Cling to the Sword (2 Samuel 23:10)

He arose and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword, and the LORD brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to strip [the slain].

2 Samuel 23:10

2 Samuel 23 is a recounting of David’s mighty men and some of their great deeds. This particular occurrence is credited to Eleazar the son of Dodo. I’m not super concerned with the greatness of his military exploit, despite the fact that him being the guy who ran into battle while everyone else was running away from it is pretty impressive. There are two things that always come to mind when I think about this guy: (1) What Eleazar did and (2) What God did with Eleazer’s actions.

What Eleazar did was to wade into the fray when everyone else was wading out. That was the beginning. He chose to fight, not to give in. Many people in The Bible do as much, so that, by itself, is not singular. But he held on to his sword so long and so hard that his hand clung to the sword. I love that imagery. I love the impression of a warrior standing amidst his slain enemies with a hand that will not unclench from around the hilt of his sword. It’s as if the muscles of his hand are frozen in that place. In the NT, Paul speaks of the sword of the Spirit; the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Whenever I think of Eleazar and his great exploit, I am reminded that I need to cling to the sword. I need to hold fast to the word of God. Times grow darker and people who profess to teach the truth steep themselves in lies and the only way I will know truth from lies is to be constantly in the truth; God’s word is truth (John 17:17).

What God did is take Eleazar wading into battle and Eleazar’s hand desperately clutching his sword and turn that into victory. The actual word, my footnotes tell me, is salvation. God’s word in the hands of those willing to enter the fray can, by God’s grace, bring salvation.

I’m sure that the foregoing is nothing new. But I’m equally sure that I need to be reminded that I must cling to the word of God if I am to see God bring about salvation. Both my own and the salvation of others.


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