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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 12

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-22

The Companies that came to David at Ziklag

v. 1. Now, these are they that came to David to Ziklag, in the Philistine country, 1 Samuel 27:6, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul, the son of Kish, his return to the country of Israel being still hindered by the enmity of Saul; and they, the men who joined David there, were among the mighty men, helpers of the war.

v. 2. They were armed with bows, their work consisting in bending the bow in shooting, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones, as slingers, and shooting arrows out of a bow, thus having ambidextrous skill, even of Saul's brethren of Benjamin, members of the very tribe to which Saul belonged who were in some miraculous manner induced to share the fortunes of David.

v. 3. The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, the sons of Shemaah (or Hasmaah) the Gibeathite; and Jeziel and Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth; and Berachah, and Jehu the Antothite,

v. 4. and Ismaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man among the thirty and over the thirty, at least temporarily in command of these heroes; and Jeremiah, and Jahaziel, and Johanan, and Josabad the Gederathite,

v. 5. Eluzai, and Jerimoth, and Bealiah, and Shemariah, and Shephatiah the Haruphite,

v. 6. Elkanah, and Jesiah, and Azareel, and Joezer, and Jashobeam, the Korhites, the last-named being men of Judah,

v. 7. and Joelah, and Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor.

v. 8. And of the Gadites, members of the tribe of Gad, there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness, during the first year of his flight before Saul, 1 Samuel 22, men of might and men of war fit for the battle, trained soldiers, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, set in lines denoting bravery, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains, trained for fleetness as well as for valor, for pursuit as well as for offense:

v. 9. Ezer, the first; Obadiah, the second; Eliab, the third;

v. 10. Mishmannah, the fourth; Jeremiah, the fifth;

v. 11. Attai, the sixth; Eliel, the seventh;

v. 12. Johanan, the eighth; Elzabad, the ninth;

v. 13. Jeremiah, the tenth; Machbanai, the eleventh.

v. 14. These were the sons of Gad, captains of the host, all of them officers in David's army; one of the least was over an hundred and the greatest over a thousand; even the least of these heroes was able to with. stand a hundred enemies, while the most valiant of them could cope with a thousand.

v. 15. These are they that went over Jordan in the first month, when it had overflown all his banks, during the spring rise; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east and toward the west. Having separated themselves from the Gadites who clung to Saul, they were obliged to cut their way through the host of Saul and, at the same time, to negotiate the swollen river, a doubly heroic deed.

v. 16. And there came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the hold unto David, the reference here being to a special band that came to join David.

v. 17. And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you, their mutual friendship would be so firm as to make their hearts one; but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, he being innocent of any deed of violence, the God of our fathers look thereon and rebuke it. Years of persecution had made David suspicious of all men, so that he feared treachery.

v. 18. Then the spirit came upon Amasai, enveloping him like a cloak. who was chief of the captains, 2 Samuel 17:25, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse. Peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee. He expressed the unanimous conviction of all his followers that the cause of David was owned and blessed of God, and therefore pledged the loyalty of them all. Then David received them and made them captains of the band.

v. 19. And there fell some of Manasseh to David when he came with the Philistines against Saul to battle, when Achish, the Philistine king, took him along to the Plain of Jezreel, 1 Samuel 29:2. But they helped them not; for the lords of the Philistines, upon advisement, sent him away, saying, He will fall to his master Saul to the jeopardy of our heads, literally, "for our heads," that is, for the price of their heads, which they would have to sacrifice in return for their foolishness in keeping David as an ally, 1 Samuel 29:4.

v. 20. As he went to Ziklag, when he was returning home after this incident, there fell to him of Manasseh, Adnah, and Jozabad, and Jediael, and Michael, and Jozabad, and Elihu, and Zilthai, captains of the thousands that were of Manasseh.

v. 21. And they helped David against the band of the rovers, those who had plundered Ziklag during his absence, 1 Samuel 30:1 to 1 Samuel 9:10; for they were all mighty men of valor, and were captains in the host.

v. 22. For at that time day by day there came to David to help him, gradually increasing the number of his followers, until it was a great host, like the host of God. From having only six hundred men loyal to him, his army soon grew so as to include hundreds, thousands, and finally hundreds of thousands, a great and powerful host. Thus the Lord, who directs the hearts of men as the rivers of water, helped the cause of David, who put his trust in Him alone.

Verses 23-40

The Companies that Came to David at Hebron

v. 23. And these are the numbers of the bands, the sums or masses of the warriors armed for military service, that were ready armed to the war, and came to David to Hebron, after the seven and a half years of his rule in that capital, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord.

v. 24. The children of Judah that bare shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed to the war, both fully equipped and properly trained.

v. 25. of the children of Simeon, mighty men of valor for the war, seven thousand and one hundred.

v. 26. of the children of Levi four thousand and six hundred.

v. 27. And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, not the high priest, but the chief of their warriors, probably the father of Benaiah, 1 Chronicles 11:22; and with him were three thousand and seven hundred.

v. 28. And Zadok, a young man mighty of valor, 2 Samuel 8:17, probably the same man whom Solomon afterward made high priest, 1 Kings 2:26, and of his father's house twenty and two captains.

v. 29. And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand, for many members of this tribe were still anxious to have the crown remain in the family of Saul; for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul.

v. 30. And of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand and eight hundred, mighty men of valor, famous throughout the house of their fathers; they were distinguished in general, in their father-houses, for their warlike bravery.

v. 31. And of the half-tribe of Manasseh, the western half, eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king.

v. 32. And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do, eminent for their knowledge of astronomical and physical science. The heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. So the learned classes of the nation also declared in favor of David.

v. 33. of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, disciplined in keeping rank, having enjoyed more military drill than the average tribe of the nation, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank, execute all maneuvers according to military lore; they were not of double heart, they were not double-minded, but gave their undivided allegiance to David.

v. 34. And of Naphtali a thousand captains, and with them with shield and spear thirty and seven thousand.

v. 35. And of the Danites, expert in war, twenty and eight thousand and six hundred.

v. 36. And of Asher such as went forth to battle, expert in war, well acquainted with military drill, forty thousand.

v. 37. And on the other side of Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and of the half-tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, fully fitted out with the usual equipment of soldiers, an hundred and twenty thousand.

v. 38. All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, their minds fully made up in favor of David, to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king, the desire was unanimous.

v. 39. And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking; for their brethren had prepared for them, the festivities were distinguished by liberality and magnificence, as befitted the occasion, for some 339,000 men, with 1,222 chiefs and heads, were entertained.

v. 40. Moreover, they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, the northern parts of the country west of Jordan, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, these two fruits in the dried form, and pressed into cakes, being considered dainty additions to the average meal, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly; for there was joy in Israel. Festivities also on a large scale, if conducted in the fear of the Lord, meet with His approval, while a morbid asceticism does not please Him.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 12". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/1-chronicles-12.html. 1921-23.
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