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God’s Word for You

1 Chronicles 11:26-32 More mighty men

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, November 28, 2023

26 The mighty men of the armies were Asahel brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem,  27 Shammoth the Harorite, Helez the Pelonite,  28 Ira son of Ikkesh of Tekoa, Abiezer of Anathoth,  29 Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite,  30 Maharai of Netophah, Heled son of Baanah of Netophah,  31 Ithai son of Ribai of Gibeah of Benjamin, Benaiah of Pirathon,  32 Hurai of the ravines of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite,

These fourteen men were mostly Israelites. The first man named is Asahel. He died early in David’s reign as king, while David was still in Hebron. A skirmish broke out between the followers of Ishbosheth the pretender and David’s men. This was at Gibeon. Abner and the men of Ishbosheth were losing the battle when Abner turned and fled. Asahel, famous as a fast runner, chased after him and wouldn’t let him go. But Abner killed him with his spear, and Joab (Asahel’s brother) later stopped the battle. It was a victory for David, but Asahel was dead (2 Samuel 2:1-32).

Elhanan was from Bethlehem, and a man named Elhanan from Bethlehem killed a giant Philistine, the brother of Goliath, but that man was the son of Jair. This Elhanan was the son of Dodo, and while we have no great deed recorded for him, his inclusion in the list is enough of a credential.

Several of these hometowns were near Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Tekoa, Anathoth, Netophah and Gibeah are all neighboring villages. Gaash was a mountain in nearby Ephraim, the place where Joshua was buried (Judges 2:8-9). The last man in this passage, Abiel, was from Arba, probably Kiriath Arba, which is another name for Hebron, which was David’s capital in the early days and the place where Abraham’s wife Sarah had died a thousand years before (Genesis 23:1-2). We will see that the men from verses 31-37 are from Benjamin and towns to the north, while the men at the end of the list (verses 38-47) are mainly men of foreign nations, tribes, or cities.

The list parallels 2 Samuel 23:8-39. The author of the books of Samuel uses some different spellings. Was the man Hiddai from the ravines of Gaash, or Hurai from the ravines of Gaash? The difference is much like whether we call a man Rick or Dick, both shortened from Richard (I have two uncles with each version of that name—both of them attended my parents’ wedding). The list here in Chronicles is longer than the one in Samuel. This doesn’t need to concern us. They are both accurate. This doesn’t need to lead us to question the doctrine of divine inspiration. The two human authors of Chronicles and Samuel had different reasons for the way they present the same information.

The men who wrote the holy Scriptures wrote other things besides the books, letters and poems that we have, but only those that are the Word of God were written through the divine impulse and command. Therefore we do not need to wonder, for example, about Paul’s lost letter to the Laodicians (or their letter to Paul? Colossians 4:16). The thirteen epistles of Paul are inspired and are preserved for our good.

The Holy Spirit moved the writers of the Bible to write, and he also “suggested, inspired, and controlled what they wrote.” On the other side of this assertion, our Confession asks about those who deny it, “do they suppose that these words fell from the Holy Spirit unawares?” But while the Spirit gave all of the information in the Scriptures to the men who wrote it down, he also worked through their various gifts and talents. He used their grammar and vocabulary to present his true teaching. He used their method of writing prose or poetry to convey the same truth. But all of the words, and even the form of the words, fall from the lips of the Holy Spirit as they were written by the pens of the men who were inspired to write, as Peter proclaims: “Men spoke from God as they were being carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

“The Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared” (Proverbs 3:26).

“We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it” (2 Peter 1:19).

“I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in your word” (Psalm 119:42).

“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

We believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible simply because the Bible teaches it. Without it, we would question everything. With it, we have confidence, certainty, trust, and faith.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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