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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 11

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-47

b. David’s Elevation to the Kingdom; Fixing of his Residence at Jerusalem; Wars and Numbering of the People.—Ch. 11–21

α. The Anointing of David in Hebron, and his Removal thence to Jerusalem: 1 Chronicles 11:1-9

1 Chronicles 11:1 And all Israel gathered to David unto Hebron, saying, Behold, we are thy 2bone and thy flesh. Also heretofore, even when Saul was king, thou wast he that led Israel out and in; and the Lord thy God said unto thee, Thou shalt 3feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be prince over my people Israel. And all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David over Israel, according to the word of the Lord by Samuel.

4And David went and all Israel to Jerusalem, that is, Jebus; and there the Jebusites were the inhabitants of the land. 5And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither; and David took the castle of Zion: this is the city of David. 6And David said, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain; and Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and became chief. 7And David dwelt in the castle; therefore they called it the city of David. 8And he built the city around, from Millo to the 9circuit; and Joab repaired the rest of the city. And David became greater and greater; and Jehovah Zebaoth was with him.

β. List of David’s Heroes: 1 Chronicles 11:10-47

10And these are the chiefs of the heroes of David, who held fast to him in his kingdom, with all Israel, to make him king, by the word of the Lord concerning Israel. 11And this is the number of the heroes of David: Jashobam son of Hachmoni, the chief of the thirty;1 he lifted his spear against three hundred slain at one time. 12And after him Eleazar son of Dodo2 the Ahohite; he was among the three heroes. 13He was with David at Pas-dam-mim, and the Philistines were gathered there for battle,3 and there was a plot of ground full of barley; and the people fled before the Philistines. 14And they stood in the midst of the plot, and defended it, and smote the Philistines; and the Lord granted them a great salvation.

15And three of the thirty chiefs went down the rock to David, to the cave of Adullam; and the camp of the Philistines was in the valley of Rephaim. 16And David was then in the hold, and a post of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 17And David longed, and said, Who will give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate? 18And the three brake through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, at the gate, and took and brought it to David; but David would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. 19And said, My God, forbid it me that I should do this thing; shall I drink the blood of these men at the risk of their lives? for at the risk of their lives they brought it: and he would not drink it; these things did the three heroes.

20And Abshai, Joab’s brother, he was chief of the three; and he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain, and had4 a name among the three. 21Above the three he was honoured among the two, and was their captain; but he attained not to the three, 22Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, son of Ish-hail, great in deeds, from Kabzeel; he smote two [sons] of Ariel of Moab, and Hebrews 2:0; Hebrews 2:03went down and smote a lion in a pit in a snowy day. And he smote the Egyptian, a man of stature,5 of five cubits; and in the hand of the Egyptian was a spear like a weaver’s beam, and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear from the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear. 24These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had a name among the three heroes. Before the thirty, 25behold, he was honoured; but he attained not to the three; and David set him over his guard.

26And the heroes of war were Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son 27, 28of Dodo of Bethlehem. Shammoth the Barorite,6 Helez the Pelonite. Ira 29the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, Abiezer the Antothite. Sibbechai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite. 30Maharai the Netophathite, Heled the son of Baanah the Netophathite. 31Ithai the son of Ribai of Gibeah, of the sons of Benjamin, 32Benaiah the Pirathonite. Hurai of Nahale-gaash, Abiel the Arbathite. 33Azmaveth the Baharumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite. 34The sons of Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan the son of Shageh the Hararite. 35Ahiam the son of Sacar the Hararite, Eliphal the son of Ur. 36Hepher the Mecherathite, Ahijah 37, 38the Pelonite. Hezro the Carmelite, Naarai the son of Ezbai. Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar the son of Hagri. 39Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite, the armour-bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah. 40Ira the Ithrite, 41Gareb the Ithrite. Uriah the Hittite, Zabad the son of Ahlai. 42Adina the son of Shiza the Reubenite, a chief of the Reubenites, and thirty with him.7 43, 44Hanan the son of Maachah, and Joshaphat the Mithnite. Uzziah the 45Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel the sons of Hothan the Aroerite. Jediaei 46the son of Shimri, and Joha his brother, the Tizite. Eliel the Mahavim,8 and Jeribai and Joshaviah the sons of Elnaam, and Ithmah the Moabite. 47Eliel, and Obed, and Jasiel of Hammezobaiah.9


