David’s Mighty Men: The Other Band of Brothers

The famous mini-series Band of Brothers is a dramatic and powerful depiction of Easy Company, the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, where the U.S. Army engaged in the retaking of Western Europe from entrenched German forces during WW2. These men became a band of brothers as they fought and died next to each other in order to achieve their mission. They had a great leader, but the key ingredient in this regiment was they had a bond that created a relational synergy that was unstoppable. It was an all-for-one, and one-for-all troop of men.

But long before Easy Company there was another famous band of brothers that will forever resonate in my heart and mind. This other band of brothers was David and his 37 mighty men. Near the end of King David’s life he records an amazing tribute, by name, to each of these 37 mighty men in 2 Samuel 23:8-39.

David has long been recognized as an amazing man, though not perfect by any stretch. He was loyal to God, never forsaking Him or following after other gods – a true rarity. He was a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield, personally and as the leader of his army. He was a brilliant strategist both of his army and of Israel, the nation God entrusted to his leadership.

Besides those strengths, David has repeatedly been used as an example of a leader. His leadership capabilities are clear. He was strong, decisive, willing to make the hard calls, fearless in the face of adversity and had a heart that beat faithfully after His God. The list could go on and on. I have often heard David described as a strong, Lone Ranger kind of leader, but nothing could be further from reality. As mentioned above, at the end of his life he basically says, “I couldn’t have done any of it without these men – men who were also strong, capable, loyal and faithful, men who gave up their own ambitions and desires to be part of my team, men who stood by me in thick and thin. We were a band of brothers that made it possible for my leadership to be effective.”

These were “warrior” men who repeatedly put their lives on the line for David, and the purposes God had for David and the nation of Israel. These were men who had each other’s backs, no matter what the cost. These men were not only loyal to David, but to each other – to the greatest extent. Except for one occasion, you will never see any of these men do anything against one of his brothers. The one exception is when King David has Uriah set up to be killed by the enemy so David could take Uriah’s wife Bathsheba as his own wife. This is the only black spot on this troop of comrades, and it can be said that this one betrayal of his brothers was the beginning of the end for David’s effectiveness as King over Israel.

Other than this instance, what you see in the Scriptures is a team of men who would die for David and each other, and David would die for them. Do you have people in your life that would be willing to die for you? And an even bigger question: are there people in your life you would be willing to die for?

Are you a leader that has bought into the Lone Ranger idea of leadership, that “it’s lonely at the top”? God never designed us to live life alone, whether leader or not. Lone Ranger leadership is a ploy of Satan to separate us from our band of brothers so we can be picked off easier. God’s people and God’s kind of leaders, like King David, have their mighty men, their band of brothers, so to speak. This is the kind of leadership that is unforgettable and powerful. This kind of leadership will leave an indelible mark on all who come near it.

Dr. Rick Taylor

Dr. Rick Taylor

Equipping Director at The Well Community Church, international speaker, and author of The Anatomy of a Disciple.

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