Subject: End of David’s Life & David’s Mighty Men

Feedback: This teaching needs some work. Probably some trimming on this historical passages and more discussion questions overall

Start with reading the historical passages:

2 Sam 20

[David is on his way back from the Absolom debacle…]

1 There happened to be a troublemaker there named Sheba son of Bicri, a man from the tribe of Benjamin. Sheba blew a ram’s horn and began to chant:

“Down with the dynasty of David! We have no interest in the son of Jesse. Come on, you men of Israel, back to your homes!”

2 So all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bicri.

[So David told Amasa (not Joab) to go chase Sheba. Not sure if David is trying to move away from Joab since he was so vicious. Maybe David is starting to learn to discipline people close to him. After failing with several sons.]

[But Amasa was was way too slow in mobilizing the army. So David sent Abishai, who decided to bring Joab along.]

7 So Abishai and Joab,* together with the king’s bodyguard* and all the mighty warriors, set out from Jerusalem to go after Sheba. 8 As they arrived at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa met them. Joab was wearing his military tunic with a dagger strapped to his belt. As he stepped forward to greet Amasa, he slipped the dagger from its sheath.*

9 “How are you, my cousin?” Joab said and took him by the beard with his right hand as though to kiss him. 10 Amasa didn’t notice the dagger in his left hand, and Joab stabbed him in the stomach with it so that his insides gushed out onto the ground. Joab did not need to strike again, and Amasa soon died. Joab and his brother Abishai left him lying there and continued after Sheba.

[One of Joab’s troops then calls all the troops to follow Joab, and Joab resumes control of the charge. They end up catching up with him and putting down the revolt]

2 Sam 21

Briefly tell the story of the Gibeonites…

2 Sam 24

1 Now again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

2 The king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Go about now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and register the people, that I may know the number of the people.”

3 But Joab said to the king, “Now may the LORD your God add to the people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my lord the king still see; but why does my lord the king delight in this thing?”

10 But after he had taken the census, David’s conscience began to bother him. And he said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt, LORD, for doing this foolish thing.”

11 The next morning the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, who was David’s seer. This was the message: 12 “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the LORD says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’ ”

13 So Gad came to David and asked him, “Will you choose three* years of famine throughout your land, three months of fleeing from your enemies, or three days of severe plague throughout your land? Think this over and decide what answer I should give the LORD who sent me.”

14 “I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great. Do not let me fall into human hands.”

[But God relents when the angel reaches the land of this one guy right outside Jerusalem]

17 When David saw the angel, he said to the LORD, “I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? Let your anger fall against me and my family.”

David Builds an Altar

18 That day Gad came to David and said to him, “Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”

19 So David went up to do what the LORD had commanded him. 20 When Araunah saw the king and his men coming toward him, he came and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 21 “Why have you come, my lord the king?” Araunah asked.

David replied, “I have come to buy your threshing floor and to build an altar to the LORD there, so that he will stop the plague.”

22 “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and you can use the threshing boards and ox yokes for wood to build a fire on the altar. 23 I will give it all to you, Your Majesty, and may the LORD your God accept your sacrifice.”

24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver* for the threshing floor and the oxen.

25 David built an altar there to the LORD and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the LORD answered his prayer for the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

In 24:24 David says: “I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing.” Q: Why was this so important to David?

Then read David’s Psalm

2 Sam 22

1 David sang this song to the LORD on the day the LORD rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul.

[Which probably fits here in his life. After the business with Absolom and Sheba and the Gibeonites (and the remaining judgment on Saul’s family)]

2 He sang: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;

3 my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.

4 I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies.

[He goes on to talk about all how awesome God is and all the things God has saved him from. It’s like the intersection between God’s power and faithfulness and all of the trouble God has saved him from. And looking back on David’s life you really see that. This guy has had problems.]

29 O LORD, you are my lamp. The LORD lights up my darkness.

30 In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.

31 “God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

32 For who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is a solid rock?

And then the Summary of David’s Mighty Men And Final Analysis of David’s Life and Leadership

Briefly contrast David and Saul.

Saul was taken out of leadership and his whole family with him.

But David was God’s man. And he was given an eternal dynasty (including Christ)

We want to talk a bit about what makes someone fit to be God’s leader.


  • Failed to carry out the instructions of God completely
  • Disqualified from leadership forever


  • Adultery
  • Murder
  • Poor father
  • Vicious
  • Poor role model
  • Declared to be “a man after God’s heart” and renowned forever as father of Messiah

What makes a person a good leader?

Look at the quality of the people following them…

The three

8 These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors.

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.

9 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah.

Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled.

10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the LORD gave him a great victory that day.

The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!

11 Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar.

One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled,

12 but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the LORD brought about a great victory.

[skip the water story till later]

The thirty

18 Abishai son of Zeruiah, 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.

Abishai was the most famous of the Thirty and was their commander, though he was not one of the Three.

20 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.

21 Once, armed only with a club, he killed a great Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear.

Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it.

22 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors.

23 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.

Water story:

13 Once during the harvest, when David was at 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.

14 David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.

15 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.”

16 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 he refused to drink it.

Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the LORD.

17 “The LORD 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.

Q: Why do you think David responded this way?


  • Sooner or later a leader is going to have an opportunity to use their influence with others for self-advantage
  • This was Saul’s problem—not rape, plunder and murder
  • He could get others to follow him, but he couldn’t get himself to follow God!

v. 24ff – Other members of the thirty included: Asahel, Joab’s brother; Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem; Shammah from Harod…

[and the list goes on and on until you get to verse 38]

38 Ira from Jattir; Gareb from Jattir;

39 Uriah the Hittite.

There were thirty-seven in all.

Come on now. Why did you have to mention Uriah. We all remember this story from a few weeks ago… [briefly recap story if time]

What’s the point? Why bring him up? Because this is the difference between David and Saul.

  • 32:1-2 – Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.

You must be able to lead based on the grace of God!

  • You won’t be perfect as a leader
  • But will you be able to stand under the grace of God alone?

Conclude with two verses from David’s last words in 2 Sam 23:1, 5

23:1 “David, the son of Jesse, speaks—David, the man who was raised up so high, David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, David, the sweet psalmist of Israel.

23:5 “Is it not my family God has chosen? Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me. His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail. He will ensure my safety and success.