Daniel Agee

2nd Samuel 23:8-39: Shadows of Messiah in David’s ‘mighty men’

The names and biographies of David’s 37 “mighty men” are recounted here. These men are not listed in chronological order of their service to King David. They are listed in a particular order to relay a very profound message about the life’s mission of the Messiah. The Messiah’s story is hiding in plain sight. 

Parallel passage: 1st Chron. 11:10-47

David had 37 “mighty men” (gibborim, Strong’s lexicon No. H1368) during his reign and their difficult to pronounce and unfashionable names are easy to glaze over as we speed read through God’s word, but there’s a lot of information in here. Our English translations transliterate these names the best they can. 

These men were very talented killers, and they were good at their job. They did not fear the enemy, they didn’t fear death, they didn’t even fear David. They feared and trusted in God alone. They are like David and there was a reason they gravitated towards David. 

Shadows in the names of David’s ‘mighty men’

The first three mentioned are the most renowned of David’s mighty men. The other men in this list are compared to the first three. You read the phrase “(he) did not attain to the first three” a couple of times. Remember that the number 3 has Messianic significance. 

We read here that there were 37 great fighting men, but there are 36 names. Whose name is missing? The glaring omission is the name of Yoab (Joab), the Commander of David’s army. If Yoab was the compiler of the list, he may have purposefully left his own name off the list for the sake of modesty.

Let’s go over the names, some of them are easily translatable. Some have a more difficult meaning but once you put them together, the story that emerges closely chronicles what the  tell us about Yeshua’s arrest, suffering, death and resurrection as well as 

David’s top three ‘mighty men’

These first three men are (2nd Sam. 23:8–12) given as examples of those who “stood between life and death” and should have died, yet lived. They were expert fighting men facing off against experience fighting men. All the other men in the list are compared to these first three men. That is how important these men were to David. These three men are men who fought against such over-whelming odds that they should have died and did not. They stood between life and death and lived. They faced experienced killers and prevailed. 

  1. Yosheb-baShebet (Josheb-basshebeth), a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains.
    • He was called Adino the Eznite, he killed 800 men at one time.
    • In other words, Yosheb-baShebet  is his title.
    • The name Yosheb-baShebet means “the one who sat in the assembly, a sagacious man” chief of the captains
    • His other name Adino the Eznite means “Bond to the Wooden One”
  2. Eleazar, the son of Dodo the Ahohite, whose name means, “Helper of Love of Brotherhood”
  3. Shammah, the son of Agee, Hararite means, “Hear the Flame you Mountains” 

Together, these three men snuck into the Philistine camp to bring back water from the well of Bethlehem for David. 

They went through death to get water from Bethlehem and brought it back to their king. The king takes the water and pours it out on the ground to God. David understood that these men risked their lives to bring back that water for him. Just as a person is not to drink blood, David felt he could not drink this water and instead pour it out on the ground like blood. (Lev. 17:13-16) This is a shadow of Messiah’s death on the cross as water and blood poured out of His side and spilled on the ground. 

Abishai and Benaiah

The next two men mentioned are: 

  • Abishai, the brother (ach, Strong’s H251) of Joab, the son of Zeruiah (2nd Sam. 23:18–19).
  • Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel (2nd Sam. 23:20–23).

Their names have a messianic significance as well.

Abishai brother of Joab of Zeruiah’s name means, “Father’s gift relative of one Fathered by Yahua,” Wounded a chief of three he awoke his lance over three hundred and pierced his place among three. Yeshua the Messiah is the one who was uniquely fathered by God. Yeshua was the “wounded cheif of three” meaning the over two men crucified with Him. The Roman centurion stabbed with a lance and He established His place as being the greatest of the three who were killed that day. This phrase has even more meaning but when you combine it with Benaniah’s name, its Messianic significance becomes obvious. 

Benaniah’s name means, “ YHWH (the LORD) has built a son that YHWH knows” He was a “forceful man out of those God has gathered abundantly to strike two lionlike men from their father. He went down to strike a lion to sever a pit (death) in time of whiteness.” The Messianic reference is that the son of God kills two sons of the “father of lies”: death and the grave. 

The next verse mentions that Benaniah killed a “spectacular” Egyptian with the Egyptian’s own weapon. Yeshua killed death with death. This verse can be described as “ YHWH has built a son that YHWH knows a position of three powerful warriors.  

Shadows of Yeshua’s suffering and death

  • Asahel related to Joab is “God has made a relative fathered by YHWH.
  • Elhanan of Dodo, was a “Gracious son of Love of Bethlehem”
  • Shammath the Harodite “Hear and shudder in fear”
  • Ekika the Harodiate, “God of rejection—Shudder and fear” 
  • Helez the Paltite: “One who was stripped and delivered”
  • Ira, son of Ikkesh the Tekoite: “Awake the son of falsehood with a trumpet”
  • How did Yeshua “wake up” haSatan with a trumpet?

At this point, the meanings of their names and titles change in tone and the shadows become a little more difficult, but gives us a story of Yeshua’s suffering and death.

  • Abieszer the Anethothite, “Father of help/answer” Yeshua kept asked God to help Him and answer Him. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Ps. 22, Matthew 27:45-46) 
  • Mebunnai the Hushathite, “built in haste”
  • Zalmon the Ahohite, “shady/covered brotherhood” Yeshua covered His brothers (mankind) 
  • Mahri the Netophathite “haste the oozing” Yeshua asked God to make the affliction go as quickly as possible. 
  • Heleb, son of Baanah, a Nethophathite, “fatness (best) the son in affliction of oozing”
  • Hittai, son of Bibai of Gineah of Benhamin, “Near is the son of contention of the hill, the son of the right hand.” 
  • Benaiah the Pirathonite: “ YHWH has built a chieftan”
  • Hiddai of Brooks of Gaash: “[Rejoicing/Glory of Yahua or white/brightness] out of quaking” 
  • Abialbon the Arbathite “father of strength of House of desert” or House of Judah. The land of Judah was a desert. 
  • Azmaveth the Barhumite “strong one of death, a young man”

Shadows of Yeshua’s second coming

Now the tone changes again. These go from Yeshua’s suffering to His death, resurrection to and second coming.

  • Eliahba the Shaalbonite “My God will hide in foxholes”
  • Son of Jashen, Jonathan: “Sleep Yahua’s given one”
  • Shammah the Hararite “Hear in the mountains”
  • Ahaim, son of Sharar the Hararite “Uncle (my mother’s brother) of hostile mountains” 
  • Eliphelet son of Abasbai from Maachath “My God of deliverance, the [light that’s sought/searched out] who was pierced”
  • Eliam, son of Atithophel from Gilon, “God of the people, son of brothers folly are brought open”
  • Herzrai from Carmel: “Encloser, fruitful”
  • Paarai from Arbi “Yawning ambush”
  • Igal son of Nathan from Zobah: “Avenger given a place or a station”
  • Bani from Gad: “Built a crowd to attack”
  • Selek from Ammon: “split a tribe”
  • Naharai from Beeroth, armor bearer to Joab of Zeuah: “Sleeping wells (dead) bear the armor of the one YHWH fathered, the wounded one.” 
  • Irah from Ithra: “Wakefulness the excess (remnant)”
  • Garab from Ithra: “Scabby/itchy excess/remnant” 
  • Uriah the Hittite: “Flame/light of YHWH, a terror”

Reader: Dave DeFever. Speaker: Daniel Agee. Summary: Tammy.


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