Gilbert House Fellowship #388: 2 Samuel 23; Psalm 57

GIVING THANKS in the middle of trouble is difficult, even contrary to our nature. But David did it again and again, even when he was surrounded by enemies—not all of which were human. 

This week, we discuss a preview of the last words of David juxtaposed with a psalm he probably wrote while hiding from Saul at the cave of Adullam. The “lions” and “fiery beasts” of Psalm 57:4, while linked to “the children of man,” suggests that David was looking beyond the physical realm. 

We also discuss David’s mighty men in 2 Samuel 23. This is a reminder that the Hebrew word gibborim does not always refer to literal genetic descendants of the rebellious “sons of God” in Genesis 6, but, as Sharon notes, may have been men raised in the Rephaim-worshiping culture of the Philistines and Canaanites, like the Philistine “sons of the Rapha” of 2 Samuel 21 and 1 Chronicles 20. 

We also discuss the mysterious ariels (or “lion-like men”) of Moab (2 Sam. 23:20). The Hebrew word ariel literally means “lion of God” (or “lion of El”). It appears 16 times in the Old Testament and once on the Moabite Stone, the inscription by King Mesha of Moab celebrating his victories over Israel and the tribe of Gad. 

The “lion-like men” were probably renowned warriors rather than supernatural beings. The passage is difficult to translate, and it may mean the men were from a town in Moab named Ariel, or even that the two Moabites were the sons of a man named Ariel. 

It’s not as interesting as interpreting the verse as meaning two hybrid lion-men, but that’s where the evidence leads. 

Links mentioned during the program: 

  • The Unseen Realm by Dr. Michael Heiser:
  • Supernatural by Dr. Michael Heiser:
  • The Unseen Realm: A Question and Answer Companion by Doug Van Dorn:

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