In Judges 6:12, the Messenger of the LORD spoke over Gideon calling him a "mighty man of valor". In Hebrew, the phrase is "Geebor He'Chayeel":Mighty/Powerful/Prevailer of Value/Worth/Wealth/Force/Power. What exactly does the name/phrase "mighty man of valor" mean and what would one who possess those qualities look like in this day and age?
First, there is a list of mighty men beginning at 2 Samuel 23:8 Berean Study Bible
These are the names of David’s mighty men [H1368]: Josheb-basshebeth the Tahchemonite was chief of the Three. He wielded his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed at one time.
Article | Adjective - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 1368: Powerful, warrior, tyrant
These were powerful killers.
Second, Gideon was not just a mighty man but a mighty man of valor.
Judges 6:12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and said, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor [H2428 H1368].”
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2428: A force, an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength
At this point, Gideon was not known to be a killer or a warrior but the angel saw these in him. In fact, he was afraid in just a few verses later:
25 On that very night the LORD said to Gideon, “Take your father’s young bull and a second bull seven years old, tear down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. 26Then build a proper altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold. And with the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down, take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering.”
27So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city, he did it by night rather than in the daytime.
Gideon did not hesitate to kill two chapters later in Judges 8:
15 And Gideon went to the men of Succoth and said, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your possession, that we should give bread to your weary men?’ ” 16Then he took the elders of the city, and using the thorns and briers of the wilderness, he disciplined the men of Succoth. 17He also pulled down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.
A mighty man of valor [H2428 H1368] was a warrior killer who was also a leader like Gideon but he could appear to be timid in the beginning.
Third, David was a mighty man of valor and a warrior [H2428 H1368 H376].
1 Samuel 16:17 And Saul commanded his servants, “Find me someone who plays well, and bring him to me.”
18One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse [David] of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp. He is a mighty man of valor, a warrior, eloquent and handsome, and the LORD is with him.”
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 376: A man as an individual, a male person
At this point, David was not officially a warrior in Saul's employ. A mighty man of valor must be warrior-like. The additional attributes of being eloquent and handsome were probably not necessary conditions.
19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.”
David was a shepherd, yet they called him a mighty man of valor and a warrior [H2428 H1368 H376].
David wasn't timid. He trusted God right from the beginning as he told King Saul in 1 Samuel 17:36
Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.
There were mighty H1368 men, who killed powerfully under orders.
There was mighty H1368 H2428 Gideon, who learned to kill and lead people to kill with no hesitance.
There was mighty H1368 H2428 H376 David, who was born with the killer instinct, lead people to kill, and ruled over a kingdom in the name of God.
What exactly is a “mighty man of valor”?
They are killers.
Ellicott suggests this:
(12) The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.—Three words in the Hebrew: Jehovah immekā, Gibbor. It was once a salutation and a blessing. (Comp. Joshua 1:5; Luke 1:28). The address seems to show that Gideon had already distinguished himself by bravery in war; it can hardly refer to the vigour with which he was wielding the flail. Only the second and third of the three epochs of his life are narrated; but we see from scattered glimpses that he and his brothers had possibly taken part already in some battle on Mount Tabor—possibly even (so scanty are all our details, and so little certain is the chronology) in the struggle against the Canaanites (Judges 8:18; Judges 4:6); that he was a man of kingly presence, and had a youthful son; that he had numerous slaves, and even an armour-bearer (Judges 7:10; Judges 8:20).
Thus, Gideon was already known for his bravery, it appears. The fact that at the time of this story Israel was a subjugated nation does not alter the fact that Gideon had been responsible for mighty acts of valor in the events leading up to the time of the narrative.