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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 12

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2946. B.C. 1058.

The companies that came to David at Ziklag, 1 Chronicles 12:1-22 . The armies that came to him at Hebron, 1 Chronicles 12:23-40 .

Verse 1

1 Chronicles 12:1. Now these are they that came to David, &c. This author thought fit to do those the honour of having their names recorded, (which was omitted in the book of Samuel,) who came and joined themselves to him when he was in exile; and were afterward great assistants to him in his wars. While he kept himself close Or was shut out from his own land and people: for the writer speaks not of that time when he was shut up, and hid himself in caves in the land of Judah, but when he was at Ziklag.

Verse 2

1 Chronicles 12:2. Could use both the right hand and the left With like nimbleness and certainty: compare Judges 3:15; and Judges 20:16. Saul’s brethren of Benjamin Of Saul’s own tribe: who were moved hereto by God’s Spirit, by the conscience of their duty to David, and by their observation of God’s departure from Saul, and of his special presence with David.

Verse 4

1 Chronicles 12:4. A mighty man among the thirty Who came attended with thirty valiant Benjamites and was their commander.

Verse 8

1 Chronicles 12:8. There separated themselves From Saul, to whom they had hitherto adhered, and from their brethren of their own tribe, who yet maintained Saul’s cause; and from their families, and the places where they lived, from whom they went to David. Into the hold to the wilderness

Or rather, into the hold of the wilderness; that is, either to the cave of Adullam or Engedi, or rather to Ziklag, which was in the wilderness of Judah, and may be here called the hold or fortress, for the same reason for which that name is given to the city of David, 1 Chronicles 11:7, (see the Hebrew,) namely, because it was a strong, well-fortified place. Whose faces were like the faces of lions Who were full of courage, and by the majesty and fierceness of their countenances terrified their adversaries. As swift as the roes upon the mountains As their very looks daunted their enemies, and put them to flight, so they could easily pursue, and overtake, and destroy them in their flight.

Verse 15

1 Chronicles 12:15. These are they that went over Jordan, &c. Namely, in Saul’s time, when, it seems, the enemies of the Israelites had made an inroad, and done some mischiefs to the Israelites beyond Jordan, to whose help these persons then came. When it had overflowed all its banks As it commonly did about that time. Probably these, being men of great courage and dexterity, swam over Jordan, at the time here specified, through their ardent desire to help their brethren, and to fight with their enemies. And they put to flight all them of the valleys The people that lived in the valleys or deserts beyond Jordan, who, it seems, when Saul was engaged against the Philistines, took that advantage to fall upon the Israelites beyond Jordan. Both toward the east and toward the west Both the people that lived more eastward and remote from Jordan, and those that lived more westward and nearer to it.

Verse 17

1 Chronicles 12:17. David went out to meet them, and answered That is, spake, for that word is often used in the Scriptures, even of him that speaks first. My heart shall be knit unto you I shall ever esteem and love you, and show this by my actions to you hereafter. But if ye be come to betray me, &c. Which your number, and quality, and near relation to Saul, give me some cause to suspect. Seeing there is no wrong in my hands I have done no injury to Saul nor to you; but have spared him and you when it was in my power to have destroyed you. The God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it Namely, by his power, manifested for me, and against you, for your perfidiousness. In saying, the God of our fathers, meaning both his fathers and theirs, he suggests a reason why they should not deal ill with him: namely, because they were both descendants from the same patriarchs, and servants of the same God. And thus he encourages himself to believe, that God would right him if he were injured. For he was the God of his fathers, therefore a blessing was entailed upon him: and a God to all Israel in particular, as well as a Judge to all the earth.

Verse 18

1 Chronicles 12:18. The Spirit came upon Amasai Not only saving graces, but other heroical and generous motions are ascribed to God’s Spirit, which here stirred up in him a more than ordinary greatness of mind and resolution. Thy God helpeth thee We have seen evidences of God’s singular and gracious care of thee, and kindness to thee; and if we should oppose thee we should fight against God, and his word and providence. Then David made them captains of the band Of those forces which they brought with them: or, he put them among the heads, or officers of his band; that is, he gave them commands, either now in his small army, each according to his quality; or afterward, when he was advanced to the kingdom: for it is not here said when he did this.

