2 Samuel 23:19
Was he not more honored than the Three? And he became their commander, even though he was not included among the Three.
The Might of MediocrityW. L. Watkinson.2 Samuel 23:19
The Value of Second-RateChristian Weekly2 Samuel 23:19
The Heroism of BenaiahB. Dale 2 Samuel 23:18-23

This narrative is highly creditable to both David and these three brave men. It shows the power he had of awakening in his soldiers passionate attachment and devotedness to himself, his high appreciation of such qualities, and, at the same time his unwillingness that they should be displayed in enterprises which hazarded precious lives for no corresponding advantage. In the pouring of the water out as an offering unto the Lord, because it was too costly and sacred for ordinary use, "pure chivalry and pure religion found an absolute union" (Dean Stanley). On the other hand, the heroism of these men, stirred by their love and loyalty to their chief, although displayed in a rash enterprise, is worthy of great admiration. We are reminded of similar qualities found amongst the servants of the Son of David, our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice -


1. They show sincere and practical regard to his every wish. They do not need explicit commands in detail, still less accompanying threatenings. Enough if they can ascertain what he desires; and their love for him and converse with him enable them to know his wishes without definite verbal revelations or laws. A large portion of the life of many modern Christians, especially in the departments of Christian zeal and benevolence, is founded on no express command, but springs from love and sympathy - from that participation of the Spirit of Christ which produces intuitive discernment of his will, and that devoted attachment which prompts to the gratification of his every wish.

2. They are ready to encounter danger in his service. The work of Christ makes at times great demands on love, zeal, and courage. It cannot be done without hazard; but his true-hearted friends are prepared to endure the toil and brave the peril. Not a few in our own day may be described as "men that have hazarded their lives for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 15:26). This spirit of Christian heroism is not confined to the more hardy races, but among' the softer tribes of Polynesia and India, the knowledge, of Christ has produced a similar courage. Converted natives offer themselves for service in the most dangerous fields of missionary enterprise; and when some fall at the hand of savages, or through attacks of deadly diseases, others eagerly press forward to take the vacant places. The language of St. Paul is still the language of faithful Christians, "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself," etc.; "I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die... for the Name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:24; Acts 21:13).

3. They are sometimes moved to extraordinary manifestations of their regard. Like the three heroes whose exploit is here recorded. Like Mary in her lavish anointing of her Lord (John 12:3). Warm love prompts to generous deeds and gifts. There is need of these in the service of Christ; and if ardent love to him were more common, they would be more frequent. Love should, however, submit to the guidance of wisdom, lest it become wasteful or injurious. Our Lord will accept mistaken offerings, but it is well that the offerings should themselves be such as he can approve. One safeguard against mistake is the remembrance that he desires no display of love which is fantastic or useless, no self-denial or daring which answers no proportionate end in the advancement of his kingdom and the promotion of the good either of our own souls or of our fellow men. There is abundant room for all possible generosity, self-denial, and bravery in the practical service of Christ and man; to expend these in fruitless ways is to expose our works to condemnation, however good and acceptable may be our motives. We are to serve God with our reason as well as our feelings.


1. His self-sacrificing love for them. "The love of Christ constraineth us" (2 Corinthians 5:14) is their sufficient answer to any who allege that they are "beside themselves" (2 Corinthians 5:13). His love requires and justifies the utmost consecration to him of heart and life.

2. His injunctions. He claims from all who follow him that they should love him more than their nearest relations more than their own life (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26), and that, in serving him, they should be fearless of death (Luke 12:4).

3. His example. Of love to the Father, and complete devotedness to his will and glory (John 14:31; John 4:34; Matthew 26:39, 42; John 12:27, 28).

