King David in the Cave

1 Chronicles 11: King David, Empowered, Equipped and Selected to Lead by God

Chronicles is the second time the history of Israel was recorded. Samuel covered the history of King Saul and King David. Jeremiah covered the kings of the divided kingdom after Solomon. Though Chronicles repeats some of what was already written, it highlights stories that weren’t covered. Chronicles is full of lessons for the Jews. Lessons that they failed to obey with the first go-round of their history. God felt the need to reinstate the teachings. Chapter 11 starts the chronicle of King David. If you enjoy action-adventure stories, you’ll like this one. Let’s dig in…

1 Chronicles 11 – David Becomes King of All Israel

Map of Israel showing Hebron and Jerusalem. Image by Sweet Publishing from, (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Map of Israel showing Hebron and Jerusalem. Image by Sweet Publishing from, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Then all Israel gathered before David at Hebron and told him, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, even when Saul was king, you were the one who really led the forces of Israel. And the Lord your God told you, ‘You will be the shepherd of my people Israel. You will be the leader of my people Israel.’”

So there at Hebron, David made a covenant before the Lord with all the elders of Israel. And they anointed him king of Israel, just as the Lord had promised through Samuel.

David Captures Jerusalem

Then David and all Israel went to Jerusalem (or Jebus, as it used to be called), where the Jebusites, the original inhabitants of the land, were living. The people of Jebus taunted David, saying, “You’ll never get in here!” But David captured the fortress of Zion, which is now called the City of David.

David had said to his troops, “Whoever is first to attack the Jebusites will become the commander of my armies!” And Joab, the son of David’s sister Zeruiah, was first to attack, so he became the commander of David’s armies.

David made the fortress his home, and that is why it is called the City of David. He extended the city from the supporting terraces to the surrounding area, while Joab rebuilt the rest of Jerusalem. And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was with him.

David’s Mightiest Warriors

10 These are the leaders of David’s mighty warriors. Together with all Israel, they decided to make David their king, just as the Lord had promised concerning Israel.

11 Here is the record of David’s mightiest warriors: The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite, who was leader of the Three—the mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle.

12 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. 13 He was with David when the Philistines gathered for battle at Pas-dammim and attacked the Israelites in a field full of barley. The Israelite army fled, 14 but Eleazar and David held their ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord saved them by giving them a great victory.

15 Once when David was at the rock near the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. 16 David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.

17 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 18 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But David refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. 19 “God forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.

David’s Thirty Mighty Men

20 Abishai, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty. He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three. 21 Abishai was the most famous of the Thirty and was their commander, though he was not one of the Three.

22 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 23 Once, armed only with a club, he killed an Egyptian warrior who was 7 1⁄2 feet tall and who was armed with a spear as thick as a weaver’s beam. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. 24 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the three mightiest warriors. 25 He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard.

26 David’s mighty warriors also included:

Asahel, Joab’s brother;
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem;
27 Shammah from Harod;
Helez from Pelon;
28 Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa;
Abiezer from Anathoth;
29 Sibbecai from Hushah;
Zalmon from Ahoah;
30 Maharai from Netophah;
Heled son of Baanah from Netophah;
31 Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah (in the land of Benjamin);
Benaiah from Pirathon;
32 Hurai from near Nahale-gaash;
Abi-albon from Arabah;
33 Azmaveth from Bahurim;
Eliahba from Shaalbon;
34 the sons of Jashen from Gizon;
Jonathan son of Shagee from Harar;
35 Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar;
Eliphal son of Ur;
36 Hepher from Mekerah;
Ahijah from Pelon;
37 Hezro from Carmel;
Paaraison of Ezbai;
38 Joel, the brother of Nathan;
Mibhar son of Hagri;
39 Zelek from Ammon;
Naharai from Beeroth, the armor bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah;
40 Ira from Jattir;
Gareb from Jattir;
41 Uriah the Hittite;
Zabad son of Ahlai;
42 Adina son of Shiza, the Reubenite leader who had thirty men with him;
43 Hanan son of Maacah;
Joshaphat from Mithna;
44 Uzzia from Ashtaroth;
Shama and Jeiel, the sons of Hotham, from Aroer;
45 Jediael son of Shimri;
Joha, his brother, from Tiz;
46 Eliel from Mahavah;
Jeribai and Joshaviah, the sons of Elnaam;
Ithmah from Moab;
47 Eliel and Obed;
Jaasiel from Zobah.

1 Chronicles 11 NLT

Key Highlights

  • This is the 3rd time David was anointed king. First was at his father, Jesse’s house as a young shepherd boy. Second was when he was made king of Judah. And finally in Hebron as king of all Israel.
  • Why Jerusalem?
    • It was located in the center of Israel
    • High on a hill
    • It had natural fortifications
    • None of the tribes claimed it, so it was neutral.
  • The Jebusites thought their city was unconquerable. Sure, until they met King David and his army of elite men who were empowered by God.
  • 2 Samuel 23 recounts how Eleazar’s hand froze around his sword. He gripped its handle so tightly that he couldn’t release it even after the battle was over. That’s how we should be as we battle the evil forces of the unseen world that Paul warns us about. The only offensive part of the Armor of God is Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. We need to cling to the Bible as tight as Eleazar did to his sword.
  • While King David was on the outskirts of Bethlehem, his hometown, he daydreamed out loud about the cool, fresh water from the well by the gate. Problem was that the city was being held by the Philistines. Three of his men took it upon themselves to go get him some of that water. They risked their lives by breaking through the enemy camp. David, so overwhelmed and humbled by their act of affection, could not drink it. He poured it out as an offering to God. Pastor Sandy Adams explains…

David realized he didn’t deserve this kind of sacrifice. Such extravagant love and loyalty should be reserved for God alone. To me this is such a powerful story because it illustrates the lavishness of love. Real love is lavish. It looks reckless, and wasteful, and uncouth to everyone, but the person in love. But when you really love someone you’re willing to take risks, and expend resources to express your love. Love is not afraid to lose. Remember when Mary broke the vial of expensive perfume, and anointed Jesus’ feet. It was the pragmatic Judas who questioned her wisdom. “It could’ve been sold, and given to the poor.” But Judas didn’t understand the logic of love. To Mary nothing was more important than showing Jesus how much He meant to her.

How about you? Do you understand the logic of love? When was the last time you took a risk – or was accused of a waste – to let the Lord know you love Him? The intensity of a love is measured by its extravagance. A love that never takes risks – never exhausts effort – never spends time – is love that’s grown cold as ice.

Sandy Adams

Lastly, we have the story and a listing of some of King David’s “mighty warriors” — his “seal team” or “delta force” — they were elite, brave men who fought with God on their side. Nevertheless, take a look in the list of men, verse 41, lists “Uriah the Hittite”. If you’ve read 2 Samuel, you’re familiar with the David and Bathsheba scandal. Well, Uriah the Hittite was Bathsheba’s husband, whom David betrayed and later had killed. He betrayed and killed one of his loyal, elite men. Kind of gives a different darkness to David’s sin of adultery.

How loyal and devoted are you to King Jesus?

Are you ready to fight and die for Jesus? Have you betrayed Him by worshiping idols, icons, and statues of dead people? Have you equipped yourself with the Armor of God? As Paul wrote…

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:10-17 NLT

You can’t put on the helmet of salvation if you’re not saved!

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

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