Preliminary Remark.—In the history of David, the author dwells chiefly on the bright and prosperous side of the Davidic kingdom; the troubles and disorders of his glorious career, occasioned by misfortune and his own guilt, he passes over as much as possible (comp. Introd. § 4, p. 11). Hence the mention of his anointing at Hebron, 1 Chronicles 11:1-3, and yet the entire omission of the rival kingdom of Ishbosheth at Mahanaim, to which there is not even an indirect allusion in stating the seven years’ duration of David’s residence at Hebron. An account of the taking of Jerusalem, and the valour of Joab therein displayed, 1 Chronicles 11:4-9, is then followed by a list of the other famous warriors of David, 1 Chronicles 11:10-47, wherein again a shadow in the bright picture, the unprincipled and barbarous conduct of Joab (the murderer of Abner, Uriah, Absalom, etc.), is passed over in silence. And after this list, the appendix in 1 Chronicles 12:0, containing the heroes devoted to David during the reign of Saul, and the proceedings in his elevation to the throne at Hebron, makes no reference to the rival kingdom of Ishbosheth, though many occasions of doing so were presented; so that it appears almost as if the statement in 1 Chronicles 10:6, that Saul and all his house together had fallen in the battle of Gilboa, were meant by the author to be literally true. But besides the conscious tendency to glorify as much as possible the kingdom of David, as the prototype of all theocratic excellence, his propensity to communicate long lists and mere enumerations, his statistical rather than historical mode of representation, also contributes more or less to the one-sidedness of his narrative. This method leads him to place the list of heroes, which in the books of Samuel (at least in its greater part; see 2 Samuel 23:8-39) stands at the end of David’s history, at the very head of it. Besides, not only this list, of which the closing verses only (41–47) are peculiar to Chronicles, but also the account of the anointing at Hebron, has its parallel in the books of Samuel, 2 Samuel 5:1-10. The agreement between the two is tolerably exact; comp. 1 Chronicles 11:1-3 with 2 Samuel 5:1-3, and 1 Chronicles 11:4-9 with 2 Samuel 5:6-10. Yet the note of the length of David’s reign, 2 Samuel 5:4-5, is wanting in our text, not from an oversight of the Chronist (Then.), but because he preferred to introduce it at the end of his report, 1 Chronicles 29:27.

1. The Anointing of David at Hebron: 1 Chronicles 11:1-3.—And all Israel gathered to David unto Hebron. The phrase “all Israel” (comp. Ezra 2:70) includes the northern and trans-jordanic tribes; it is therefore not the earlier anointing of David in Hebron by the tribes of Judah only, 2 Samuel 2:4, which is here reported, but that which was performed after the deaths of Abner and Ishbosheth by all the tribes together, 2 Samuel 5:1 ff., to which there is a still fuller reference in 1 Chronicles 12:23 ff.—Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh, thy relatives by tribe and blood; comp. Genesis 29:14.

1 Chronicles 11:2. Also heretofore, literally, “yesterday and ere yesterday,” that is, a long time since; comp., besides 2 Samuel 5:2, also Genesis 31:2; 2 Kings 13:5.—That led Israel out and in, out to the battle, and home after the victory; comp, 1Sa 18:13; 1 Samuel 18:16.—And the Lord thy God said unto thee, by the mouth of Samuel the prophet; comp. 1 Samuel 16:1-3; 2 Samuel 3:9; 2 Samuel 3:18, etc.

1 Chronicles 11:3. And all the elders of Israel came, as the representatives of the people, to establish the rights of the kingdom (1 Samuel 8:11; 1 Samuel 10:25) by contract (by making a covenant or elective treaty).—According to the word of the Lord by Samuel. These words, wanting in the corresponding place in 2 Samuel 5:3, appear to be an explanatory addition of our author; for it is not probable that they originally stood in the text of Samuel, and fell out by ὁμοιοτέλ. (שמואל—ישראל); comp. 1 Chronicles 11:10 with 2 Samuel 23:8 (against Then.). On the absence of the date here appended in the parallel text 2 Samuel 5:4 f. as intentional on the part of the writer, who reserves it for 1 Chronicles 29:27, comp. Preliminary Remark.

2. The Taking of Zion, and the Change of Residence to Jerusalem: 1 Chronicles 11:4-9.—To Jerusalem, that is, Jebus; and there the Jebusites were the inhabitants of the land. For this circumlocution 2 Samuel 5:6 gives more briefly: “to Jerusalem, to the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land.” That the latter reading has been obtained by corruption of the text from the former (Berth., Then.) it is by no means needful to assume; the הִיא יְבוּם after יְרוּשָׁלִַם seems rather to be an addition of the Chronist, serving as a transition from “Jerusalem” to the Jebusites, which then further necessitates the insertion of the notice: “and there the Jebusites were” (properly, the Jebusite was); comp. Wellh. p. 162 f.

1 Chronicles 11:5. And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Only the close of this threat, given in full in 2 Samuel, is here recorded, after the abbreviating manner of the author.