4. The effects of such love. In purifying and ennobling the character of those who cherish it, and promoting through them the well being of mankind. It is love for all excellence, stimulates to its pursuit and greatly aids its attainment. It is the inspiration and support of the highest and most persistent benevolence; for he who is loved is the Incarnation of Divine holiness and love, and the great Friend and Benefactor of the human race, and the return he asks for his love to us is not a barren, sentimental devotion, but practical obedience (John 14:15, 21, 23), and especially a fruitful love to our brethren (John 15:12-14; 1 John 3:16-18), whom he teaches us to regard as being himself (Matthew 25:35-45). Love to Jesus Christ has been, and still is, the strongest motive-power in the world in favour of all godliness and goodness.

5. Its rewards. Love to Christ is not mercenary, and makes no stipulation for recompense. It is its own reward. Yet in the midst of a cold and unbelieving world it needs all supports. These are to be found in the assurance of the approval and affection of Christ himself, and of the Father (John 14:21, 23; John 16:27), and the prospect of sharing the glory and joy of Christ forever (John 17:24; 2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 19:29; James 1:12; James 2:5). On the other hand, to be destitute of love to Christ is to be lost (1 Corinthians 16:22). - G.W.

Howbeit he attained not unto the first three.
Everybody just now is deploring the singular dearth of genius which marks our immediate era. Some historic periods are remarkable in consequence of the brilliant constellations of extraordinarily gifted men which illuminate them; but the current age threatens to resemble those starless spaces of the firmament which perplex astronomers. In the musical world no one remains to play the first fiddle. The dropped mantle of Macaulay lies unclaimed. A modern commentator warmly protests against the custom of describing certain prophets as "minor prophets"; but no one proposes to abolish the designation "minor poets" — they are very much to the lore, and there is no forehead worthy of Tennyson's laurel. Epoch-making scientists like Darwin and Faraday, and masterly expositors of science like Huxley and Tyndall, have left no successors. As to great singers like Lind and Titiens, we feel the silence that Israel felt on the day and in the place of which the sacred historian wrote: "Miriam died there, and was buried there." No artist appears competent to take up Millais' fallen pencil. No orator like Bright charms the nation. We might think that the forces of nature were spent. The greatest souls are rarer than ever. This is the age of democracy, and it would seem as ii it were going to justify Amiel's dictum that "democracy is the grave of talent." The nineteenth century ended without leaving a single really great figure on the stage. We rather welcome this parenthesis in the annals of the sublime; it gives a rare opportunity to mediocrity to demonstrate its great merits, and to show that it is not without considerable glory of its own. Nothing may compare with the Divine virtue of genius; it is a direct gleam of the eternal light: and there is little danger in our day that any real greatness will suffer depreciation and neglect. The danger always is lest we should disesteem faithful mediocrity. Victor Hugo regrets the English victory at Waterloo because it was "the victory of mediocrity." We do not care to attempt any refutation of this epigram; let us allow that Wellington was not a brilliant adventurer like Napoleon, and that, as poets reason, the victory of Waterloo was the triumph of mediocrity. It must be acknowledged also that the victory of mediocrity is quite a feature of the world's general affairs and history. Ages ago the author of Ecclesiastes wrote: "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happened to them all." This keen observer discerned what Victor Hugo regretted, that there is a place in the government of the world for the triumph of mediocrity. We ourselves constantly observe the same thing. The brilliant preacher conspicuously fails to create a church, whilst the plodding pastor ministers through years to a flourishing congregation. The brilliant speculator dies poor, whilst the homespun' shopkeeper leaves an inheritance to his children's children. The fable of the hare and the tortoise never grows obsolete. Said Diderot, "The world is for the strong." But the world is not altogether for the strong, neither are brilliant men permitted to ride roughshod over the simple. The world is also for the faithful, the artless, the industrious, the modest, and the meek. All things are not delivered over into the hands of William the Conqueror, Lorenzo the Magnificent, and Peter the Great; strugglers destitute of original power and brilliant parts have a trick of coming out at the top and sharing the spoils with the strong. We may honestly rejoice that this is so. It may affront the romantic critic to see the soldier of genius banished to St. Helena whilst the soldier of patience stands before kings; but the fact is comforting and inspiring to the faithful many. Intense, decisive faithfulness has the character of the