Hunting lions wasn’t entertaining anymore. Benaiah spent his days walking hammer in hand hoping to find a bigger beast with sharper teeth and claws, the beast of his dreams; the beast of David’s nightmares. His armor adorned with the head of a lion and rubies to replace the eyes reflected like a painting in the riverbed.

Abishai stood across the river, fiddling with his bow. “Bet he’s still trying to master the dual-nock technique”, Benaiah thought with a smirk on his face. “If he would train with me, he could actually lift a hammer and destroy a philistine in battle.”

“Hail brother!” Abishai yelled.

“When will you learn that bows are for women and children?” Benaiah yelled back with a chuckle.

“A weapon does not make the warrior brother.” Abishai yelled. “A warrior’s power comes from God.”

”Tell that to my hammer,” Benaiah yelled as he raised his hammer above his head and smacked it to the ground, breaking it in half.

Benaiah would have been embarrassed, but he never showed weakness to any of the other Mighty Men. He was Benaiah, slayer of lions, defender of David, champion of Israel. He stared down at the hammer head. He stared down at the same artisan craftsmanship that saved him from a lion before. He stared into his own fear, being left without a weapon.

“Ben! Help!”

“Abishai?!”

Benaiah spotted a group of men across the river. One stood taller than all of them, almost double the size of the group. He wore a helmet with the beak of a falcon over the forehead.

“Egyptians! Feel the wrath of my hammer!” Benaiah raised his arms, but they moved swifter than ever before. He stared at the broken remnant of his hammer in shock. The Egyptians took Abishai, and all Benaiah could do was watch his brother be taken.

He had to tell the Thirty, the Three. He had to tell Ariella.

O O O

“Ariella, your brother—“ Benaiah spoke with barely a breath remaining.

“Captured? I know.” Ariella calmly replied.

“We need the men! We need weapons!” Benaiah shouted.

“Are you always this loud?” Ariella stated as if her brother was sleeping in the next room. “Rescue missions are my specialty. I can break into any city, any camp, any cell. Abishai will be home by dinner.”

“What are you suggesting!?” Benaiah shouted back with the force of a hammer.

“Stealth of course. Weapons are going to slow us down. Abishai needs us now. Are you coming along?” Ariella said as she walked toward the door. “Avoiding confrontation is always the key to victory.”

“I’ll go to no such place without a hammer.” Benaiah looked at the bows mounted to the walls.

“Good, I don’t have time to escort an oversized man child.” Ariella walked to the door.

“You won’t even know which direction to walk! We’ll have to find suitable weapons on the way.” Benaiah touted as if the entire plan was his idea.

O O O

The torches around the Egyptian city created ghostly shadows that waved back and forth. Coming upon a statue ten times their size, Ariella instructed Benaiah, “If we split up, we can find him faster.” She pointed to the left and snuck off.

Benaiah chose to walk the empty streets. The guards didn’t scare Benaiah with their puny bows. He shouted. “Egyptians, bring me Abishai, or face the wrath of the mightiest warrior of the one true God.”

A swordsman approached Benaiah. “Are you a child? Is this a guard of Egypt?” Benaiah pushed him aside and continued walking. “Abishai, where are you? I seem to be lost in a city guarded by puny children.”

A larger group approached now. A dozen Egyptian soldiers wielding swords and shields, the Pharaoh’s Guards. Benaiah reached for the hammer on his back, but found only air. The guards surrounded Benaiah, knocking him out from behind with one swift bash of the shield.

The sound of a raising barricade awoke Benaiah. When his eyes opened, he knew he was in trouble. The room was a circular arena; chains and shackles adorned the wall like decorations. A silhouette approached through the barricade. The head adorned with the beak of a falcon.

“The giant…” Benaiah’s voice trembled like the day he faced the lion. He told Abishai he was fearless that day, but he remembered the aches of fear and his trembling hands. He remembered the shaking hammer and the smell of the beast’s breath.

The giant approached Benaiah, spear in hand.

“Lord, David, Abishai, somebody help me.” Benaiah whimpered.

The Egyptian raised the butt of the spear, and he jabbed at Benaiah’s arm. The crack of the bone was barely surpassed by Benaiah’s scream. The giant simply stared at Benaiah screaming and squirming to crawl away.

Benaiah couldn’t tell tall tales anymore. He couldn’t intimidate a giant with his voice. He could only squirm like a rabbit escaping a fox. He was dead. The giant inched closer. His face so close that the beak of the falcon rested against Benaiah’s forehead. The giant’s breath smelled like the lion’s, blood and flesh. Staring deep into the eyes of the giant, Benaiah remembered the feeling of being underneath a lion.

Benaiah brought his legs up and kicked the giant back. The giant angered. He viciously stabbed his spear at Benaiah. Each swipe getting closer. Benaiah threw all of his might into a kick and aimed for the giant’s hand. The room shook from the giant’s roar.

“A weapon doesn’t make the warrior.” Benaiah picked up the giant’s spear. “A warrior’s power comes from God.”

Benaiah thrust the spear at the giant. The giant slowly fell to his knees, slain.

“Abishai, Ariella let us leave!”

Benaiah walked toward the archway, casting aside the spear.