2 Samuel 23:13 During harvest time, three of the thirty chief warriors came down to David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. 15 David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 16 So the three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord. 17 “Far be it from me, Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it.

Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors.

18 Abishai the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah was chief of the Three.[e] He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three. 19 Was he not held in greater honor than the Three? He became their commander, even though he was not included among them.

20 Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 21 And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. 22 Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty warriors. 23 He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

24 Among the Thirty were:

Asahel the brother of Joab,

Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem,

25 Shammah the Harodite,

Elika the Harodite,

26 Helez the Paltite,

Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa,

27 Abiezer from Anathoth,

Sibbekai[f] the Hushathite,

28 Zalmon the Ahohite,

Maharai the Netophathite,

29 Heled[g] son of Baanah the Netophathite,

Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin,

30 Benaiah the Pirathonite,

Hiddai[h] from the ravines of Gaash,

31 Abi-Albon the Arbathite,

Azmaveth the Barhumite,

32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite,

the sons of Jashen,

Jonathan 33 son of[i] Shammah the Hararite,

Ahiam son of Sharar[j] the Hararite,

34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maakathite,

Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,

35 Hezro the Carmelite,

Paarai the Arbite,

36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah,

the son of Hagri,[k]

37 Zelek the Ammonite,

Naharai the Beerothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah,

38 Ira the Ithrite,

Gareb the Ithrite

39 and Uriah the Hittite.

There were thirty-seven in all.

e. 2 Samuel 23:18 Most Hebrew manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:20); two Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac Thirty
f. 2 Samuel 23:27 Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 21:18; 1 Chron. 11:29); Hebrew Mebunnai
g. 2 Samuel 23:29 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Vulgate (see also 1 Chron. 11:30); most Hebrew manuscripts Heleb
h. 2 Samuel 23:30 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:32) Hurai
i. 2 Samuel 23:33 Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:34); Hebrew does not have son of.
j. 2 Samuel 23:33 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:35) Sakar
k. 2 Samuel 23:36 Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 11:38); Hebrew Haggadi

Well, this is from Bibletrack.org.

David lists their accomplishments, many of whom we read about in the Samuels. He even tops it off at the end by giving special recognition to Uriah the Hittite. Hmmmmm...where have we heard that name before? That's right, Bathsheba's first husband. When you read about Uriah in II Samuel 11, you must admit that this was a great fighting warrior for Israel.

Do you see a name missing in this list? While Joab is mentioned in verses 18, 24 and 37, it is only to provide context with regard to his relatives and associations. He does not make the list of the great men of battle. As a matter of fact, David directs Solomon to have him executed after he's gone in I Kings 2:5-6. Joab rescued David over and over again from his enemies, but David resented him; David did not like Joab's tactics. What's more, Joab was responsible for the execution of David's son, Absalom, back in II Samuel 18:1-18.

There are a few verses in this chapter that blueletterbible.org covers pretty well.

David said with longing, "Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem": During this time David had a nostalgic longing for the taste of water from a well near his boyhood home.

The three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem: In response to David's longing - which wasn't a command or even a request, just a vocalized longing - these three mighty men immediately went to fulfill David's desire at great personal risk.

He would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD: David was so honored by the self-sacrifice of these three mighty men he felt that the water was too good for him - and worthy to be poured out in sacrifice to the LORD. He believed that the great sacrifice of these men could only be honored by giving the water to the LORD.

I do not like those verses. When I read them... I think... what a waste. What if one of those men had lost his life getting that water from the well when the Philistines [Palestinians] had control of Bethlehem. David would have probably gone into a deep depression and lamented through five psalms if one of those men had died trying to do something for him. But... he just poured the water on the ground????? To me... it's mean... self centered... and just cruel.... those men risked their lives for that water.

I have to say it.... it's not part of the Bible Study.... but I have to get this off my chest or it will bug me all day....

Good people do good things and have those good things shoved back in their faces [or poured out into the dirt] every day. Some people do the wrong thing for the right reason [like getting him a drink of water when he was really only dreaming of the simplicity of life as a shepherd boy]. People are sure it's right.... it'll save lives or it'll make life better.... but what if they're wrong? David was only daydreaming... and those guys put their lives at risk.... right cause... wrong battle.