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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 27

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Now the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, of every course were twenty and four thousand.

Captains of thousands and hundreds. The division of the people was the same for military as for civil purposes (cf. Exodus 18:21 with Numbers 31:14); at least, the rotation of 24,000 men appointed to attend David every month is described so as to indicate their being arranged by this old and familiar division (see Graves,

ii., p. 15; Lowman, 'On the Government of the Hebrews,' p. 73). The legions of 24,000 were divided into regiments of 1,000, and these again into companies of 100 men, under the direction of their respective subalterns, there being, of course, twenty-four captains of thousands and 240 centurions.

And their officers - the Shoterim, who, in the army, performed the duty of the commissariat, keeping the muster-roll, etc.

Came in and went out month by month. Here is an account of the standing military force of Israel. A militia, formed, it would seem, at the beginning of David's reign (see the note at 1 Chronicles 27:7), was raised in the following order: Twelve legions, corresponding to the number of tribes, were enlisted in the king's service. Each legion comprised a body of 24,000 men, whose term of service was a month in rotation, and who were stationed either at Jerusalem or in any other place where they might be required. There was thus always a force sufficient for the ordinary purposes of state, as well as for resisting sudden attacks or popular tumults; and when extraordinary emergencies demanded a larger force, the whole standing army could easily be called to arms, amounting to 288,000, or to 300,000, including the 12,000 officers that naturally attended on the twelve princes (1 Chronicles 27:16-24). Such a military establishment would be burdensome neither to the country nor to the royal exchequer; because the expense of maintenance would be borne probably by the militia-man himself, or furnished out of the common fund of his tribe. On the expiration of the term, every soldier returned to the pursuits and duties of private life during the other eleven months of the year. Whether the same individuals were always enrolled cannot be determined. The probability is, that provided the requisite number was furnished, no stricter scrutiny would be made. The rotation system being established, each division knew its own month, as well as the name of the commander under whom it was to serve. These commanders are called the chief fathers' - i:e., the hereditary heads of tribes, who, like chieftains of clans, possessed great power and influence.

Verse 2

Over the first course for the first month was Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand. Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel - (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 11:11; 2 Samuel 23:8.) Hachmoni was his father, Zabdiel probably one of his ancestors; or these might be different names of the same individual. In the rotation of the military courses the dignity of precedence, not of authority, was given to the hero.

Verse 3

Of the children of Perez was the chief of all the captains of the host for the first month.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 4

And over the course of the second month was Dodai an Ahohite, and of his course was Mikloth also the ruler: in his course likewise were twenty and four thousand.

The second month was Dodai - or Dodo. Here the text seems to require the supplement of "Eleazar the son of Dodo" (2 Samuel 23:9).

Verses 5-6

The third captain of the host for the third month was Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, a chief priest: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

1 Chronicles 27:7

The fourth captain for the fourth month was Asahel the brother of Joab, and Zebadiah his son after him: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.

Asahel. This officer having been slain at the very beginning of David's reign, his name was probably given to this division in honour of his memory, and his son was invested with the command.

Verses 8-10

The fifth captain for the fifth month was Shamhuth the Izrahite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 11

The eighth captain for the eighth month was Sibbecai the Hushathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.

Sibbbecai the Hushathite, [ Cibªkay (H5444) = mªbunay] - (see 1 Chronicles 11:29; 1 Chronicles 20:4; 2 Samuel 23:27; also 21:18.) "The Hushathite" [ ha-Chushaatiy (H2843)]. Whether this epithet indicates the family or the nativity of the individual, it is impossible to say. Hushah (see the note at 1 Chronicles 4:4) was a place or city, and the family of Sibbecai is declared very explicitly to have been the Zarhite clan of Judah (see Numbers 26:20). [Septuagint, Sobochai ho Ousathi; while in 2 Samuel 23:27 this version calls him: ho Asootheitees.]

