I Chronicles 11

The Word Made Fresh

1Then people came to David at Hebron from all over Israel. They said, “We are your kin. 2For a long time, even when Saul was king, you were the one who led the army of Israel. The LORD your God said that you would be shepherd of the people of Israel, and that you would be the ruler of Israel.” 3The leaders from all over Israel met with David at Hebron and David made a pact with them before the LORD. They anointed him king over Israel just as the LORD had said through Samuel.

4David led the Israelites to Jerusalem, which was then called Jebus because the Jebusites lived there. 5They swore that David would never enter their city, but David took their fortress on Mt. Zion, which is now called the city of David. 5David had challenged his men, “Whoever breaks through the Jebusites first shall be the ranking general of my army.” Joab son of Zeruiah broke through first and claimed the title. 7David then took up residence in that fortress, and that is why it is now called the city of David. 8He built up the city all around it from the area known as the Millo. Joab rebuilt the rest of the city that had been destroyed. 9David became stronger and stronger because the LORD of multitudes was with him.

10Here are the leading soldiers in David’s army who strongly backed him as their king, along with people all over Israel just as the LORD had said. 11Here are some things David’s leading soldiers did: Jashobeam son of Hachmoni was the leader of the Thirty. It is said that, armed with his spear, he killed three hundred of the enemy in one battle.

12Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodo the Ahohite. 13He was with David at the battle of Pas-Dammim against the Philistines. There was a field of grain there, and when the Israelites ran from the Philistines 14David and Eleazar stood firm in the grain field and defended it, killing many Philistines, and the LORD gave them a great victory.

15On another occasion, three of the Thirty came to David at the overlook near the cave of Adullam while the Philistines were encamped below in the valley of Rephaim. 16David was in his hideout. There was a platoon of Philistines at Bethlehem, 17and David said wistfully, “What I wouldn’t give to have a drink of water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem.” 18The Three slipped through the Philistine guard and drew water from the well and brought it to David. But David wouldn’t drink it. He poured it on the ground as a gesture to the LORD. 19He said, “God forbid I should drink this. It would be like drinking the blood of these men! They brought it at the risk of their very lives.” That’s just one example of the kind of things the Three did.

20Joab’s brother Abishai was one of the Three. He fought three hundred enemy soldiers with just his spear, and overcame them all, adding to the fame of the Three. 21He was the best known of the Thirty and even became their commander, but the Thirty were never as famous as the Three.

22Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a brave man from Kabzeel who did great things as well. He defeated two warriors of Ariel the Moabite. On another occasion he killed a lion in its lair on a snowy day. 23He also defeated an Egyptian warrior, a man who stood seven and a half feet tall. The Egyptian carried a spear as heavy as a weaver’s beam, but Benaiah wrested the spear from him and killed him with it. 24Those are the things Benaiah son of Jehoiada did to make him as famous as the Three. 25He was celebrated by the Thirty even though he was not one of the Three. David made him head of his personal bodyguard.

26The most famous of David’s soldiers were:

Asahel brother of Joab;
Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem;
27Shammoth the Harodite;
Helez the Pelonite;
28Ira son of Ikkesh of Tekoa;
Abiezer of Anathoth;
29Sibbecai the Hushathite;
Ilai the Ahohite;
30Maharai of Netophah;
Heled son of Baanah of Netophath;
31Ithai son of Ribai of Gibeah of the Benjaminites;
Benaiah of Pirathon;
32Hurai from the creek beds of Gaash;
Abiel the Arbathite;
33Azmaveth of Baharum;
Eliahba of Shaalbon;
34the sons of Hashem the Gizonite;
Jonathan son of Shagee the Hararite;
35Ahiam son of Sachar the Hararite;
Eliphal son of Ur;
36Hepher the Mecherathite;
Ahijah the Pelonite;
37Hezro of Carmel;
Naarai son of Ezbai;
38Joel the brother of Nathan;
Mibhar son of Hagri;
39Zelek the Ammonite;
Naharai of Beeroth, who was the armorbearer of Joab son of Zeruiah;
40Ira the Ithrite;
Gareb the Ithrite;
41Uriah the Hittite;
Zabad son of Ahlai;
42Adina son of Shiza the Reubenite who was a leader of thirty Reubenites;
43Hanan son of Maacah;
Joshaphat the Mithnite;
44Uzzia the Ashterathite;
Shama and Jeiel sons of Hotham the Aroerite;
45Jeiael son of Shimri, and his brother Joha the Tizite;
46Eliel the Mahavite;
47and the Mezobaites – Eliet, Obed, and Jaasiel.


1-3: According to the chronicler, upon Saul’s death all the tribes came to David at Hebron, embraced him as their brother, and anointed him king over all Israel.  The verses we have here are an amended version of 2 Samuel 5:1-5. The chronicler leaves out the history reported in 2 Samuel 2-4 – the 7 years David ruled in Hebron over Judah while Ishbaal son of Saul was king over the rest of Israel.

4-9: Repeats most of 2 Samuel 5:6-10 to tell how Jerusalem became the capital of the country.

10-11: David’s mighty warriors are headed by one Jashobeam, who must be the same person as Josheb-Basshebeth (2 Samuel 23:8), although here he only kills three hundred at one time.

12-14: The heroics of Eleazar are recounted next, how he stood next to David and defended a plot of ground against the Philistines. It is interesting to compare this account with that of 2 Samuel 23:9-10.

15-19: The third member of the Three is omitted (see 2 Samuel 23:11-12). But the exploits of the “three among the thirty” are recounted here (see 2 Samuel 23:13-17).

20-21: Abishai is the head of the Thirty, but not as good as the three (2 Samuel 23:18-19).

22-25: Benaiah’s exploits were reported in 2 Samuel 23:20-23.

26-47: Here is a list of the “warriors of the army,” I count 44 of them, which is the Thirty (actually 31: see 2 Samuel 23:24-39) plus a baker’s dozen. Verses 26-41a are essentially the same as the list in 2 Samuel, with some names spelled differently. Verses 41b-47 are added. The chronicler thus begins the account of David’s reign with lists of names that in the 2 Samuel account are not given until much later.


I Chronicles jumped right into David’s reign with the briefest account of Saul, and only to recount his death. Saul’s son Ishbaal is never mentioned. Indeed, it is clear that the historian(s) who wrote the books of Chronicles want to erase any memory of anyone ruling in Jerusalem other than David and his descendants. David is remembered in 1 Chronicles only as the king; no mention is made of him ever being a keeper of sheep, nor of his defeat of Goliath, nor of David playing the harp to sooth king Saul, nor of his friendship with Saul’s son Jonathan. Saul is now barely an asterisk.