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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1 Chronicles 27

Verses 1-15

THE TWELVE MILITARY CAPTAINS, 1-15.

“The military force was distributed into twelve legions of 24,000 men each=288,000 men fit for service; each of these legions was on duty for a month at a time, and during the rest of the year they might attend to their own private occupations. Each had a captain, one of David’s worthies. Comp. 1 Chronicles 11:11, and 2 Samuel 23:8.

We recognise the same numerical basis in the military service of David’s kingdom as in the ecclesiastical. The number twelve is the basis of both. The analogy between the two is suggested by the Hebrew word tsaba, ( צבא ) host, which is applied to both. The temple of God was like a camp, in which the soldiers of the Lord watched, and defended the king and the people by the arms of prayer. And the camp of David was like a sanctuary, in which the king’s armies did service to God, and from which they went forth to fight the Lord’s battles.” Wordsworth.

Verse 2

2. Jashobeam The names of all these captains are found in the lists of David’s mighty men. 1 Chronicles 11:11-47, 2 Samuel 23:8-39. Some few names are spelled differently in the different lists.

Verse 5

5. A chief priest Rather, as margin, a principal officer; the private counsellor of the king. Comp. 1 Kings 4:5, note, and 2 Samuel 23:23.

Verse 7

7. Asahel… Zebadiah Though the son was captain of the fourth division, his swift-footed and heroic Father was ever honourably named upon the roll.

Verses 16-22

THE PRINCES OF THE TRIBES, 16-22.

These princes or rulers were probably the oldest representatives of their several tribes; “the eldest lineal descendants of the patriarchs according to the law of primogeniture.” Rawlinson. For some reason now unknown the tribes of Gad and Asher are not here mentioned.

Verses 23-24

23, 24. These two verses seem to have been inserted in this connexion with a reference especially to the military divisions mentioned in 1 Chronicles 27:1-15. “The numbering of the Israelites from twenty years and upwards,” says Bertheau, “was undertaken, as we may infer from the reference to it in this passage, in order that its results might be made available for dividing the army into twelve sections, and for the other arrangements described in this chapter.”

It appears from 1 Chronicles 21:1 and 2 Samuel 24:1, that David sinned in attempting to number Israel at all. But while he refused to be counselled in that matter, and his “word prevailed against Joab,” he ventured not to number any Israelites under twenty years, lest he should seem to distrust God’s promise to Abraham. Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17.

Verse 24

24. Began to number, but he finished not Here we find that the census was interrupted by the pestilence. Comp. note on chap. 1 Chronicles 21:6.

Neither was the number put in the account of the Chronicles of king David “We can easily understand that the disastrous circumstances which followed on the taking of the census produced a feeling that God might be further provoked by its being put on record in the state archives. It was consequently omitted; and the accounts of the numbers which have come down to us must have been derived from some comparatively private sources.” Rawlinson.

Verses 25-31

OFFICERS OF THE KING’S REVENUE, 25-31.

This section is interesting as showing the various kinds and sources of David’s royal revenue. Precious metals, grains, fruits, wine, oil, flocks, and herds, furnished each their measure “of the substance which was King David’s.” A stone tablet containing the amount of information here given of any heathen king of David’s time would be gladly bought by the payment of thousands of dollars; and many a sceptic, who treats the Bible with comparative scorn, would be ready to extol the heathen tablet to the skies.

Verses 32-34

DAVID’S COUNSELLORS, 32-34.

“This catalogue of the king’s officials forms a supplement to the catalogues of the public officials given in 1 Chronicles 18:15-17; 2 Samuel 8:15-18; 2 Samuel 20:23-26. It is not the chief public officials who are enumerated, but only the first counsellors of the king, who formed, as it were, his senate, and the catalogue was probably derived from the same source as the preceding catalogues.” Keil.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 27". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/1-chronicles-27.html. 1874-1909.