1 Chronicles 11:6. Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first. Only these first words of David’s speech occur in 2 Samuel 5:8, where something quite different is given as spoken by him. “The highly peculiar account in 2 Samuel 5:8, clearly resting on strictly historical recollection, is obviously the more original and exact. It may well be conceived that in other accounts of the conquest of Jebus, the great captain of David, Joab (in like manner as Othniel, Judges 1:12 ff., in the conquest of Kiriath-sepher), was mentioned; and a celebrated saying of David in the siege was referred to Joab, not from clear recollection, but from a conjecture which might rest on the account of Joab in 1 Chronicles 11:8. Thus two different accounts of this saying might arise; the simpler, presenting apparently no difficulties, found its way into Chronicles.” Such is Bertheau’s view, at all events more probable than that of Then, on 2 Samuel, who makes the Chronist complete a critically corrupt text on the ground of tradition by conjecture.—And Joab the son of Zeruiah (comp. 1 Chronicles 2:16) went up first and became chief. That this “becoming chief” is only a confirmation of Joab in his previous office is shown by 2 Samuel 2:3.

1 Chronicles 11:7. And David dwelt in the castle.מְצָד, the same as מְצוּדָה in 1 Chronicles 11:5; comp. 1Ch 12:8; 1 Chronicles 12:16.—Therefore they called it the city of David. According to 2 Samuel 5:9, David himself gave it this name; but the one does not exclude the other.

1 Chronicles 11:8. And he built the city around, from Millo to the circuit, beginning from Millo, and returning to it in a circuit. Somewhat different is 2 Samuel 5:9 : “around from Millo and inward; that is, from the circumference to the centre. For the fortress Millo, situated probably on the north-west corner of Zion, comp. Thenius and Bähr on 1 Kings 9:11. The name מִלּוֹא signifies filling; that is, probably not wall or sconce, but a strong tower (bastion, castle); comp. בֵּית מִלּוֹא, 2 Kings 12:21 and 2 Chronicles 32:5.—And Joab repaired the rest of the city, properly, “quickened, made alive;” comp. חיה in the same sense, Neh. 3:34, as the similar expression “heal,” 1 Kings 18:30. On account of the supposed trace of ancient style contained in the use of חיה for בנה “rebuild, Wellhausen, p. 164, declares this addition peculiar to the Chronist regarding Joab’s co-operation in the building of Jerusalem, especially its fortification, to be not even historically credible. But that חיה in this sense occurs only here and in Nehemiah does not prove the lateness of this usage; and the circumstance that David’s field-marshal took part in the fortification of the capital is so far from being improbable, that the statement seems a genuine trace of ancient history. Wherefore Kennicott’s emendation, accepted by Thenius, is unnecessary: ויואב יהיה לשׂר העיר, “and Joab became governor of the city.”

1 Chronicles 11:9. And David became greater and greater. The construction with הלךְ is like that in Genesis 8:3; Genesis 8:5; Genesis 12:9; Genesis 26:13, Judges 4:24; comp. Ew. § 280, b. On b, comp. 1 Chronicles 9:20. The general remarks of the verse prepare very suitably for the following list of the numerous heroes of David.

3. List of David’s Heroes: 1 Chronicles 11:10-47; and first of Jashobam, Eleazar (and Shammah): 1 Chronicles 11:10-14.—And these are the chief of the heroes of David. By these words, peculiar to the Chronist (the parallel text 2 Samuel 23:8 opens the list merely with the clause: “and these are the names of the heroes of David”), the communication of the following list is justified, as standing in relation with David’s elevation to the kingdom and confirmation in it. Hence the designation: “chiefs of the heroes,” chief heroes, heroes of the first rank.—Who held fast to him in his kingdom, who stood bravely by him (in common with him) during his reign. הִתְחַזֵּק עִם, as in Daniel 10:21.—To make him king. Rightly Keil: “לְהַמְלִיכוֹ is not to be limited to the appointment to the kingdon, but includes also confirmation in it; for of the men named, heroic deeds are mentioned, which they performed in the wars which David as king waged with his foes, to maintain and extend his sway.”—By the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Comp. on 1 Chronicles 11:2-3; for the same word of God in and by Samuel is meant here also, as there.