sublime, and it sets the virtuous man of ordinary intelligence on a level with the most gifted. Commonplace talent united with high moral qualities is certainly one of the most precious factors of civilisation. We must not permit ourselves to be browbeaten by towering greatness; we too have possibilities. Faithful mediocrity may enter hopefully into all social competitions; it often turns out to be genius in undress; it has a good chance of the prizes of life. We are not equal to daring assaults, far-reaching speculations, dazzling manoeuvres; but simple truth and perfect patience possess mysterious efficacy, and they as well as genius bring riches and honours, power, and fame. In our struggle against gifted and splendid wickedness let us remember the victory of mediocrity. The New Testament frequently calls attention to the power and magnificence of the kingdom of evil. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels." The Apocalypse brings out very strikingly the glory and power of the evil with which the saints contend. Wickedness is seen with many heads, eyes, and horns; she is arrayed in purple and scarlet, decked with precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand; force, fire, and fury are attributes of the awful power. This picture is not mere rhetoric. In the actual world we find these gigantic and lurid poetic images distinctly and powerfully reflected. A thousand times over wickedness is seen identified with royal magnificence, luminous intellect, immense learning, fabulous riches, indomitable courage, and resources all but infinite. Now it seems simply impossible for good, plain, honest, spiritual souls to make headway against the devilry thus leagued with might, magnificence, and stratagem. Men smile pitifully when they read on the page of history of clowns going forth with scythes, pikes, and pitchforks to do battle with panoplied hosts; but it seems unutterably more absurd for simple men and women to dare the rampant wickedness of the universe, boasting as it does this strength and splendour. In the natural world we daily witness the victories of mediocrity, and we may be sure that in the spiritual universe these victories are not less wonderful. The conflict of simple souls with the dash and guile of the demoniac powers appears a battle of doves with eagles; but tiny humming birds are said to attack the eagle with impunity, ignominiously driving it away. So wickedness in its utmost pride is strangely vulnerable, and sinks vanquished by very weakness There is a haste in wickedness which threatens its overthrow; it is feverish, premature, precipitate, and in its hurry comes to grief, despite the greatest advantages. Goodness, on the other hand, is deliberate, tranquil, patient, and herein finds a source of strength and victory. "Here is the patience and faith of the saints." All hell in its wrath and pride makes shipwreck on this innocent-looking rock of simple faith and steadfastness, as at Waterloo the glittering, impetuous legions of France were worn out by the sheer patience and confidence of the duke. There is a blindness in wickedness which frustrates its designs. Brilliant, crafty sinners fall into egregious mistakes; they are guilty of surprising lapses, oversights, miscalculations. There is also in wickedness s pride and presumption which work its confusion, and in Strange ways turn its pomp into shame, its boastings into failure. Napoleon is reported to have said on the morning of Waterloo that he would "teach that little English general a lesson." Such pride cometh before destruction. How utterly wrong are they who capitulate to temptation from the notion that. evil is overwhelming, that it is necessarily victorious! We too often forget the penetration of sincerity, the depth of simplicity, the cleverness of uprightness, the strategy of straightforwardness; we forget that patience is genius, that persistence is the most unequivocal sign of force, that there is a conquering awfulness in real goodness, an all-subduing loveliness in the form of simple virtue. Mediocre as we are, we are destined to great victories. Entrenched in nature, exalted on thrones, defended by literature and eloquence, wickedness shall be vanquished by plain, good men.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

Christian Weekly.
To the student who asked, "What is the good of second-rate art?" Ruskin replied: "I am glad you asked me that question. Fifth rate, sixth rate, to s hundredth rate art is good. Art that gives s pleasure to. any one has s right to exist. For instance, if I can only draw a duck that looks as though he waddled, I may give pleasure to the last baby of our hostess, while a flower beautifully drawn will give pleasure to her eldest girl, who is just beginning to learn botany, and it may be useful to some man of science. The true outline of a leaf shown a child may turn the whole course of its life. Second-rate art is useful to a greater number of people than even first-rate art — there are so few minds of high enough order to understand the highest kind of art. Many more people find pleasure in Copley or Fielding than in Turner. Most people only see the small vulgarisms in Turner, and cannot appreciate his grander qualities."

