were the men who had so distinguished themselves under David when acting as Saul's general. Adino the Eznite is represented as sitting in Jashobeam's seat - probably acting for him as the president of the council of war. Jashobeam is said to have slain eight hundred men with "his own spear." The Philistines gathered together against David in a field of barley, or lentiles. There Eleazar met them, and fought "till his hand was weary," and it "clave unto the sword." The same battle was continued by Shammah after the exhaustion of Eleazar, and he, by his valour, preserved the field. To these two the Lord gave a great victory, and "the People returned after them only to spoil." These were the exploits of the three chief men of David's first rank. In his second rank, Abishai the brother of Joab slew with his own spear three hundred men. Benaiah the son of Jehoiada slew at one time two Moabitish giants; at another time, when snow covered the ground, he slew a lion in a pit; and at another an Egyptian giant with his own spear. Asahel, the third of the second rank, and brother also of Joab, is merely described as one of the valiant men. This "great host" had gathered to David in the cave of Adullam, situate within a few miles of Bethlehem. Drawn thither by personal attachment to himself, they preferred rejection and danger and every hardship of life. Let us learn a few spiritual lessons from this narrative. All those who are drawn around the true David, the Lord Jesus, are not only Christians but warriors. They are to be heroes in the Lord's service - to "fight the good fight of faith." And as with these "mighty men," according to their individual prowess will they be rewarded in the day of the true David's glory, Many of the noble acts of valour which distinguished these "mighty men" were done in secret, and on their own special ground, never heard of till now, and on this account were they chosen as David's "mighty men" now. Those who are fit to fight the Lord's battles in public are those who have conquered in secret, on their own home ground, and where no eye has seen but God's. The man who knows not, like David himself, what it is to have killed the "lion and the bear" in secret is not fit to stand in the public arena to contend with Goliath of Oath. Here we have the election of David to the throne by God, even while Saul was reigning. Just so is it now. The prince of this world reigns, but Jesus is God's chosen One. "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take \counsel together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion." The anointing of David by God is brought before us in 1 Samuel 16:12, 13. The election and anointing of David by the people is recorded in the chapter we are now considering. In these two passages we have the election of Jesus and his anointing by God shadowed forth in those of David, even while as yet the world's king was reigning. In the mean time David, thus chosen and anointed of God, is rejected and cast out by the people of God and by the Gentiles. This is shadowed forth in the rejection by Saul and by Achish, King of Gath (1 Samuel 21:10-15). Thus Jesus, the Chosen and Anointed of God, has been rejected by Jews and Gentiles. "Away with him! Crucify him!" was the united cry of both. The rejected king David takes refuge in the cave of Adullam, and there "a great host as the host of God" gather round him, drawn to him by devoted love, and preferring to be identified with him in his rejection than to be in honour under Saul. How fully we see Christ in all this! As the rejected One, Jesus is now hiding from the view of the world, like David in the cave of Adullam. He has ascended on high, as the Chosen and Anointed of God. He is King, "set upon his holy hill of Zion." And now "a great host, as the host of God," is being gathered out of this world, "a multitude which no man can number," drawn around this rejected One - drawn by his love, and preferring rejection with him to "enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season." The prince of this world is ruling still; but though in the world, his people are not of the world. Saul is not their king, but David; not Satan, but Jesus. "He is precious" to them - the "chief of ten thousand, the altogether lovely." And just as there was great joy in this outgathered host of David (1 Chronicles 12:40), so there is joy among the people of God. Jesus is their joy. He is coming to reign. They know it. And the joy which David's outgathered ones had in him was indeed only a faint shadow of that joy which is theirs, for they have "his joy fulfilled in themselves." And what was the character of those who were drawn to David as the rejected one in the cave of Adullam? "And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was bitter of soul, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them.' Could any passage more accurately describe those who flocked round the standard of the Lord Jesus when on earth? "Publicans and harlots, sinners," those out of whom had been east seven devils, the broken in heart, the out- cast, the blind and deaf and dumb, the naked and hungry and wretched, - such were those who were drawn to the true David when on earth - drawn by his love, and, with his love constraining them, content to "count all things as dung that they might win Christ, and be found in him." And such are they still who are drawn to the world's rejected One. They are in "distress" - they have nothing, and are full of want. Wearied with the mockery of a world that has ever cheated them, they have cast themselves, weary and heavy laden, on Jesus. Again and again they have uttered the cry, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." They are "in debt " - debtors to a broken Law, with the sword of Divine wrath hanging over their heads on account of guilt and sin. They are "bitter of soul;" for sin has wounded them, the world has wounded them, Satan has pierced them through and through. They had "no hope, and were without God in the world." They were "hateful and hating one another." They were "dead in trespasses and sins." Drawn to Jesus by his love, he is now their "All in all." He has risen from the dead and has ascended on high. He has "become a Captain over them " - the "Captain of their salvation, made perfect through sufferings." The host thus gathering round the true David is indeed "the host of God." It is increasing and shall increase till it becomes "a multitude that no man can number," which shall come with Jesus when he shall return in glory, and shall reign with him, "King of kings and Lord of lords." There is one very precious word in this narrative, "And David went on going and growing: for the Lord of hosts was with him" (see margin, 2 Samuel 5:10, and ver. 9 of this chapter). What a word for each of us - "going and growing"! Yes; they are inseparable! In your "walk" with God you must "grow." Oh, how many are in the way to heaven, but standing still! Reader, are you growing? Are you "walking" with God? then you must grow; but not otherwise. Less each day in your own eyes, but more in his. Growth in grace is a going down - a reversal - to ourselves. Christ's glory so rises till the soul is lost in it. "Going and growing"! And what was the secret of it? Not David's natural prowess; not the numbers who were daily flocking to his standard. No; none of these: "for the Lord of hosts was with him." Yes; God's presence - abiding in Jesus - is the secret of all "going and the secret of all growing." None without it. - W.

Parallel Verses
KJV: These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.

WEB: Now these are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who showed themselves strong with him in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of Yahweh concerning Israel.

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