1 Chronicles 11:11. And this is the number of the heroes of David. In 2 Samuel 23:8 : “and these are the names of the heroes of David.” The term מִסְפַּר instead of שֵׁמוֹת is not surprising, especially after the plur. אֵלֶּה. If מִסְפַּר be the original, the expression must mean: “that these heroes at first formed a corps definite in number (the thirty)” (Keil). Moreover, Bertheau’s conjecture, מִבְחַר for מספר (“and this is the choice, the élite, of the heroes”), deserves all attention.—Jashobam son of Hachmoni, the chief of the thirty. After the perhaps right reading here is to be corrected the corrupt ישב בשבת תחכמני2Sa 23:8. It remains doubtful, however, in this respect, that Jashobam in 1 Chronicles 27:2 is called son of Zabdiel, not of Hachmoni, and that the mss. of the Sept. differ surprisingly in the writing of the name, inasmuch as cod. Alex, presents ’Ισβαάμ ( or ’Ισβοάμ , 1 Chronicles 27:2), but Vatic, the first time, 1 Chronicles 11:11, ’Ιεσαβαδά, the second time, 1 Chronicles 27:2, ’Ισβοάζ. Hence Wellhausen (p. 212) might possibly be right in his conjecture, that the true. name may have been “Ishbosheth the Hachmonite” יִשְׁבּשֶׁת הַחַכְמוֹני, and that the ישבעם of our verse is corrupted from יִשְׁבַּעַל, the well-known by-form or rather primitive form of the name Ishbosheth. The “head of the thirty” (see Crit. Note) is given as an epithet to Jashobam as leader of the thirty heroes of second rank who are set down by name in 1 Chronicles 11:26 ff.—He lifted his spear against three hundred slain at one time. The same heroic deed is recorded, 1 Chronicles 11:20, of Abshai; whence Thenius, Keil, and Wellh., starting from the supposition that Jashobam was a greater hero than Abshai, wish to correct our passage after 2 Samuel 23:8, where the number of those slain at once by Jashobam is set down as 800 (otherwise Ew. Gesch. 2. p. 603, who defends the number 300 for both places; while Bertheau gives no decision).

1 Chronicles 11:12. And after him Eleazar son of Dodo the Ahohite.הָאֲחוֹחִי is the correct reading, as appears from 1 Chronicles 27:4, not בֶּן אֲחֹחִי2Sa 23:9. Whether the name דּוֹדוֹ is to be changed, with the Sept. (as in 1 Chronicles 27:4), into דּוֹדַי appears less certain.—He was among the three heroes, among the three warriors of the first rank, Jashobam, Eleazar, and Shamma, of whom the name of the third has fallen out of the middle of 1 Chronicles 11:13, as the parallel 2 Samuel 23:11 shows. On the surprising but still grammatically admissible combination בִּשְׁלוֹשָׁה הַגִּבֹּרִים instead of בִּשְׁלשֶׁת הג׳ (comp. 1 Chronicles 5:19), see Berth., who justly rejects as unnecessary the emendation of Thenius: בְּשָׁלִישֵׁי הַגִּבֹּרִים, “among the knights (Shalishim) of the heroes.”

1 Chronicles 11:13. He was with David at Pas-dammim, and the Philistines. These words refer still to Eleazar; see 2 Samuel 23:9. Pas-dammim, or Ephes-dammim, 1 Samuel 17:1, is a place between Socho and Azekah, not otherwise known; in 2 Samuel 23:0 the name is wanting, from the great corruption of the text, which is otherwise fuller than our text here, as it describes more exactly the heroic deed of Eleazar. It is there said, 1 Chronicles 11:9-10, at the close of the sentence “and the Philistines were gathered there for battle:” “and the men of Israel were gone away (to the mountain, fleeing before the Philistines); and he stood and smote the Philistines, until his hand was weary and clave unto the sword; and the Lord wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil. And after him was Shammah the son of Age the Hararite ; and the Philistines were gathered for battle,” etc. This not inconsiderable gap in our text, by which that which follows in 1 Chronicles 11:13 b and 1 Chronicles 11:14 seems to be a description of a heroic deed, not of Shammah, but of Eleazar, appears to have been occasioned by the eye of the transcriber wandering from בַּפְּלִשְׁתִּים נֶ‍ֽאֶסְפוּ שָׁם, 2 Samuel 23:9, to וַיֵּאָ‍ֽסְפוּ ,פְלִשְׁתִּים 1 Chronicles 11:11.—And there was a plot of ground full of barley. For barley (שְׂעוֹרִים) in 2 Samuel 23:11, the plot is said to be full of lentiles (עֲדָשִׁים) which is the original reading it is hard to decide, but it may be a mere slip of the pen (Movers, Wellh.).—And they stood in the midst of the plot. More correctly 2 Samuel 23:0 : “and he stood,” namely, Shammah. The two following verbs also, “defended” and smote,” are to be changed into the sing., as, according to 2 Samuel, the one Shammah clearly achieved the successful defence of the plot. The three plurals have come into our text after the lines referring to Shammah had fallen out.

4. Continuation. The Three Heroes who fetched Water to David from Bethlehem: 1 Chronicles 11:15-19 (comp. 2 Samuel 23:13-17).—And three of the thirty chiefs went down: three other than those already named. The thirty chiefs or captains are those mentioned 1 Chronicles 11:11 and given by name in 1 Chronicles 11:26 ff.—The rock to David, to the cave of Adullam. This cave must have been either in the rock itself or in its immediate neighbourhood. On the rock itself, however, stood the hold (מְצוּדָה) mentioned 1 Chronicles 11:16. The valley of Rephaim (valley of giants, κοιλὰς τῶν Γιγάντων; Joseph. Antiq.vii. 4. 1), mentioned as the camping ground of the Philistines, lies, according to Robinson, “between the present convent Mar-Elias and Jerusalem; is wide, bounded on the north by a small ridge of rock, that forms the margin of the valley of Hinnom, and sinks gradually to the south-west” (Winer, Realwörterb. ii. 322); comp. Joshua 15:8; Jos 18:16; 2 Samuel 5:18; 2 Samuel 5:22.