(Christian Weekly.)

Abialbon, Abiel, Abiezer, Abishai, Adino, Agee, Ahasbai, Ahiam, Ahithophel, Anathoth, Ariel, Asahel, Azmaveth, Baanah, Bani, Benaiah, Benjamin, Benjaminites, David, Dodai, Dodo, Eleazar, Elhanan, Eliahba, Eliam, Elika, Eliphelet, Gareb, Heldai, Heleb, Helez, Hezrai, Hezro, Hiddai, Igal, Ikkesh, Ira, Ithai, Ittai, Jacob, Jashen, Jehoiada, Jesse, Joab, Jonathan, Maharai, Mebunnai, Naharai, Nahari, Nathan, Paarai, Ribai, Shammah, Sharar, Sibbecai, Uriah, Zalmon, Zelek, Zeruiah
Adullam, Anathoth, Bahurim, Beeroth, Bethlehem, Carmel, Gaash, Gath, Gibeah, Gilo, Harod, Jerusalem, Kabzeel, Lehi, Maacah, Moab, Netophah, Pirathon, Tekoa, Valley of Rephaim, Zobah
Attain, Attained, Becometh, Captain, Commander, Didn't, Equal, Greater, Honor, Honorable, Honored, Honourable, Honoured, Howbeit, However, Included, Noblest, Renowned, Thirty, Though, Wasn't, Yet
1. David, in his last words, professes his faith in God's promises
6. The different state of the wicked
8. A catalogue of David's mighty men

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Samuel 23:8-21

     5776   achievement

2 Samuel 23:8-23

     1652   numbers, 3-5

2 Samuel 23:8-39

     5544   soldiers

The Dying King's Last vision and Psalm
'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
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Libation to Jehovah
'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
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Royal Jubilee
[Footnote: Preached on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.] '... 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.'--2 SAMUEL xxiii. 3, 4. One of the Psalms ascribed to David sounds like the resolves of a new monarch on his accession. In it the Psalmist draws the ideal of a king, and says such
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

David's Dying Song
We shall notice first, that the Psalmist had sorrow in his house--" Although my house be not so with God." Secondly, he had confidence in the covenant--" yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant." And thirdly, he had satisfaction in his heart, for he says--" this is all my salvation, and all my desire. I. The Psalmist says he had sorrow in his house--"Although my house be not so with God." What man is there of all our race, who, if he had to write his history, would not need to use a great
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

Covenanting Sanctioned by the Divine Example.
God's procedure when imitable forms a peculiar argument for duty. That is made known for many reasons; among which must stand this,--that it may be observed and followed as an example. That, being perfect, is a safe and necessary pattern to follow. The law of God proclaims what he wills men as well as angels to do. The purposes of God show what he has resolved to have accomplished. The constitutions of his moral subjects intimate that he has provided that his will shall be voluntarily accomplished
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The Christian's Book
Scripture references 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:20,21; John 5:39; Romans 15:4; 2 Samuel 23:2; Luke 1:70; 24:32,45; John 2:22; 10:35; 19:36; Acts 1:16; Romans 1:1,2; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; James 2:8. WHAT IS THE BIBLE? What is the Bible? How shall we regard it? Where shall we place it? These and many questions like them at once come to the front when we begin to discuss the Bible as a book. It is only possible in this brief study, of a great subject, to indicate the line of some of the answers.
Henry T. Sell—Studies in the Life of the Christian

Thoughts Upon the Appearance of Christ the Sun of Righteousness, or the Beatifick vision.
SO long as we are in the Body, we are apt to be governed wholly by its senses, seldom or never minding any thing but what comes to us through one or other of them. Though we are all able to abstract our Thoughts when we please from matter, and fix them upon things that are purely spiritual; there are but few that ever do it. But few, even among those also that have such things revealed to them by God himself, and so have infinitely more and firmer ground to believe them, than any one, or all their
William Beveridge—Private Thoughts Upon a Christian Life