Verses 12-15

The ninth captain for the ninth month was Abiezer the Anetothite, of the Benjamites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 16

Furthermore over the tribes of Israel: the ruler of the Reubenites was Eliezer the son of Zichri: of the Simeonites, Shephatiah the son of Maachah:

Over the tribes of Israel: the ruler. This is a list of the hereditary chiefs or rulers of tribes at the time of David's numbering the people. Gad and Asher are not included, for what reason is unknown. The tribe of Levi had a prince (1 Chronicles 27:17), as well as the other tribes; and although it was ecclesiastically subject to the high priest, yet, in all civil matters, it had a chief or head, possessed of the same authority and power as in the other tribes, only his jurisdiction did not extend to the priests.

Verse 17

Of the Levites, Hashabiah the son of Kemuel: of the Aaronites, Zadok:

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 18

Of Judah, Elihu, one of the brethren of David: of Issachar, Omri the son of Michael:

Elihu - probably the same as Eliab (1 Samuel 16:16) [Septuagint, Eliab].

Verses 19-22

Of Zebulun, Ishmaiah the son of Obadiah: of Naphtali, Jerimoth the son of Azriel:

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 23

But David took not the number of them from twenty years old and under: because the LORD had said he would increase Israel like to the stars of the heavens.

But David took not the number ... from twenty years old and under. The meaning is, that the census which David ordered did not extend to all the Israelites; because to contemplate such an enumeration would have been to attempt an impossibility (Genesis 28:14); and, besides, would have been a daring offence to God. The limitation to a certain age was what had probably quieted David's conscience as to the lawfulness of the measure, while its expediency was strongly pressed upon his mind by the army arrangements he had in view.

Verse 24

Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he finished not, because there fell wrath for it against Israel; neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David.

Neither was the number put in the account of the Chronicles of king David - either because the undertaking was not completed, Levi and Benjamin not having been numbered (1 Chronicles 21:6), or the full details in the hands of the enumerating officers were not reported to David, and, consequently, not registered in the public archives. "The Chronicles" were the daily records or annals of the king's reign. No notice was taken of this census in the historical register, as, from the public calamity with which it was associated, it would have stood painful record of the divine judgment against the king and the nation.

Verse 25

And over the king's treasures was Azmaveth the son of Adiel: and over the storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles, was Jehonathan the son of Uzziah:

Over the king's treasures. Those treasures consisted of gold, silver, precious stones, cedar-wood, etc.; those which he had in Jerusalem, as distinguished from others without the city.

The storehouses in the fields. Grain covered over with layers of straw is frequently preserved in the fields under little earthen mounds, like our potato pits.

Verse 26

And over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground was Ezri the son of Chelub:

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 27

And over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite: over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite:

The vineyards. These seem to have been in the vine-growing districts of Judah, and were committed to two men of that quarter.

Wine cellars - stores: the wine is deposited in jars suck in the court of the house.

Verse 28

And over the olive trees and the sycomore trees that were in the low plains was Baalhanan the Gederite: and over the cellars of oil was Joash:

Olive ... and ... sycamore trees ... in the low plains - i:e., the Shephelah, the rich low-lying ground between the Mediterranean and the mountains of Judah.

Verse 29

And over the herds that fed in Sharon was Shitrai the Sharonite: and over the herds that were in the valleys was Shaphat the son of Adlai:

Herds that fed in Sharon - a fertile plain between Caesarea and Joppa.

Verse 30

Over the camels also was Obil the Ishmaelite: and over the asses was Jehdeiah the Meronothite:

Camels. These were probably in the countries east of the Jordan, and hence, an Ishmaelite and Nezarite were appointed to take charge of them.

Verse 31

And over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagerite. All these were the rulers of the substance which was king David's.

Rulers of the substance which was king David's. How and when the king acquired these demesnes and this variety of property -whether it was partly by conquests, or partly by confiscation, or by his own active cultivation of waste lands-is not said. It was probably in all these ways. The management of the king's private possessions was divided into twelve parts, like has public affairs, and the revenue derived from all these sources mentioned must have been very large.

Verse 32

Also Jonathan David's uncle was a counsellor, a wise man, and a scribe: and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni was with the king's sons:

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 33

And Ahithophel was the king's counsellor: and Hushai the Archite was the king's companion:

Hushai the Archite was the king's companion, [Septuagint, prootos filos].

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 27". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-chronicles-27.html. 1871-8.
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