1 Chronicles 11:16. And a post of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem, which is therefore to be conceived as not far from Adullam and the valley of Rephaim.

1 Chronicles 11:17. Of the well of Bethlehem, at the gate. On the dried-up cistern situated one-quarter hour north-east of Bethlehem, which tradition gives as the well of our passage, see Robinson, ii. 378, and Berth.

1 Chronicles 11:18. And the three brake through the camp of the Philistines, namely, not through the main camp, but that of the post before Bethlehem.—But poured it out to the Lord, made a libation to God by pouring it on the ground; comp. 1 Samuel 7:6.

1 Chronicles 11:19. My God forbid it me. The same construction as in 1 Samuel 24:7; 1 Samuel 26:11, 1 Kings 21:3, etc.—Shall I drink the blood of these men at the risk of their lives, literally, “in their souls;” comp. Genesis 4:4; Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26; Leviticus 17:10 ff; Leviticus 19:26 ff., especially 1 Chronicles 17:14. “As blood and soul are here made equal, the blood as the seat and bearer of the soul, the soul as moving in the blood, so David, according to our report of his words, makes the water which those heroes had brought at the price (or risk) of their souls equal to their souls, and the drinking of the water brought by them equal to the drinking of their souls, and the souls equal to the blood, in order to express his abhorrence of such drinking. So that we may express the meaning thus: Should I drink in the water the souls, that is, the blood, of. these men; for they have fetched the water at the price of their souls?” (Keil). Moreover, בְּנַפְשׁוֹתָם appears to be put down twice only by an oversight; in the parallel 2 Samuel 23:17 it stands only once, which is perhaps the original form of the text. That David pours the water out instead of drinking has its ground in this, that it was become blood in his eyes; for blood, if it cannot be put on the altar, must be “poured on the earth as water,” Deuteronomy 7:16 (Berth.). With the Levitical prohibition of the use of blood, the saying of David has evidently nothing to do.

5. Abshai and Benaiah: 1 Chronicles 11:20-25 (comp. 2 Samuel 23:18-23).—And Abshai, Joab’s brother, he was chief of the three. Abshai or Abishai (2 Samuel), one of the three sons of Zeruiah (1 Chronicles 2:16), is here designated as chief, and in the following verse as captain, of the three, while it is said of him: “but he attained not to the three.” This enigmatical saying has been explained in various ways: 1. So that two groups or classes of three are distinguished: those mentioned 1 Chronicles 11:15-19, whose head or ruler Abshai may have been, and the three heroes, Jashobam, etc., mentioned before in 1 Chronicles 11:11-14, to whom he was not so related (so in particular the ancients, and Starke). 2. So that it is sought to unite both, the being chief of the three and standing after them (in bravery), as possibly co-existent, though the same three, Jashobam, Eleazar, and Shammah, are still referred to; that is, Abshai has taken, along with Joab the field-marshal, the first place among David’s captains ; is therefore, as having a higher command, the chief and leader of the three heroes, while they excel him in personal bravery and famous deeds (Keil). 3. So that הַשְּׁלוֹשָׁה in 1 Chronicles 11:20-21 is taken in two different senses, in that of the number three (so 1 Chronicles 11:21), and in this of the abstract substantive, “body of thirty, Sheloshah-company” (so the three first times),—a sense that necessarily results from the comparison of 1 Chronicles 11:21 with 1 Chronicles 11:25, and of 2 Samuel 23:19 with 2 Samuel 23:23 (Berth.). We shall have the choice between these three modes, unless we prefer the three first times (1 Chronicles 11:20 and 1 Chronicles 11:21 a) to read the pl. הַשְּׁלוֹשָׁים, for הַשְּׁלוֹשָׁה as Wellhausen (supported by the numerous cases in which these like numbers are exchanged; see pp. 20, 81, 214 ff. of his work) declares to be necessary in the parallel 2 Samuel 23:0And he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain; comp. on 1 Chronicles 11:11.

1 Chronicles 11:21. Above the three he was honoured among the two. These enigmatical words in the present form can neither be explained, with the Vulg.: “Of the three of the second class” (inter tres secundos), nor, with the Sept.: “Of the three, above the two was he honoured” (κ̓πὸ τῶν τριῶν ὑπὲρ τοὺς δύο ἔνδοξος). If the בִּשְׁנַיִם is to be retained as genuine, it must be taken, with Ewald (Lehrb. § 269, b) and Keil, in the sense of “twofold, doubly,” and so rendered: “above the three doubly honoured, he became their chief” (Keil). Or we may read, with Berth., הֲכִי, for בִּשְׁנַיִם according to 2 Samuel 23:19 (comp. 2 Samuel 9:1; Genesis 27:36; Genesis 29:15), and render: “Among the Sheloshah-company certainly he was honoured, and became their captain.”

