Graham, Cliff. Day of War.
I downloaded the Kindle version of this book when it was available for free a while back and never got around to reading it. I didn’t know anything about Cliff Graham, and I didn’t have very high expectations for the book, so it was easy to keep putting it off.
The final proof of my mistake was seen in me staying up until almost midnight to finish off the last hundred or so pages, because there was no way I was putting it down and waiting until the next day.
Graham did extensive historical, military, and archaeological research to portray the story of David and his Mighty Men in Day of War, which is the first volume of the Lion of War series. Day of War focuses on Benaiah son of Jehoiada and the events during Saul’s reign when David was sojourning with Philistine king Achish.
Graham’s storytelling is compelling and honest, and that honesty makes it more compelling. He’s not writing hagiography of Benaiah–there’s genuine struggle and genuine humanity depicted for us. But thankfully, there’s also genuine faithfulness shown as well. The stable covenant loyalty of David and Shammah are shown for their depth, not caricatured into something unrecognizable in the real world.
“Many black things hide in my own heart, brother,” David said. “Perhaps that is why I am so grateful for his mercy” (291).
And after learning of Benaiah’s horrifically tragic past:
David was still beside him. “I did not know of your suffering, my friend, but I know that Yahweh is for you and not against you,” he said.
“You are very sure of that? Even after everything?”
“Even after everything.”
Oh, and the action is mainlining concentrated adrenaline. Just saying.
Trying to capture the book is much like a bad photographer taking a picture of the Grand Canyon: both the medium and the means are grossly inadequate, yet the photographer’s excitement proves persuasive enough to compensate for the lack of skillfully capturing the image. This is how I feel about Day of War. The last, best ways I can recommend and review the book are these:
I want to buy the next two books immediately. And the companion booklets on the Mighty Men.
I want to go back and study 1 Samuel after reading this.