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Bean Patch
by Amanda Carlisle

Shammah refused to let the men steal his beans

Text Only | Afrikaans | Italian

Hearing his mother's footsteps coming down the hall, 10-year-old Blake dove into bed. When his mother opened the door, his eyes were closed and a warm blanket was pulled up to his chin.

Boy reading with a flashlight “Blake,” his mother whispered. After a moment of no answer, she tried again. “Blake, I know you're awake. I heard you jump in bed.”

With a sigh, Blake opened his eyes and sat up. “Yeah, I'm awake. What do you need?”

His mother sat on the edge of his bed. “I wanted to ask you something. Have you read your Bible today?”

“Well, I was going to, but...I was too tired to read tonight,” Blake finished quickly, avoiding his mother's eyes.

Blake's mother glanced around the room and picked up an open comic book from his desk. “It looks like you weren't too tired to read other things.” She flipped through it, then handed it to him. “So what's the real reason, Blake?”

“Mom, the Bible is so hard to understand. Besides, it's boring!” Blake held up the comic book. “This is what I call an exciting story. It has horses, cowboys, and lots of gunfights! Do I really have to read my Bible every night?”

“Tell you what. I'll let you off the hook tonight and tell you a bedtime story instead. How's that?”

Blake bounced on his bed in excitement. “All right!” he whooped. Mom's stories were always interesting.

“Well, it goes like this….”

Bean Patch Divider

In a country far away, a man named Shammah was working in his field. He was growing lentils, a type of bean. All over the large field, Shammah had workers helping tend the plants. Some carried shovels, some buckets of water, and some had spades for tilling the ground. It was a hot day, and everyone was tired from working hard.

farmer Above the noise of people digging in the dirt came another sound. One by one, the people stopped working to look in the direction it was coming from. In the distance they saw an army marching their way. As they got closer, the people in the field saw the army was from the country they had been fighting with.

The Philistine army got closer and closer. Shammah's helpers dropped their farming tools and ran in the opposite direction. They were farmers, not fighters. Besides, they didn't have the weapons to fight against trained soldiers. Shammah, however, had served as a soldier for Israel at one time. Standing in the middle of the field all by himself, Shammah probably lifted a spade or a sword as he shouted a challenge to the advancing army.

farmer The captain of the army laughed at the man standing all by himself. He motioned for three of his soldiers to kill Shammah. A few moments later, three men lay on the ground, and Shammah was still holding his spade and waiting for more.

The captain became angry and sent more men to fight Shammah. Shammah made quick work of them also. With a cry of rage, the captain raced at him, leading the rest of the army to attack the brave farmer. Shammah's trusty spade flashed like lightning, blocking a sword here, chopping a spear there, slaying soldiers left and right.

Hours later, when the other farmers sneaked back to the field of beans, they were shocked to find the field covered with dead soldiers. In the middle of it all, sitting down to rest, was Shammah, the mighty soldier.


“How was that for a story, Blake?” his mother asked.

“Wow, Mom! I loved it. Where did you hear that story?”

Blake's mother moved a stack of comic books from his desk and picked up the Bible hiding underneath. “I found it in here.”

Blake stared at her in astonishment. “You're teasing me, right?”

“Nope. It's all in here, along with many other exciting stories. Shammah's friends each have their own story: Adino killed 800 men at one time with a spear, and Eleazar, the son of Dodo, killed so many Philistines that his hand ‘clave’ or ‘stuck’ to the sword. And you know what? They're not just stories with adventure. Each one means something. In this one, Shammah stood up for what was right, even though no one else had the courage. We need to follow his example and stand up for what we know is right.”

“Can you show me where the story is?”

Bible His mother flipped through the thin pages to Second Samuel, chapter 23, and pointed to verses 11-12. “Why do you want to know?”

Blake took the Bible from his mom. “I want to read the next story before I go to bed.”

“I thought the Bible was boring.”

Blake grinned. “Well, maybe it has a few good stories in it.”

His mom smiled back. “I'm going to bed. Good night.”

“Good night, Mom,” Blake answered, not even looking up as his mother left the room.

Bean Patch Divider


1. What type of bean was mentioned in the story?
2. Who fought the Philistines until his hand clave to the sword?
3. What army was fighting against Israel?
4. What were Shammah's two professions?
5. What weapon did Shammah probably use?


Remember to stand strong and not let the enemy of your soul steal what's rightfully yours.


“Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding” (Proverbs 23:23).


Have you ever helped plant, water and weed vegetables or flowers in a garden? It takes a lot of hard work to get ripe vegetables and beautiful flowers. Can you think of a few difficulties you might face? Well, you have to break up the hard ground and be careful to plant good seeds. Then you have the job of protecting the tiny plants from insects and critters like birds and rabbits. You also have to watch out for bad weather. Someone may even try to steal some of the vegetables or flowers, just like in today's story.

Picture your relationship with Jesus like a garden. Can you think of a few things that can be bad for your relationship with Jesus? Can you think of ways to protect your spiritual growth?

[After discussion:] The devil wants you to sin, because sin always messes up your relationship with Jesus. God wants you to stand strong against sin and resist temptation. Shammah probably used a spade to fight and conquer the enemy. What can you use as a weapon against sin and temptation? That's right. God has given you the Bible as your weapon. There are many verses in the Bible that can help you overcome ungodly thoughts, unholy feelings, bad habits and bad attitudes. For example, if you feel weak, the Bible says you are strong and more than a conqueror in Jesus. If you're angry with someone, the Bible says teaches you to forgive.

What kind of things do you struggle with? Learn to find verses in the Bible that tell you how to handle these problems. Don't hesitate to ask for help from someone who knows the Bible. Always pray about whatever is troubling you and ask God to help you overcome every difficulty you face. Shammah not only fought for himself but for his people as well. To remember what you learn from the Bible, teach it to your siblings and friends so they, too, can become strong in the Lord. The key is to read the Bible and pray every day, even if it's only for a little bit.


Dog and boy praying

Dear God, thank You for giving me Your Word,
the Bible. Help me to remember to read a
little bit every day, and help me to understand
what I read. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

2 Samuel 23:11-12


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Bean Patch Divider

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Last updated March 2, 2023
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