1 Chronicles 11:22 ff. Benaiah’s Heroic Deeds (comp. 1 Chronicles 18:17, 1 Chronicles 27:6).—Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of Ishhail. So, if we retain בֶּן before אִישׁ־חַיִל. There is much, however, for its erasure (Berth., Wellh., Kamph.), in which case the sense comes out: “Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, a valiant man of great deeds.” For the home of this Benaiah, Kabzeel in the south of Judah, comp. Joshua 15:21; Nehemiah 11:25.—He smote two (sons) of Ariel of Moab, the king of Moab, who bore the epithet אֲרִיאֵל, “lion of God,” as a title of honour. Before אריאל is to be inserted, with the Sept., בְּנֵי ; comp. Then, and Wellh., 2 Samuel 23:20.—And he went down and smote a lion. This feat of Benaiah, which happened on a snowy day, and therefore in winter, may have been performed during the great war of David with the Moabites, 2 Samuel 8:2.

1 Chronicles 11:23. And he smote the Egyptian, a man of stature, or probably, according to the Sept., “a man of repute.” The following particulars of the successful combat of Benaiah with the giant nearly coincide with those of the conflict of David with Goliath, though the differences are not to be overlooked (there a Philistine, here an Egyptian; there a stature of six cubits and a span, here of five cubits; there the weapons are a staff and a sling, here only a staff ; there the slaying of the fallen with his own sword, here with his own spear). if, with the Sept., in 2 Samuel 23:21 be substituted for the weaver’s beam a “bridge-beam” (ξύλον διαβάθρας), as an object of comparison to show the thickness of the spear, the difference of the two narratives would be still greater. But even without this, the similar feats are only so related as Shamgar’s heroic deed to that of Samson (comp. Judges 3:31 with 1 Chronicles 15:15), or as Jashobam’s valiant deed (with the right reading 800 in 1 Chronicles 11:11) to that of Abshai.

1 Chronicles 11:24-25. For “among the three heroes” and “above the thirty” Berth, would in both cases read “among the Sheloshah-company;” comp. on 1 Chronicles 11:20.—And David set him over his guard, literally, “over his obedience,” that is (abstr. pro concr.), over his obedient, his trusty men; comp., besides 2 Samuel 23:23, also 1 Samuel 22:14; Isaiah 9:14. According to Bertheau’s not improbable conjecture, by this guard of David is meant the corps of the Cerethi and Pelethi (see 2 Samuel 8:18), from which, however, a second troop of guards, that of the 600 Gibborim (or Gittites, 2 Samuel 15:18), 2Sa 16:6; 2 Samuel 20:7, etc., were no doubt different. Commander of the former was Benaiah, according to our passage and 2 Samuel 8:18 ; over the 600 Gibborim, on the other hand, may have been placed the often named thirty, so that one of the thirty was leader to every twenty of the 600. This assumption of a difference of the Cerethi and Pelethi from the Gibborim is not certain; for as Benaiah, 2 Samuel 8:18, appears as commander of the Cerethi and Pelethi, he is also, 1 Kings 1:10, connected with the Gibborim (Benaiah and the heroes).

6. The Forty-eight Warriors: and first the thirty-two enumerated in 2 Samuel 23:0.: 1 Chronicles 11:26-41 a. On the sixteen added by the Chronist, 1 Chronicles 11:41-471 Chronicles 11:41-471 Chronicles 11:41-47, see No. 7.—And the heroes of war were, or more precisely: “And heroes of war were;” for the phrase וְגִבּוֹרֵי הַֽחֲיָלִים without the article is a general superscription. The article before חֲיָלִים constitutes no real difference from גִּבּוֹרֵי חֲיָלִים7:5, 7, 11, 40, or from גּ׳ חַיִל,1Ch 11:2; 1 Chronicles 11:9, etc. [?] Here, as there, are meant: “heroes in action, valiant heroes,” not “leaders of the divisions,” as Berth, (appealing to 2 Kings 15:20, 1 Chronicles 12:8, etc.) thinks.—Asahel the brother of Joab. For him, comp. 1 Chronicles 2:16; for his murder by Abner, 2 Samuel 2:19 ff. The parallel text 2 Samuel 23:24 adds to his name בַּשְּׁלשִׁים, “among the thirty.”—Elhanan the son of Dodo, different from Elhanan son of Jair, 1 Chronicles 20:5.

