Editor’s note: Welcome to Campfire Scripture; Bible verses every week day with a very short manful devotional.
So pull up a stump, put the billy on and enjoy.
Book Author and Date:
(most likely) Ezra the priest, ~450-430 B.C. (Circa Israel’s return from exile)
History, Badassery, King David, Combat, Virtue ethics
The Jews have recently returned to their Homeland. They have just spent the last 70 years in exile.
Like my series on the Crusades, Ezra is regaling the exploits of the Jews greatest ever King (besides Christ), King David to gird up the loins of the returned exiles; to hoist their hearts to action and to remember the Lord’s promises to them.
This is a small verse set during the period shortly after David is crowned King.
The main reason I love this passage is just because in a single Bible verse Ezra managed to squeeze in the words: David, wilderness, mighty, valour (self reference win), battle, shield, spear, lions, swift, gazelle and mountains.
I just love the unsubtle admiration that Ezra writes with when describing David and his men of war. He had to remind the Jew’s that they were cool, and tough, and also remind them of the Lord’s promises to them. This verse clearly demonstrates the high regard that Ezra had for these men, not just their loyalty to David but their warrior ethos. They were fighters, and Ezra was appealing to this fact with vivid language and strong imagery, describing them a ‘lions’, ‘swift as gazelles’. He certainly wasn’t parading them around as compassionate men full of love and grace… well, at least not here anyway.
What is certain is that whilst values such as love and compassion are held in high esteem in scripture, so too are those highly masculine virtues such courage, honour, fighting skill, strength and speed, integrity and loyalty. In David’s men these virtues were not figurative either, they were literally courageous and honourable as soldiers in battle, fighting for the armies of the Lord.
David’s courage and raw masculinity was like a magnet for other men, other brave warriors flocked to him because they knew that he was worthy, as did these Gadites, these mighty men of valour.
All Campfire Scripture passages are taken from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise stated.
John MacArthur, 2006, The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (1995 edition).