David's Three And Thirty
King David's "mighty men" were a fiercely-loyal elite fighting unit of thirty men within the king's army. They also served as the king's bodyguard. Among "the thirty" were "the three."
"23:8 These be the names of the mighty men whom David had:
The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.
23:9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: 23:10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.
23:11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. 23:12 But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory." (2 Samuel 23:8-12 KJV)
"And David set him over his guard"
The thirty were not just the king's security force in the palace. They also served to protect David when he insisted on leading his army into battle.
"23:13 And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim. 23:14 And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
23:15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!
23:16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD. 23:17 And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it.
These things did these three mighty men." (2 Samuel 23:13-17 KJV)
The thirty were not just men of blood. They fought in an "honourable" manner against formidable enemy military forces in open battle.
"23:18 And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.
23:19 Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.
23:20 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow: 23:21 And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear. 23:22 These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men. 23:23 He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard." (2 Samuel 23:18-23 KJV)
Fact Finder: (a) How were (and are still to this day) kings elected? (b) Who elected King David?
(a) See Royal Democracy
(b) 1 Samuel 16:1 and see Israelite Monarchy - The Origin and The Civil War