Fifth in the Solomon Series
David's last words as king (2 Sam 23:1) were in tender remembrance of God's mercy to him, but his last words to Solomon were pointed, instructing him to keep God's commandments, and not to show mercy to certain men. (1 Kings 2:1-9)
To carry out David's behests, and to deal with the insurrectionists, a man would be needed. Benaiah was that man.
Benaiah was one of David's mighty men and the son of Jehoiada who was the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel in southern Judah.
There is some confusion when we hear the name, "Jehoiada," which also was the name of a famous priest who lived a number of generations after the time of Solomon. The purpose in distinguishing Benaiah as Jehoiada's son was that there were two Benaiahs among David's mighty men. The other one was Benaiah the Pirathonite. Pirathon was a town in Ephraim.
Benaiah was in charge of the Cherethites and Pelethites. The Cherethites were the guards of King David whose jobs were to carry out capital punishments and to convey the king's orders as fast as possible to those in the king's service. The Pelethites were couriers (Gesenius's Lexicon).
Of Benaiah, we have these verses: 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: 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. These [things] did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men. He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the [first] three. And David set him over his guard. 2Sa 23:20-23. (This description is repeated in 1 Ch 11:22-25.)
To sum up, his notable exploits were:
- Power to destroy, two against one — a sign of God's help.
- Bravery to come against the lion — ability and courage to defeat both men and wild beasts — and that in inclement weather!
- Superior reflexes to disarm the enemy — Benaiah was so quick that he killed a man with the man's own weapon, after snatching it from him by a staff.
His abilities showed the favor of God on his life. Why, then, did he not "attain to the first three"? God had unfinished business: He planned to raise him up and set him in a high place, but this would come during Solomon's reign.
Are you in second place or much lower even though your skills are excellent? Wait on the Lord to finish all his business.