David’s courage as a warrior is legendary. His bravery was evident even during his teenage years when he faced down and defeated the Philistine giant Goliath. But a good military leader needs more than personal courage. Above all. he must be able to recruit, motivate, and deploy an army. King David excelled in these abilities.

No passage in the Bible illustrates this better than chapters 11 and 12 of the book of 1 Chronicles. Chapter 11 gives the names of all the warrior referred to in some translations as David’s “mighty men.” These troops were apparently an elite unit of fighting men known for their valor in battle.

Another list of soldiers who joined David’s army when he was recognized as king of all Israel appears in 1 Chronicles 12:23-37. These warriors, enumerated in round numbers tribe by tribe, brought the king’s army to a combined total of more than three hundred thousand.

This huge fighting forced served David well during his tenure as Israel’s king. Under his leadership, they defeated the nation’s major enemies, including the Philistines, the Ammonites and Arameans, the Moabites, the Edomites, and a territory known as Zobah. The king’s multiple victories are summed up in one succinct sentence: “The LORD gave victory to David wherever he went” (2 Sam 8:14).

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