Davids Mighty Men


“These are the names of the mighty men whom David had.” (2 Samuel 23:8 NKJV)

There was a large group that followed David:
 His family – The members of David’s family went into exile with David: “David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him.” (1 Samuel 22:1 NKJV) This included Joab and the other sons of his sister Zeruiah: “Now the three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab and Abishai and Asahel.” (2 Samuel 2:18 NKJV)
 The initial group of four hundred outcasts - “And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.” (1 Samuel 22:1-2 NKJV)
 The expanded group of six hundred outcasts: “So David and his men, about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah and went wherever they could go.” (1 Samuel 23:11 NKJV) This same group appears to have followed David into Gath: “Then David arose and went over with the six hundred men who were with him to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath.” (1 Samuel 27:2 NKJV)
 The expanded army of outcasts: “Now these were the men who came to David at Ziklag while he was still a fugitive from Saul the son of Kish; and they were among the mighty men, helpers in the war, armed with bows, using both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows with the bow. They were of Benjamin, Saul's brethren. … Some Gadites joined David at the stronghold in the wilderness, mighty men of valor, men trained for battle, who could handle shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains … These were from the sons of Gad, captains of the army; the least was over a hundred, and the greatest was over a thousand … Then some of the sons of Benjamin and Judah came to David at the stronghold … And some from Manasseh defected to David when he was going with the Philistines to battle against Saul … And they helped David against the bands of raiders, for they were all mighty men of valor, and they were captains in the army. For at that time they came to David day by day to help him, until it was a great army, like the army of God.” (1 Chronicles 12:1-22 NKJV)
 The army of David after he was crowned king over all Israel- David had an “army of the mighty men” who fought against the enemies of Israel: “When the people of Ammon saw that they had made themselves repulsive to David, the people of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand foot soldiers; and from the king of Maacah one thousand men, and from Ish-Tob twelve thousand men. Now when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men.” (2 Samuel 10:6-7 NKJV)
 The exiles who accompanied David as he fled from Absalom – This appears to be the same group that were exiles with David from the time he fled from Saul: “So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, ‘Arise, and let us flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom … Then all his servants passed before him; and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had followed him from Gath, passed before the king. … And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.” (2 Samuel 15:14-16:6 NKJV)
 The men who remained true to David and did not follow the rebellion of Adonijah – “Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David were not with Adonijah. And Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fattened cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En Rogel; he also invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the men of Judah, the king's servants. But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, or Solomon his brother.” (1 Kings 1:8-10 NKJV)

The FIRST Three:
“Now these were the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel.” (1 Chronicles 11:10 NKJV)
 Jashobeam – Jashobeam was the leader of the “First Three”: “The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite, who was leader of the Three - the three mightiest warriors among David's men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.” (2 Samuel 23:8 NLT) He is referred to as “chief of the captains” in some of the manuscripts, while the Greek and Latin translations refer to him as chief of “the Three.” The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia states, “Jashobeam, or Josheb-bash-shebeth, was the name or title of the chief, Adino and Eznite being descriptive epithets, and Hachmonite the patronymic of the same person.” (“JASHOBEAM” McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia) The parallel account states he killed 300 warriors: “He had lifted up his spear against three hundred, killed by him at one time.” (1 Chronicles 11:11 NKJV) The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary states of this difference in numbers, “Some endeavour to reconcile the statements in that passage and in this, by supposing that he killed 800 on one occasion, and 300 on another; while others conjecture that he attacked a body of 800, and having slain 300 of them, the rest fled.” (1 Chronicles 11:11 Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
 Eleazar – Eleazar was the second of the “First Three”: “After him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighty men. He was with David at Pasdammim. Now there the Philistines were gathered for battle, and there was a piece of ground full of barley. So the people fled from the Philistines. But they stationed themselves in the middle of that field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.” (1 Chronicles 11:12-14 NKJV) The parallel account adds, “He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword … and the people returned after him only to plunder.” (2 Samuel 23:10 NKJV)
 Shammah – Shammah is listed as the final member of the “First Three”: “And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. So the people fled from the Philistines. But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.” (2 Samuel 23:11-12 NKJV) The parallel account strangely omits this third member of the “First Three.”