One of the advantages of a free society is that you can rise to your own level. You are not restricted by what your parents did, to doing that and nothing else the rest of your life. And according to your skill, your drive, your talents, good health, and perhaps good friends (or connections) you can make your own way in life.
It was that way in David's time as well. The primary skill that was needed and lauded, was that of being brave, and being able to defeat the enemy in battle. Wars happened every spring. The outcome of the war led to either poverty, slavery and death on the one hand, or victory, extraordinary wealth, glory, and accumulation of land, goods, slaves, cattle, etc. on the other hand.
So the warriors were the undisputed heroes of the land.
Here are David's fighters:
38 -40 "All these soldiers came to David at Hebron, ready to fight if necessary; they were both united and determined to make David king over all Israel. And everyone else in Israel was of the same mind—"Make David king!"
"battle-seasoned warriors who came down from the north to David at Hebron to hand over Saul's kingdom... carrying shield and spear.. battle-ready... stalwart fighters... fierce fighters and famous in their hometowns... well-equipped veteran warriors, unswervingly loyal... men heavily armed.. veterans, battle-ready... heavily armed." (I Chronicles 12:23 -37)
Soldiers worth 1000 men.
8 -15 "There were some Gadites there who had defected to David at his wilderness fortress; they were seasoned and eager fighters who knew how to handle shield and spear. They were wild in appearance, like lions, but as agile as gazelles racing across the hills... These Gadites were the cream of the crop—any one of them was worth a hundred lesser men, and the best of them were worth a thousand." (I Chronicles 12:8-15).
Among the Mighty Men
1 -2 "These are the men who joined David in Ziklag; it was during the time he was banished by Saul the son of Kish; they were among the Mighty Men, good fighters. They were armed with bows and could sling stones and shoot arrows either right or left-handed."
The Mighty Men:
22 -25 "Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a Mighty Man from Kabzeel with many exploits to his credit: he killed two famous Moabites; he climbed down into a pit and killed a lion on a snowy day; and he killed an Egyptian, a giant seven and a half feet tall. The Egyptian had a spear like a ship's boom but Benaiah went at him with a mere club, tore the spear from the Egyptian's hand, and killed him with it. These are some of the things Benaiah son of Jehoiada did. But he was never included with the Three. He was highly honored among the Thirty, but didn't measure up to the Three. David put him in charge of his personal bodyguard.
26 -47 The Mighty Men of the military were Asahel brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem, Shammoth the Harorite..." (I Chronicles 11)
"Jashobeam son of Hacmoni was chief of the Thirty. Singlehandedly he killed three hundred men, killed them all in one skirmish.
20 -21 Abishai brother of Joab was the chief of the Thirty. Singlehandedly he fought three hundred men, and killed the lot, but he never made it into the circle of the Three. He was highly honored by the Thirty—he was their chief—still, he didn't measure up to the Three. " (I Chronicles 11).
This is a pretty impressive list of mighty men. Yet it gets better...
The Big Three:
15 -19 "The Big Three from the Thirty made a rocky descent to David at the Cave of Adullam while a company of Philistines was camped in the Valley of Rephaim. David was holed up in the Cave while the Philistines were prepared for battle at Bethlehem. David had a sudden craving: "What I wouldn't give for a drink of water from the well in Bethlehem, the one at the gate!" The Three penetrated the Philistine camp, drew water from the well at the Bethlehem gate, shouldered it, and brought it to David. And then David wouldn't drink it! He poured it out as a sacred offering to God, saying, "I'd rather be damned by God than drink this! It would be like drinking the lifeblood of these men—they risked their lives to bring it." So he refused to drink it. These are the kinds of things that the Big Three of the Mighty Men did.
12 -14 Next was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite, one of the Big Three of the Mighty Men. He was with David at Pas Dammim, where the Philistines had mustered their troops for battle. It was an area where there was a field of barley. The army started to flee from the Philistines and then took its stand right in that field—and turned the tide! They slaughtered the Philistines, God helping them—a huge victory." (I Chronicles 11)
The Lead General:
"David had said, "The first person to kill a Jebusite will be commander-in-chief." Joab son of Zeruiah was the first; and he became the chief." (I Chronicles 11)
David himself was a Mighty Man, someone with the courage, strength, boldness and skill to engender the respect and loyalty of all these amazing warriors.
So how do you rate? Have you risen to the level you should be at? Are you satisfied with where you are in life? Are your talents, skills and energy being appropriately rewarded where you are? Or should you claim your spot among the "mighty men"?