He’s one of the supporting characters in the story of David. In fact, he’s only mentioned once when he’s listed among David’s “mighty men.” Yet, in the two sentences that describe him we can learn so much.
“He (Eleazar) was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.” (2 Sam 23:9-10)
We’re not told which specific battle it was, only that David was fighting the Philistines, and it wasn’t going well. In fact, the army of Israel had withdrawn from the battlefield. And that’s when one man acted in such a way that resulted in his name being remembered as “mighty.” Scripture records that Eleazar rose and struck down the enemy. In this context the word meant “to be established, remain, or to take a stand.” Some translations say that Eleazar “stood his ground.”
While Eleazar struck down the Philistines, the real story is that the Lord brought about a great victory that day. I love this picture…the army fled; one man stood alone – and the God of angel armies stayed on the battlefield with him…and as a result…there’s victory!
Unfortunately, as the end of v. 10 says, the troops that had earlier deserted Eleazar returned – not to help him in the battle – but to help themselves to the plunder. Sometimes, when you and God win a victory, others will want to lay claim to it or use it for their own gain. Men will fail us – we need not focus on them, but on the fact that God can/will use ONE faithful servant to accomplish great things. When others retreat, will you stand your ground? –Dave
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