Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

1 Chronicles 27

Verse 1

This verse is a general heading to the list 1 Chronicles 27:2-15. The heading has been taken from some fuller and more elaborate description of David‘s army, whereof the writer of Chronicles gives us only an abridgement. Omitting the captains of thousands, the captains of hundreds, and the officers (probably “scribes”) who served the king, he contents himself with recording the “chief fathers” or heads of the divisions 1 Chronicles 28:1, and the number of Iraelites in each course.

Verse 2

Jashobeam - Jashobeam is mentioned in marginal references as the chief of David‘s mighty men. He is called in 1 Chronicles 11:11 “the son of Hachmoni.” We learn from 1 Chronicles 27:3 that he was of the tribe of Judah, being descended from Perez (or Pharez), the son of Judah, from whom David himself sprang. See 1 Chronicles 2:3-15.

Verse 4

Dodai The words “Eleazar, son of,” have probably fallen out before Dodai (or Dodo). According to Jewish tradition, EIeazar 1 Chronicles 11:12 was cousin to David; his father, Dodai, being Jesse‘s brother. Mikloth was probably second in command to Eleazar.

Verse 5

A chief priest - Rather, “the chief priest” - an expression by which is meant, not the high priest, but probably the high priest‘s deputy, who is sometimes called “the second priest” 2 Kings 25:18.

Verse 7

Asahel died before the courses, as here described, could have been instituted. Perhaps the arrangements of David in his later years were based upon institutions belonging to the period of his reign at Hebron.

Verses 16-22

Gad and Asher are omitted from this list of the tribes. Similarly, Dan and Zebulon are omitted from the genealogical survey of the tribes 1 Chronicles 48. We can only suppose that the lists, as they came down to the writer of Chronicles, were incomplete. The “rulers” or “princes” of the tribes appear to have been the oldest lineal descendants of the patriarchs according to the law of primogeniture.

Verse 23

David‘s numbering of the people was therefore a military arrangement in order to fix the amount of his standing army. To the general Oriental prejudice against numbering possessions, etc., there was added in the case of the Jews a special objection - a feeling that it would be irreverent to attempt to count what God had promised should be countless.

Verse 24

Because there fell wrath - literally, “And there fell wrath.” The falling of God‘s wrath was not the cause of Joab‘s ceasing. His motive is clearly stated in 1 Chronicles 21:6. See also the marginal references.

Neither was the number … - The meaning is, that in the portion of the chronicles of King David which treated of numbers - the number of the standing army, of the Levitical and priestly courses, the singers, etc. - the return of the number of the people made by Joab was not entered. The disastrous circumstances which followed on the taking of the census perhaps produced a feeling that God might he further provoked by its being put on record in the state archives. The numbers which have come down to us must therefore have been derived from private sources.

Verses 25-31

This section is important as showing that David, the younger son of a not very opulent family 1 Samuel 16:11, 1 Samuel 16:20, had now become a large landed proprietor, as well as a capitalist, possessed of much moveable wealth. We may perhaps see the sources of both these kinds of property, in the successful wars which he had waged 1 Samuel 27:8-9; 1 Samuel 30:20; 2 Samuel 8:4, 2 Samuel 8:7-8, 2 Samuel 8:12; in the revenue derived from subject kings 1 Samuel 8:2, 1 Samuel 8:14; 1 Samuel 10:19; and in the purchase and occupation of lands in different places. Further, he enjoyed, of course, the usual rights of a Jewish king over the landed property of his subjects, and was thus entitled to receive a tithe of the produce in tithes (1 Samuel 8:15, 1 Samuel 8:17) and in “benevolences.” Compare 1 Samuel 10:27; 1 Samuel 16:20, etc.

1 Chronicles 27:25

The castles - Probably the watchtowers in the border districts, exposed to raids from the plundering tribes of the desert 2 Chronicles 26:10; 2 Chronicles 27:4.

1 Chronicles 27:28

In the low plains - Rather, “in the Shephelah,” the proper name of the low tract between the hill country of Judaea and the Mediterranean.

Verses 32-34

A list - supplemental in character - of some chief officers of David, not mentioned before. The list cannot belong to a very late part of David‘s reign, since it contains the name of Ahithophel, who killed himself during Absalom‘s rebellion 2 Samuel 17:23.

1 Chronicles 27:33

Was the king‘s companion - or, “king‘s friend,” as in 1 Kings 4:5. Compare also 2 Samuel 16:17.

1 Chronicles 27:34

After Ahithophel - i. e., next in counsel to Ahithophel: inferior to him, but superior to all others.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 27". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/1-chronicles-27.html. 1870.