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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 12

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-40

Now in chapter twelve.

These are they which came to David to Ziklag, because he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, the helpers of the war. They were armed with bows, they could use both the right hand and the left hand in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of the bow, even of Saul's brethren of Benjamin ( 1 Chronicles 12:1-2 ).

And so these guys had practiced throwing with the sling with both hands. In case one hand gets injured or something then you use the other, keep going at it. And they... to throw the sling with the left hand was sort of a special kind of an art in those days. The guys were sort of set apart, and they developed with practice, they developed great accuracy with the sling.

A sling is an interesting little weapon, actually, and you can develop quite a bit of accuracy with a sling. And of course, the stone that you can use in a sling is much larger than a stone in a slingshot. If you're using a slingshot, then you need small, little stones like marbles. But with a sling, you can actually... the best stones are about so big around. And so you can do a lot more damage with a sling than you can with a slingshot, and you can become extremely accurate. Because you get your two leather strips, and of course, you have a leather pouch in which you set your stone, about the size of your hand. And you set the stone in that leather pouch. And then one of your leather straps is longer than the other. And you take the longer one and wrap it around your hand and you hold it with your three fingers. And the other leather strap is long enough that you hold it with your two fingers like so. And then you get this thing swinging, and of course, the longer your straps, the greater distance you can actually throw these rocks in. You can throw these rocks a huge distance if you get these, get some really long straps and get a big enough rock it will get that thing swinging out there. You get the momentum going as you swing it around in the air. And then on the last swing, you take it around and you let it fly over your head, and you bring it with an overhand thrust. And you let go when you bring it over your head, with the overhand thrust; you let go of these two fingers, the finger and the thumb. You let go of the one strap, and I'll tell you, that rock shoots out of there. And you can throw them just a long distance, three hundred feet or more, these huge stones with the sling. So it is quite a weapon. And these fellows would practice not only with their right hands, they practice throwing with their left hands, too, these slings. And so it was really a very effective weapon in battle, because you could start wiping out your enemy much further than you could throw a rock. And so, of course, it was with the sling that David wiped out the giant.

Now these men that came to David were skilled with the use of the sling and also with shooting arrows. And then also came to David while he was in the land of the Philistines, in verse eight, those from the tribe of Gad.

Now these men who came from the tribe of Gad were men of might, men of war, fit for battle, they could handle the shield and the buckler, and their faces were like the faces of lions ( 1 Chronicles 12:8 ),

So I would imagine that they just had full beards and looked real tough.

and they were as swift as deer upon the mountains ( 1 Chronicles 12:8 );

Of course, in those days I imagine that they actually were in much better physical shape generally than we are, because they didn't have cars and bicycles and stuff like that. They had to run or walk wherever they went. I go over to Israel today and I watch these shepherds as they walk up the hillsides and as they are following their flocks and so forth. And I think they must be in great shape, because if you don't think so, you go out and try run up the hillsides like they do, and you'll really be panting before long.

But you really get in good shape, and these men were all in tremendous physical condition. Fast, fleet-footed and powerful guys, and they began to gather unto David.

And then we are told of those that came from the tribe of Benjamin, in verse sixteen.

David went out to meet them, and he said unto them, If you come peaceably to help me, my heart will be knit to yours: but if you come to betray me to my enemies, seeing that I haven't done any wrong, then the God of our fathers look upon it, and rebuke it. And the spirit came upon Amasai, who was the chief of the captains, and he said to David, Thine are we, and we are on your side, thou son of Jesse: peace be to thee ( 1 Chronicles 12:17-18 ),

Now here David, of course, becomes a beautiful type of Christ who have been anointed to be king over Israel, and yet, Saul had despised him and rejected him and had forced him out of the land. And David is now waiting for God to give the kingdom over to him. But while he is waiting, men began to pledge their allegiance and loyalty to David. They began to gather unto David. Even as the scripture said, "Therefore let us go out of the camp that we might be identified with Jesus Christ" ( Hebrews 13:13 ). And so they began to leave the camp and come out to David, and day-by-day they gathered until it became a mighty host like the host of God. And so they were men who made their commitment. "We're yours. We belong to you. We're on your side."

And so then, when Saul was slain, these are the men that made David. They came down to Hebron and they said to David, "Come and rule over us."

From the tribe of Judah there were sixty-eight hundred. From the tribe of Simeon, there were seven thousand one hundred. From the tribe of Levi four thousand six hundred men. From the tribe of Benjamin, three thousand. From the tribe of Ephraim, twenty-eight thousand came down. From the half the tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand. From the tribe of Zebulun, men of war, all with arm for war, fifty thousand, that were able to keep rank: and they were not of double heart ( 1 Chronicles 12:24-26 , 1 Chronicles 12:29-31 , 1 Chronicles 12:33 ).

That says a lot of a person. One of the weaknesses is a person who is doubleminded or a person who has double allegiance. These men were not of double heart that came from Zebulun, fifty thousand of them.

From Naphtali a thousand captains, with thirty-seven thousand men. From the tribe of Dan expert in war came twenty-eight thousand, six hundred men. From the tribe of Asher, those that went forth to battle, forty thousand men. And from the other side of the Jordan river, the Reubenites, all armed for war; and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, there came a hundred and twenty thousand men. All men of war, that could keep rank, they came with a perfect heart [complete heart] to Hebron, to make David the king over all of Israel: and the rest of Israel were with one heart to make David king ( 1 Chronicles 12:34-38 ).

Don't you imagine that, as they came there from Hebron back to Jerusalem that they were a tremendous host of guys, as they gathered to David. Now they had a big party down in Hebron. They started bringing donkey loads of food and bread from all over the place to feed these. You know, these many guys come to visit you, you got to feed them, and can you imagine the logistics involved in feeding a crew like this? And so they brought, it says, the bread on donkeys and camels and mules and they had a big party and all. And it says,

there was joy in Israel ( 1 Chronicles 12:40 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 12". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/1-chronicles-12.html. 2014.
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