3: A Meeting at Dawn

King David’s Mighty Men

Closeup of camp fire
Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

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 sun was peaking over the mountains as The Three approached the tent. The sentry at the door did a double-take as his eyes fell on Isbaal. His large frame and knowing blue eyes were hard to miss.

Then his eyes fell on his two companions. He goggled and moved his mouth, trying to look for words. Only a squeak come from his lips. Cheeks burning, he bowed low. He swept aside the tent flap with a flourish. He kept his eyes fixed at the ground.

They entered the tent by seniority. First Isbaal, then Eleaza, and finally Shammah. Shammah slowed his pace as he entered. The sentry looked up to meet his eyes with a gulp.

Shammah flashed him a smile. “Good work, soldier. I appreciate your service.”

The sentry smiled wide and looked down again.

A large table filled the center of the tent. It was crowded and overflowing with maps of charcoal and paint. Commander Abishai stood with his back to The Three, all of his attention focused in front of him. He was an imposing man. He didn’t have the girth of Isbaal, but he was still formidable.

The Three stood at attention, feet wide apart and arms crossed behind. The commander motioned them to approach.

Commander Abishai pointed at the largest map unrolled before him. “This is the Philistine city of Ekron.”

Isbaal nodded. “We know it.”

Abishai continued, “Our spies have informed us that they plan to attack us tomorrow at dawn.”

Isbaal smiled. “Let them come. Israel is strong. Surely the Lord will deliver us the victory. What do you need from us?”

“God has given us additional instructions.”

Excited, Shammah squeezed Eleaza’s shoulder.

“What does the Lord ask of us?” Eleaza was grim.

Abishai poked at the map. “The forces of Ekron are gathering in front of the city walls here.” The paper crinkled as he touched another area of the map. Sentries are posted along the wall here, here, and here. Other than that, opposition will be minimal.”

Isbaal frowned. “Get to the point.”

Shammah smiled and added, “With all due respect, Commander.”

Abishai’s eyes linger on Isbaal for a moment before continuing, “The Philistine Commander is staying inside the city walls here.” The paper puckered as an angry finger pressed hard on a large building at the center of the city.

Shammah grinned. Isbaal spoke up, “So we cut off the head. The Philistine army will not be effective tomorrow.”

Abishai nodded. “That is correct. Since their army is attacking at dawn, the mission needs to take place tonight.”

Eleaza nodded, his face a gray and serious. “That’s about forty or fifty miles away. We should start walking.”

Isbaal was already in motion. He turned on his heels and headed toward the tent flaps, “Amen, Commander. Consider the mission finished.”

Shammah jumped ahead of him and opened the tent flap before Isbaal had reached it.

The Three began on a brisk pace along the dirt road.

Isbaal looked sideways at his two friends.

“Who needs weapons?”

Eleaza patted his leather pockets. Chest. Hips. Legs.

“Never leave home without them,” he said in a low voice.

Shammah cracked his knuckles with a smile. “Neither do I.”

Isbaal put a hand on the sword at his hip. “God be with us.”

The Three walked the rest of the trip in silence.

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