With uneven success ancient kings and modern rulers have hired mercenaries as fighters. It’s interesting that anointed-as-king, but still king-in-training, David led as difficult a group of fighting men as existed in his world: those “in distress or in debt or discontented....” I Samuel 22:2. Those 400 later increased to 600 I Samuel 27:2.
When anointed publicly as king in Hebron, II Samuel 5:3, then as king over a united Israel, II Samuel 5:1-5, his influence, by his conquests, grew exponentially over the eastern Mediterranean. Scattered members of the condemned Canaanites converted to Mosaic faith, among them one Uriah the Hittite. Others, such as Ittai the Gittite and his Philistine soldiers, and Pelethites and Kerethites from Crete, served as soldiers and his personal bodyguard. They may have been attracted to David during his 16 months in Gath I Samuel 27:7.
The pervasive difference in David over other kings, was the positive influence he had over all who came to serve under him. Indeed, as II Samuel 23 recounts, his Mighty Men achieved great success by following his example of faith in God. He established the model in slaying Goliath. They followed his example facing formidable, sometimes equal challenges.
Consider two examples. David received permission from God to lift the Philistine siege of Keilah I Samuel 23:1-2. When his men feared such an operation, he returned to God for a second time—just to assure them, not because he had any doubt. That established the principle of compassion for those who fear assuming what appears difficult, if not impossible, challenges. Take time to carefully answer questions, address skepticism and assure the people that God has spoken and can be trusted.
Two, David and 400 of his 600 man force continued pursuit of the Amalekites who had raided Ziklag and carried away all its personnel. The 200 were exhausted by the pursuit of some 10 miles to the Besor Ravine. The rest continued into the Negev and re-gained in battle all the kidnapped people.
The exultant victors, wives and children, carried back to the Besor all the plunder taken. When the 200 men left behind to guard David’s military equipment saw the returning entourage shouting in joy, they rushed to greet them.
And...to prove that no leader can escape unworthy followers, “all the evil men and troublemakers” of the 400 wanted to deprive the 200 of their share of the plunder. They would only give their wives and children back.
The first test of David’s new-life in faith, after his return from Philistia! And he met it successfully. He immediately vetoed their suggestion by his SINGLE vote against it. All would share equally in any victory gained. Those protecting the equipment and those fighting would be equal partners. That became the law in Israel.
That established the principle of innovative leadership where no previous decision had been reached. Only the one anointed as LEADER possesses the intuitive insight to make rules just and fair for all. End Part II