1 Chronicles 11:27 Shammoth the Harorite. In 2 Samuel 23:0. this hero is called “Shammah the Harodite,” but in 1 Chronicles 27:8, “Shamhuth the Izrahite.” In the gentilic. החרורי there appears at all events to be an error, which is to be corrected by הַֽחֲרֹדִי of Samuel; for in Judges 7:1 a Jewish place חֲרֹד is expressly mentioned. After the name of this Harodite Shammoth must have fallen out that of a second Harodite Elika (אֱלִיקָא), as 2 Samuel 23:25 shows.—Helez the Pelonite. So 1 Chronicles 27:10, whereas in 2 Samuel 23:26 this Helez is originally designated as a Paltite (of Beth-pelet, בֵּית פֶּלֶט, Joshua 15:27, Nehemiah 11:26),

1 Chronicles 11:28. Ira and Abiezer; comp. 1Ch 27:9; 1 Chronicles 27:12.

1 Chronicles 11:29. Sibbechai the Hushathite. By the name סִבְּכַי the suspicious מְבֻנַּי of 2 Samuel must be corrected. Inversely, Ilai (עִילַי) must be amended after the צַלְמוֹן of Samuel.

1 Chronicles 11:31. Ithai the son of Ribai of Gibeah, of the sons of Benjamin. For the situation of this Gibeah of Benjamin (near Ramah), comp. the expositor on Joshua 18:28 and on Judges 14:19 ff.; for that of the following Pirathon (that occurs also, Judges 12:13-15, as the home of Abdon), Zeitschr. der Deutschen morgenl. Gesellsch. 1849, p. 55, and particularly Sandreczky in Ausland, 1872, No. 5, p. 97 ff.

1 Chronicles 11:32. Hurai (so read also 2 Samuel for חִדַּי) of Nahale-gaash. This place, occurring only here (and 2 Samuel 23:30), properly, “valleys of Gaash,” is at all events to be sought near Mount Gaash in the Ephraimite range, not far from which was Joshua’s grave; comp. Joshua 24:30; Judges 2:9.—Abiel the Arbathite, of Beth-haarabah, Joshua 15:6; Joshua 15:61; Joshua 18:18; Joshua 18:23. The name אֲבִיאֵל is in 2 Samuel אֲבִי־עַלְבּוֹן, which form Berth. takes without ground to be original, while Wellh. rejects both forms, and makes the original to be אֲבִי־בַעַל.

1 Chronicles 11:33. Azmaveth the Baharumite, that is, he of Bahurim (read הַבַּחֻרִימִי); comp. 2Sa 16:5; 2 Samuel 19:17.—The following gentilic. הַשַּׁעַלְבֹנִי is to be referred to שַׁעַלְבִּים, Judges 1:35, 1 Kings 4:9 (or שַׁעַלַבִּין, Joshua 19:42), and so to be written הַשַּׁעַלְבִּינִי.

1 Chronicles 11:34. The sons of Hashem the Gizonite. בְּנֵי before הָשֵׁם appears to owe its origin to a repetition of the last three consonants of the foregoing gentilic. השעלבני; and thus originally there was only Hashem the Gizonite, after which 2 Samuel is to be amended: likewise in the following word the corrupt reading there is to be altered into our “Jonathan the son of Shageh the Hararite;” comp. Wellh. p. 216.

1 Chronicles 11:35. Eliphal the son of Ur. 2 Samuel 23:34 : “Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai.” The original was perhaps (comp. Then, and Berth, on the passage): “Eliphelet the son of Ur.”

1 Chronicles 11:36. Hepher the Mecherathite; perhaps the Maachathite (2 Samuel); as also “Ahijah the Pelonite” (comp. 1 Chronicles 11:27) must perhaps be changed, as in 2 Samuel, into “Eliam, son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.”

1 Chronicles 11:37. Naarai the son of Ezbai. For נערי 2 Samuel has פּערי for הָאֲרָבִי ,בֶּן־אֶזְבָּי, which is perhaps to be preferred on account of אֲרָב, Joshua 15:52.

1 Chronicles 11:38. Joel the brother of Nathan. If Nathan the prophet were meant, the אחי, “brother,” by the side of the usual בֶּן־, would lose its strangeness. But in 2 Samuel 23:36 we find a Nathan of Zobah. Hence אחי is perhaps to be changed into בן; and יִגְאַל might possibly be more original than our יוֹאֵל.—Mibhar the son of Hagri. for these words 2 Samuel 23:36 has “Bani the Gadite.” מִבְחָר may have there fallen out; but it may also have been corrupted from מִצֹּבָה. In הגדי (if this, and not הגרי, is to be read) may possibly lie the name of the prophet Gad (Wellh.), so that here two relatives of prophets, a brother (son ?) of Nathan and a son of Gad, may be named together.

1 Chronicles 11:40. Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite. The family of the Ithrites was enumerated, 1 Chronicles 2:53, among those of Kiriath-jearim.

