During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the LORD. The LORD said, "It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death."
The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to [spare] them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.)
David asked the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? How shall I make amends so that you will bless the LORD's inheritance?"
The Gibeonites answered him, "We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death." "What do you want me to do for you?" David asked.
They answered the king, "As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel,
let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and exposed before the LORD at Gibeah of Saul-- the Lord's chosen one." So the king said, "I will give them to you."
The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the LORD between David and Jonathan son of Saul.
But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah's daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite.
He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed and exposed them on a hill before the LORD. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.
Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds of the air touch them by day or the wild animals by night.
When David was told what Aiah's daughter Rizpah, Saul's concubine, had done,
he went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had taken them secretly from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.)
David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.
They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul's father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.
Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted.
And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new [sword], said he would kill David.
But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David's rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David's men swore to him, saying, "Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished."
In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha.
In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod.
In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot-- twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha.
When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David's brother, killed him.
These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.
David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.
He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent men you save me.
I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.
"The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.
"The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.
He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his canopy around him-- the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth.
The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.
He shot arrows and scattered [the enemies], bolts of lightning and routed them.
The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils.
"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
"The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God.
All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.
I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.
The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.
"To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great.
You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.
"I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.
You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.
You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them-- to the LORD, but he did not answer.
I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets.
"You have delivered me from the attacks of my people; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know are subject to me,
and foreigners come cringing to me; as soon as they hear me, they obey me.
They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.
"The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!
He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me,
who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me.
Therefore I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.
He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever."
These are the last words of David: "The oracle of David son of Jesse, the oracle of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel's singer of songs:
"The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: 'When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God,
he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.'
"Is not my house right with God? Has he not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part? Will he not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire?
But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns, which are not gathered with the hand.
Whoever touches thorns uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear; they are burned up where they lie."
These are the names of David's mighty men: Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.
Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered [at Pas Dammim] for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated,
but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.
Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel's troops fled from them.
But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory.
During harvest time, three of the thirty chief men came down to David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim.
At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem.
David longed for water and said, "Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!"
So the three mighty men broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD.
"Far be it from me, O LORD, to do this!" he said. "Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?" And David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty men.
Abishai the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah was chief of the Three. He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three.
Was he not held in greater honor than the Three? He became their commander, even though he was not included among them.
Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.
And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear.
Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty men.
He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.
Among the Thirty were: Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem,
Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,
Helez the Paltite, Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa,
Abiezer from Anathoth, Mebunnai the Hushathite,
Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,
Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin,
Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai from the ravines of Gaash,
Abi-Albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,
Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan
son of Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite,
Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite, Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
Hezro the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,
Igal son of Nathan from Zobah, the son of Hagri,
Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah,
Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite
and Uriah the Hittite. There were thirty-seven in all.
Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.
We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.
We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia-- your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,
for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,
and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead-- Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.