First Chronicles, Chapter 11|
All Israel assembled and came to David at Hebron.
"We are your own flesh and blood," they said.
In the past, while Saul was still king, it was you that led the forces of Israel on their campaigns. To you the Lord your God said, "You are to be shepherd of my people Israel, you are to be their prince."
The elders of Israel all came to the king at Hebron; there David made a covenant with them before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel, as the Lord had said through the lips of Samuel.
David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, that is Jebus, where the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the region, lived. The people of Jebus said to David, "You will never come in here." None the less David did capture the stronghold of Zion, and it is now known as the City of David.
David had said, "The first man to kill a Jebusite will become a commander or an officer," and the first man to go up and kill was Joab, son of Zeruiah; so he was given the command.
David took up residence in the stronghold: that is why it was called the City of David. He built the city around it.
David started at the Millo and included its neighborhood, while Joab constructed the rest of the city. David steadily grew more and more powerful, for the Lord of Hosts was with him.
These were the chief of David's heroes, men who lent their full strength to his government and, with all Israel, joined in making him king; such was the Lord's decree for Israel. First came Jereboam, the Hachmonite, chief of the three; it was he who brandished his spear over three hundred, all slain at one time. Next to him came Eleazer son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the heroic three. He was with David at Pas-dammin, where the Philistines had gathered for battle in a field carrying a good crop of barley. He stood his ground in the field, defended it, and defeated them. So the Lord brought about a great victory.
Three of the thirty chiefs went down to the rock to join David at the cave of Adullam, while the Philistines were encamped in the valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold, and a Philistine garrison held Bethlehem. One day David expressed with longing, "If only I could have a drink of water from the well by the gate of Bethlehem!" At this the three made their way through the Philistine lines and drew water from the well by the gate of Bethlehem and brought it to David. But he refused to drink it; he poured it out to the Lord, saying "God forbid that I should do such a thing!" "Can I drink the blood of these men?" "They have brought it at the risk of their lives." So he would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the heroic three.
Abishai the brother of Joab was chief of the thirty; he it was who brandished his spear over three hundred dead. He was famous among the thirty. He surpassed in reputation the rest of the thirty; he became their captain but he did not rival the three.
Benaiah son of Jehoiada, from Kabzeel, was a hero of many exploits. It was he who slew the two champions of Moab, and who once more went down into a pit and killed a lion on a snowy day. He also killed an Egyptian, a giant seven and half feet high armed with a spear as big as the beam of a loom. Behaiah went to meet him with a club, wrested the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and killed him with his own weapon. Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoida, famous among the heroic thirty. He was more famous than the rest of the thirty, but he did not rival the three. David appointed him to his household.
Paraphrase by Pat Conoer based on the Revised English Bible