1 Chronicles 11:41. Uriah the Hittite, the husband of Bathsheba, 2 Samuel 11:3 ff. Here follows in 2 Samuel 23:39 the closing subscription: “thirty and seven in all,” as, according to the correct text, actually thirty-seven heroes are there enumerated, namely, twenty-nine others besides the eight mightiest heroes named in 1 Chronicles 11:8-23 (Jashobam, Eleazar, Shammah, etc.). These twenty-nine should in the view of the author of the books of Samuel represent those thirty warriors (named in 1 Chronicles 11:25); whence he breaks off his enumeration after Uriah (or perhaps after Gareb, as Wellh. seeks to render probable), although most probably the same list, containing forty-eight names in all, lay before him, which our author has continued from this verse to the end. Moreover, for the criticism of both lists running parallel as far as our verse, the facts brought out by Wellh. (p. 215 f.) are to be considered:—1. “That the heroes are placed in pairs, and often every two from the same city (two Bethlehemites, 1 Chronicles 11:26, two Netophathites, 1 Chronicles 11:30, two Ithrites, 1 Chronicles 11:40); 2. That the adjective of descent is always added, but not regularly the father’s name, to the name of the hero; 3. That thorough corrections are only possible, if we have first collected the whole material of the proper names in the O. T. along with the variants in the Sept., and then elaborated them.” The last rule applies also to the criticism of the following names preserved by the Chronist alone, which in this arrangement have no parallel.

7. The last Sixteen of the Forty-eight Warriors, whom the Chronist alone enumerates: 1 Chronicles 11:41-471 Chronicles 11:41-471 Chronicles 11:41-47.

1 Chronicles 11:42. Adina ... a chief of the Reubenites, and thirty with him, or besides him. So, according to the Masoretic reading, ועליו; but Berth, prefers that of the Syriac version (see Crit. Note), and so gets the sense: “leader of the Reubenites over thirty,” that is, commander of the thirty captains or heroes of the Reubenites, to which may be compared the thirty leaders of the Benjamites, 1 Chronicles 22:4.

1 Chronicles 11:44. Uzziah the Ashterathite, from Ashteroth (Karnaim) or Beth-Eshterah, a city of East Manasseh, 1 Chronicles 6:56. Whether the “Aroerite” points to Aroer in the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:16), or in that of Gad (1 Chronicles 11:25), is doubtful.

1 Chronicles 11:46. Eliel the Mahavim. We should probably read “the Mahanaimite ” (Joshua 13:26); comp. Crit. Note.

1 Chronicles 11:47. Eliel, and Obed, and Jasiel of Hammezobaiah. The unmeaning הַמְּצֹבָיָה, that by its form cannot be a gentilic., is either to be changed by omitting the article and the penult consonant into מִצֹּבָה, “from Zobah” (comp. 2 Samuel 23:36) (so Bertheau), or to be regarded as corrupted from a longer name, such as מִגְדָּל צִבְעוּיָא (a place, according to Rabbinic tradition, not far from Hebron), not, however, as a contraction or abbreviation of this name, as Reland (Pal. p. 899). Moreover, the Rabbinic Migdol Zebuiah could scarcely be contemplated, because almost all the sixteen names of our section, from 1 Chronicles 11:41 b on, belong to heroes from the east of Jordan. The Syrian Zobah would suit better in this connection.


[1]For the Keri הַשָּׁלִישִׁים, the Kethib הַשְּׁלוֹשִׁים is to be retained; comp. 1Ch 11:15; 1 Chronicles 11:25; 1 Chronicles 12:4; 1Ch 12:18; 1 Chronicles 27:6.

[2]For בֶּן־דּוֹדוֹ the Sept. seems to have read בֶּן־דּוֹדַי; comp. 1 Chronicles 27:4.

[3]For the not unimportant gap here, see Exeg. Expl.

[4]For וְלֹא is to be read וְלוֹ, one of the fifteen cases in which this form occurs in the Masoretic text, as Exodus 21:10, Isaiah 63:9. etc.

[5]For מִדָּה must apparently be read, with the Sept. (ἄνδρα ὅρατον), מַרְאֶה.

[6]Instead of הַֽהֲרוֹרִי read, 2 Samuel 23:25, הַֽחֲרֹדִי, and as there, supply אֱלִיקָא הַֽחֲדֹדִי. For the further conjectural corruption of the text till 1 Chronicles 11:41, comp. Exeg. Expl.

[7]The Sept. and Vulg. appear to have read ועליו השׁלשׁים, like the Masoretic text, but Syr. עַל השׁלשׁים; for it renders thus: “and even he (Adina) was a prince over thirty heroes.”

[8]For הַמֲּֽחֲוִים the Sept. gives ὁ Μαωί, the Vulg. Mahumites. The corruption of the name, under which, perhaps, הַמַּֽחֲנַיְמִי is concealed. seems indubitable.

[9] הַמְּצֹבָיָּה is at all events corrupt. Sept. ὁ Μεσωβία, Vulg. de Masobia; comp. Exeg. Expl.

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 11". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/1-chronicles-11.html. 1857-84.
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