King David’s Mighty Warriors
“Now these are the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel.”1 Chronicles 11:10
The sling hummed as it sliced through the air. It spun faster.
Fingers released one leather strap. The metal ball cut through the air. It wizzed sixty feet before striking the wood with a thunk. A rough bullseye was painted on the column. Splinters of wood surrounded a new hole in the center.
The man didn’t acknowledge the shot. He walked with a slow calm to the next position. He ran his fingers through his grey hair. He now had a direct view of his target. His breathing was steady. He was embracing the focus.
He took hold of the polished axe handle, letting the metal head slide down until it was just above the ground. He heftted the weapon in his hand, feeling the weight. He stared at the target and considered. He seemed to be visualizing his mark.
He stood with a wide stance. The axe was held between his legs like a pendulum; both of his hands were on the axe handle. He swung it back and forth with a gentle motion, building momentum.
Then, in one explosive motion, he put power into the swing. He pushed the swing backward. At the same time, he took one step forward.
On his second and third step, the heavy blade was swinging up and forward, over his head.
The blade flew in circles.
The axe buried itself deep in the wooden target. You could no longer see the previous hole left by the sling.
The man grunted.
Isbaal and Shammah leaned against the wooden fence, watching Eleaza practice. Both had smiled when Eleaza hit his target with each previous throw. It was like watch a master artist with his brushes.
He is now standing at the third post, forty-five degrees right of his target. On the platform is a gleaming throwing knife. He fingers the blade for a moment.
Finally, he spoke loud enough to be heard. He didn’t turn to face his friends. “I can’t fight again.”
Isbaal nodded, bowing his head. “I told him that.”
Eleaza pleaded, motioning with both hands, “It is a request from Commander Abishai.”
Eleaza sighed and looked at the blade, now in his hand. “There was just so much blood. David and I fought for hours.”
Isbaal nodded again. “I know.”
“It was horrible.”
“They wouldn’t stop coming.”
“At the end, I could not open my fist and drop my sword.”
Eleaza pulled back and let fly with the knife. At first, it looked like another direct hit. It glanced off the wooden target and bounced into the grass. Eleaza stared where it landed, saying nothing.
Isbaal sighed. “The Three are summoned.”
Shammah added, “And you promised.”
Eleaza’s forehead creased. “Yes.” He shook his head. “And then there’s that.” Finally, he looked back at his two friends. “Let’s get going, then.”