Verses 19-20

1 Chronicles 12:19-20. They helped them not That is, the Manassites here named, and the rest of David’s forces, to whom they had now joined themselves, did not help the Philistines in battle, as David had pretended to do. As he went to Ziklag As he returned thither from the camp of the Philistines.

Verses 21-22

1 Chronicles 12:21-22. They helped David against the band, &c. Against the Amalekites, who had taken and burned Ziklag, and whom David and his six hundred men were now pursuing. Or, as in the margin, with a band, or troop of soldiers, which they brought along with them to David’s assistance. They were all mighty men of valour Therefore they readily came to David’s help. At that time, day by day While David was at Ziklag, and in his march to Hebron, and principally at Hebron. There came to David like the host of God An innumerable multitude, like the stars or angels of God, both which are called God’s host.

Verses 23-24

1 Chronicles 12:23-24. According to the word of the Lord Whereby he had settled the crown on David after Saul’s death. Six thousand, &c. Who came hither in the name of their brethren: for that whole tribe adhered to David.

Verses 27-29

1 Chronicles 12:27-29. Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites Not the high- priest, for that was Abiathar, (1 Samuel 23:6,) but one of some eminent place under him. And Zadok Thought to be the same who was made high-priest in Solomon’s time, (1 Kings 2:35,) which, if true, he must have been very young at that time. Twenty and two captains Whom he brought along with him. Had kept the ward of the house of Saul Had endeavoured to keep the crown in their own tribe, and in Saul’s family.

Verse 31

1 Chronicles 12:31. Of the half-tribe of Manasseh Which was within Jordan: for of the other half beyond Jordan he speaks 1 Chronicles 12:37. Which were expressed by name Who were not ashamed publicly to own David by putting their names to some paper presented to them for that purpose.

Verse 32

1 Chronicles 12:32 . That had understanding of the times They understood public affairs, the temper of the nation, and the tendencies of the present events. And they showed their wisdom at this time; for as they had adhered to Saul, while he lived, as knowing the time was not yet come for David to take possession of the kingdom; and as they could not join David, while Abner lived, and had the command of the other tribes wherewith they were encompassed, so, as soon as he was dead, and they had opportunity to declare themselves, they owned David for their king.

Verse 33

1 Chronicles 12:33. Fifty thousand For this tribe, being next to that of Issachar, which was generally well affected to David, were probably very much swayed by their opinion and advice. Which could keep rank Or, which were prepared, or ordered for battle, or to fight for David if occasion required. Not of double heart They were sincerely loyal, and did not dissemble with David, pretending to be for him, while in their hearts they favoured Saul’s family. And none had any separate interests, but all were for the public good.

Verse 40

1 Chronicles 12:40. They that were nigh them That lived not far from Hebron, the place where they now were. Unto Issachar, &c. This is added by way of amplification and explication, to show that this was not to be understood of those Israelites only who lived in the neighbourhood of Hebron, but of those also who lived at some distance, yet were nearer to Hebron than some of the other tribes here named. And on oxen Which, though not commonly used in this manner, nor very fit for such purposes, yet were now employed, because the quantity of provisions which they brought was very great, as the number of the people at Hebron were, and of horses they had few in Israel, and most of their asses, camels, and mules, here mentioned, were probably used to carry men, women, and children, to this great, and public, and happy solemnity. For there was joy in Israel Partly because their civil wars were wholly ended, and they were all united under one king; and partly because they had now a king of eminent valour and piety, and therefore expected to be saved from all their enemies and calamities, as indeed they were. Such was the joy and feasting when David was made king. And when the throne of the Son of David is set up in any soul, there is great joy in that soul; and provision is made for the feasting of it, not as here, merely for two or three days, but for the whole life, nay, for eternity.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 12". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/1-chronicles-12.html. 1857.
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