The Truth of God
The next attribute is God's truth. A God of truth and without iniquity; just and right is he.' Deut 32:4. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.' Psa 57:10. Plenteous in truth.' Psa 86:15. I. God is the truth. He is true in a physical sense; true in his being: he has a real subsistence, and gives a being to others. He is true in a moral sense; he is true sine errore, without errors; et sine fallacia, without deceit. God is prima veritas, the pattern and prototype
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Covenanting According to the Purposes of God.
Since every revealed purpose of God, implying that obedience to his law will be given, is a demand of that obedience, the announcement of his Covenant, as in his sovereignty decreed, claims, not less effectively than an explicit law, the fulfilment of its duties. A representation of a system of things pre-determined in order that the obligations of the Covenant might be discharged; various exhibitions of the Covenant as ordained; and a description of the children of the Covenant as predestinated
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The Work of the Holy Spirit in Prophets and Apostles.
The work of the Holy Spirit in apostles and prophets is an entirely distinctive work. He imparts to apostles and prophets an especial gift for an especial purpose. We read in 1 Cor. xii. 4, 8-11, 28, 29, R. V., "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.... For to one is given through the Spirit wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit; and to another workings
R. A. Torrey—The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit

The Blessings of Noah Upon Shem and Japheth. (Gen. Ix. 18-27. )
Ver. 20. "And Noah began and became an husbandman, and planted vineyards."--This does not imply that Noah was the first who began to till the ground, and, more especially, to cultivate the vine; for Cain, too, was a tiller of the ground, Gen. iv. 2. The sense rather is, that Noah, after the flood, again took up this calling. Moreover, the remark has not an independent import; it serves only to prepare the way for the communication of the subsequent account of Noah's drunkenness. By this remark,
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Deity of the Holy Spirit.
In the preceding chapter we have seen clearly that the Holy Spirit is a Person. But what sort of a Person is He? Is He a finite person or an infinite person? Is He God? This question also is plainly answered in the Bible. There are in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments five distinct and decisive lines of proof of the Deity of the Holy Spirit. I. Each of the four distinctively Divine attributes is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. What are the distinctively Divine attributes? Eternity, omnipresence,
R. A. Torrey—The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit

How is Christ, as the Life, to be Applied by a Soul that Misseth God's Favour and Countenance.
The sixth case, that we shall speak a little to, is a deadness, occasioned by the Lord's hiding of himself, who is their life, and "the fountain of life," Ps. xxxvi. 9, and "whose loving-kindness is better than life," Ps. lxiii. 3, and "in whose favour is their life," Ps. xxx. 5. A case, which the frequent complaints of the saints manifest to be rife enough, concerning which we shall, 1. Shew some of the consequences of the Lord's hiding his face, whereby the soul's case will appear. 2. Shew the
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Thoughts Upon the Mystery of the Trinity.
THOUGH there be many in the World that seem to be Religious, there are but few that are so: One great Reason whereof is, because there are so many Mistakes about Religion, that it is an hard matter to hit upon the true Notion of it: And therefore desiring nothing in this World, so much as to be an Instrument in God's Hand to direct Men unto true Religion, my great Care must, and, by the Blessing of God, shall be to instil into them right Conceptions of him, that is the only Object of all Religious
William Beveridge—Private Thoughts Upon a Christian Life

The Covenant of Grace
Q-20: DID GOD LEAVE ALL MANKIND TO PERISH 1N THE ESTATE OF SIN AND MISERY? A: No! He entered into a covenant of grace to deliver the elect out of that state, and to bring them into a state of grace by a Redeemer. 'I will make an everlasting covenant with you.' Isa 55:5. Man being by his fall plunged into a labyrinth of misery, and having no way left to recover himself, God was pleased to enter into a new covenant with him, and to restore him to life by a Redeemer. The great proposition I shall go
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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