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Eleazar was one of David’s mighty men. Eleazar must have been incredibly tenacious. He wasn’t going to give up ground to the enemy under any circumstance. Eleazar is listed among David’s mighty men—an elite group of valiant warriors who distinguished themselves in battle in various ways (1 Samuel 23; 1 Chronicles 11).
Apparently the deed that vaulted Eleazar into this group was his unrelenting defense of a barley field during a battle with the Philistines.
It is not certain exactly which battle was being fought when Eleazar stood his ground. The Bible says it occurred at Pas Dammim, which is the same location where young David defeated the Philistine giant Goliath. It is located in the valley of Elah, a shallow valley in the foothills that lie between Philistia and the hill country of Israel.
Nevertheless, at some point in the battle, the Israelites withdrew from the field, but Eleazar stood his ground and struck down so many Philistines that his hand grew weary and apparently clung to the sword even after the battle was over. The Israelites defeated the Philistines in battle that day (2 Samuel 23:9–10; 1 Chronicles 11:12–14).
Because the fertile valley of Elah formed a natural pathway between Philistia and Israel, both people groups vied for control over it. The Philistine city of Gath stood at the western end of the valley, while the Israelite city of Azekah stood at a key bend in the middle.